The Queen Mother, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, was born exactly 115 years ago on Tuesday. Although she was queen for less than 15 years, she enjoyed popularity throughout the United Kingdom even after the death of her husband. She decided that she would not fade from the public eye when her daughter Queen Elizabeth II took the throne. Queen Elizabeth was 101 when she passed away in her sleep.
She had been reluctant to become royalty but married King George VI on April 23, 1923, when he was still the Duke of York. She had known him since childhood, and he often sought the company of her family as a refuge from his high-profile life. As his wife, she helped him through the trauma of the 1936 abdication of his brother Edward VIII and became a source of strength for her husband during World War II. No monarch in history owed more to his wife, The Times reported.
Despite her stature, Queen Elizabeth was never afraid to speak her mind. Here are some of her most memorable quotes:
1. “The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the King will not leave the country in any circumstances whatever," she said when asked if she would leave London during World War II.
2. “Your work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth.”
3. After the 1940 bombing of Buckingham Palace, she said she felt she could finally relate to the people of London, saying “I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.”
4. "“Cowards falter, but danger is often overcome by those who nobly dare.”
5. "Nobody is boring. If you find someone or something a bore, the fault lies in you."
6. Upon receiving a proposal from the Duke of York, she was "afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to."
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother playing pool in 1961. pic.twitter.com/oKzboejaur
— OnThisDay & Facts (@NotableHistory) July 30, 2015
7. "I felt it my duty to marry Bertie and fell in love with him afterwards," she said of King George VI.
8. ""He loved you all, every one of you, most truly. Now I am left alone to do what I can to honor that pledge without him."
9. "He is my only real friend and one feels one can never have another like him," wrote 19-year-old Elizabeth about King George VI. "I liked him specially because he never tried to flirt or make love or anything like that – which always spoils friendships."
Princess Elizabeth, General Jan Smuts, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth I (Queen Mother) and Princess Margaret, 1947 pic.twitter.com/eXu8KjHCEv
— OnThisDay & Facts (@NotableHistory) July 28, 2015
10. "Wouldn’t it be terrible if you’d spent all your life doing everything you were supposed to do, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t eat things, took lots of exercise, and suddenly, one day, you were run over by a big red bus and, as the wheels were crunching into you, you’d say, 'Oh my God, I could have got so drunk last night.' That’s the way you should live your life, as if tomorrow you’ll be run over by a big red bus."