Queen fondly remembered through royal subjects- ‘She was warm and gentle’ | Royal | News

People from all over the UK have told the story of the time they met Queen Elizabeth and given some insight into what Her Majesty was like while attending royal duties. Some remembered her as “sweet” and “warm”, while others remember her “commanding but friendly presence”.

Sasha Pearce, a physiotherapist from London, recalls meeting the Queen twice, once in 1992 and again in 1997 outside Kensington Palace when Princess Diana died.

She said, “She came to our small group and asked how long we had been waiting.”

Mrs. Pearce, who lost her own mother in a car accident as a child, recalls: “I asked how the princes were and how they were and she said, ‘They are as good as can be expected.’

“I told her I had lost my mother and said we should send all our love, and she said ‘Yes of course and thank you so much for coming’ and [that] it was appreciated. She was sweet.”

Mary Long-Dhonau, from Ledbury, Herefordshire, is a flood resilience campaigner who met the Queen twice, once in 2001 and again in 2009 when she received her OBE for services to the environment.

Ms. Long-Dhonau recalls a conversation with the Queen: “She said, ‘You will never be out of work. The floods will get worse.”

“She was really aware of climate change and the misery that floods caused people. I expected her to be distant, but she was the opposite: compassionate and understanding.”

Catrina McHugh, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, met the Queen in 2017 while receiving an MBE for outstanding services to underprivileged women through theatre.

Ms. McHugh is a writer and director who co-founded the Open Clasp Theater Company.

She said: “The Queen was absolutely beautiful. I could have hugged her, even though I know you shouldn’t. She made you feel like she was really listening to you.”

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Owen Craft, who works at the Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, also met the Queen in 2017 when she opened the elephant sanctuary, as Her Majesty was a royal patron of the zoo.

Mr Craft says his son Arthur, aged nine, gave the Queen a bouquet of flowers.

He said: “It was a fantastic moment – ​​he looked up, not quite realizing what he was actually doing. The Queen was incredibly passionate and had such a good sense of humor. She said the smell was very similar to the stables of the horses and she liked it quite a bit.”

Alison Thomas, the head of Veterinary Services at the Blue Cross, met the Queen in 2001 at the animal hospital in Victoria, central London.

Ms Thomas recalled a dog jumping on the queen’s paw and added: “But she didn’t mind at all and was very happy to respond to the dog.”


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Lynda Sterling, an art studio director living in Manchester, met the Queen as a 15-year-old in 1998 when Her Majesty and Prince Philip opened a new building at the Gray Coat Hospital school for girls in London.

She said: “I was a little nervous. I was in the science lab, we were showing experiments, and we had to talk to the queen about what we were doing.

“I had to say the words ‘white precipitation’. But I couldn’t get ‘precipitate’ out and kept saying, ‘white…white…’ and tripped. The queen jumped in and said, “White something.” I said yes and caught her attention. It made us both giggle.”

Ms Sterling added: “It was such a kind and humane thing for her to do, to step in and help me in this way. She was warm and gentle.”

Pranav Bhanot, a lawyer from Chigwell, Essex, met the Queen in 2012 at an interfaith gathering at Lambeth Palace.

He said: “The Queen was really in favor of diversity. It was very surreal meeting her – I just froze.

“She was smaller than I expected, but had a commanding yet friendly presence. She was incredibly easy to talk to and the twinkle in her eye when she smiled is a sight I will never forget.”

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