Happy Birthday Ma’am! In honour of the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations, Mills & Boon authors are sharing their Royal Recollections.
Susan Carlisle, Medical author
“We ate off my best china and used my grandmother’s silver.”
I’m an American who is an anglophile. I’ve always been interested in what the British royals are doing. When my children complained about learning correct table manners I reminded them that one day they might be invited to eat with the Queen!
When Charles and Diana married I had my then boyfriend and now husband get up at four in the morning to attend, (I mean watch on TV!) the wedding with me. Later, I saw Prince William be presented to the world for the first time. He is a year older than my oldest, and Harry is the same age as my daughter. I paid attention as the royal children grew just as I did my own. I, like everyone else, know exactly where I was when I heard about Diana’s accident.
Weddings were happening in my family when William and Kate had theirs. Again to ‘attend’ we had to get out of bed early. Because we couldn’t be there in person, I prepared a tea reception which included sandwiches, scones, and a small wedding cake. We ate off my best china and used my grandmother’s silver. My family was invited to attend the wedding and reception/breakfast. Yes, we had cake at 5AM. My daughter-in-law said, “Wow, all this for people we don’t even know.” In some ways I’ve always felt like I did.
Kate gave birth to George about the same time as my daughter had her twins. I will now watch the royal children grow up along with my grandchildren.
One of my dreams is still that I or one of my children will someday get to share tea with the Queen. “Keep the manners sharp,” I remind them.
Annie Burrows, Historical author
I bought this mug which Mills & Boon brought out to commemorate the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Couldn’t resist treating myself!
Meredith Webber, Medical Author
I was thirteen when the Queen first came to Australia, and the excitement was huge. My mother went off on the tram every day, with her stool and umbrella, to take up a position on a corner not far from Government House where the Queen was staying so she’d see her driving past. She took her lunch and a thermos and stayed all day. I was 13 and was part of the ‘poinsettia flower’ display – which was our state emblem. We practiced for months at the big Exhibition grounds. We wore red dresses and a red scarf on our heads, and once we’d marched into position in our bit of the flower, we sat cross-legged until a signal was given then we had to bend over so we were totally red. I later hid my red dress so my younger sister wouldn’t get to wear it when it would normally have been passed on!
Barbara Hannay, Cherish Author
“My mother is a huge fan. My sisters are called Elizabeth and Margaret.”
I’m an Aussie, but my mother was born within a few weeks of the Queen and she has always been a huge fan. My sisters are called Elizabeth and Margaret.
Being taken to see a movie of the Queen’s Coronation was a stand-out memory from my childhood. I was especially impressed by the Ladies-in-Waiting in their lovely white gowns and tiaras. For years afterwards, I would play “Coronations” and frangipani flowers turned upside-down became those lovely white-skirted ladies. Such a happy memory.
Laurie Benson, Historical Author
On my last trip to London, I wanted to go to Hyde Park and convinced my husband and two teenage sons that a day in the park would be fun. We were making our way down Piccadilly, when suddenly the pavement became packed with people, all striving to get a view of something over by Green Park. I was on a mission to reach Hyde Park before my boys began to gripe about how long it was taking, so the thought of stopping to have a look was the furthest thing from my mind. As we excused ourselves through the crush of people, we speculated about which celebrity would garner this much attention. Coming from America, the thought it could be anyone from the royal family never occurred us.
It wasn’t until we stopped at the crossing, that my husband put his phone up over the crowd and took a photo to determine what everyone was trying to see. We confirmed with a nearby police officer that the photo was indeed of the Queen and Prince Philip, who had been in attendance for the dedication of a monument. As luck would have it, we stopped at exactly the right spot to get the perfect picture!
Blythe Gifford, Historical Author
“I’ve been fascinated by the royal family since junior high school.”
Virtually all my books have included a member of medieval English royalty. This is particularly true of my Royal Weddings books which are set around real life royal weddings of Edward III’s children. Even though I’m in the U.S., I’ve been fascinated by the royal family since junior high school and once (in the pre-internet days!) researched the entire family tree, including those born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. I’ve written a couple of books about those, too!