... a lasting memento from Buckingham Palace
Editor's note: The following letter, and its response, came about only a few days before the death of the Queen Mother. It was sent by a Melrose lady, Barbara Anderson of Harold Street, simply as a warm greeting. The response from Buckingham Palace follows Mrs. Anderson's letter.
Melrose, Mass., USA
November 3, 2001
Queen Elizabeth's mother
Dear "Queen Mum" -- Your Royal Highness,
On Halloween a group of we seniors dressed up in costume at our local rollerskating rink.
We skate there once a week all year through. There are about thirty of us, mostly from World War II.
My husband came as "Black Bart" the American cowboy. He is 83 and I will be 80 on Thanksgiving.
I dressed up in what I felt was "Mrs. Astor", a very rich lady from the twenties.
But when I walked in everyone said I was "Queen Mum". So I had all the men skaters kiss my hand and wave to all, the way royalty does in England while riding in a car.
The one thing I forgot to wear were my white kid gloves.
I did have on the wrist protectors, though (That is what is most apt to break if one falls).
I think you use a cane at age 100, do you not? But I couldn't skate holding a cane, I'm afraid.
I so admire you. My mother ("Mum") lived to 101 but wouldn't use a cane as she should have. She said it would make her look "old".
Her sister lived to be 103. We are of strong Scottish stock apparently. My Macaskill grandfather who helped to raise me came from the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.
During World War II my cousin and I (along with two others) danced at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., doing Scottish dances in our kilts -- for British War Relief. It was a garden party.
We changed into our kilts in the same bedroom that you and your husband stayed at during your visit to Washington (before Pearl Harbor when America at last entered the war). Sorry we weren't better prepared a long time sooner so Britain didn't have to carry that burden all alone for such a long time.
We thank Britain now for standing by us in our "War on Terror", today.
I hope you didn't mind me dressing up to look like you. It was a lot of fun and everyone had a good word to say about the real you.
Barbara A. Anderson
May 3, 2002