Having made six visits to the Bailiwick during her lifetime, Queen Elizabeth II made an impact on many people who she met while in the islands with a small handful meeting her one-on-one.
Unlike official visits in larger jurisdictions, the practicalities of co-ordinating numerous appearances at locations across small islands meant that small handful of people were closely involved in the logistics.
While Express was collating those memories of meeting Her Majesty, certain phrases were repeated frequently.
Described as “shorter than you think”, “dainty”, “always smiling”, “funny” and having “beautiful skin” those memories confirmed the widely held view that Queen Elizabeth II was as personable in reality as she was dignified.
One Bailiwick resident who met Her Majesty personally on more than one occasion is Lieutenant Colonel Reg Guille, of Sark. During his own investiture in the 1980s he met her and spoke with her one on one, and then in 2001 during the then-Seigneur’s investiture in Sark he was alone with the Queen and Prince Philip for a few minutes.
Pictured: Reg Guille, of Sark.
“They went inside (La Seignurie) so that she could freshen up and wait for everyone and I had the privilege of being inside La Seigneurie with them. Just the three of us, nobody else at all. That was fantastic.
“We were waiting for them all to get organised outside because everybody had watched the Queen come down to the Seigneurie, we had a big seating area for people, we had seating arranged for her and Prince Philip for the investiture part of it, and I was to escort them out of the house. Once they’d freshened up, everyone else left to take their seats outside and I was on the staircase just inside the hall, one step behind them on the stairs, listening to the two of them chattering to each other.
“The wait seemed to go on for a very long time and they were chattering, and Philip said, ‘let’s open the door, that will make them sit down’, and she just looked at him, and said nothing. They carried on talking and we carried on waiting, and he said it again. She just said, ‘be quiet, Philip’."
Pictured: Prince Philip died on 9 April 2021.
Mr Guille laughed as he recalled this memory, along with a joke the Queen made while walking the short distance to a tea party on the same occasion.
“As they came up, one of the ladies on the island stumbled off the kerbside, she just lost her balance, and I think the Queen looked at Jeremy La Trobe Bateman and said, ‘you pushed her!’ It was such a relaxed lovely day.”
Mr Guille recalls her as being “very small” in stature on the occasions that he met her.
“She was very small. She was about the same size as my wife, so she’s very dainty. She’s just always so smiley. It must have been damned difficult to always be smiling all day and be interested in what’s going on.”
Those memories of Her Majesty’s physical attributes were echoed by Richard Graham. The former deputy, and Aide de Camp to three successive Lieutenant Governors met Queen Elizabeth II on a number of occasions.
Pictured: Richard Graham (photographed by Tracey Bougourd).
He told Express that her skin was “beautiful” on the occasions that he met her.
“The age, and perception is interesting. Up close, she was not an old woman. Her complexion, a lot of 40-year-old women would die for. She had beautiful skin. It wasn’t only her physical appearance up-close, the spirit of the women came out.”
Colonel Graham was seated next to Her Majesty for lunch at Government House during one of her visits and was involved in preparations for another trip where she stayed overnight.
“It’s on those occasions where she’s almost off duty that you see the spirit of the woman, that doesn’t always come out in public. And also, the sort of girlish…she was still very much a young girl at heart….you sometimes had a glimpse of it in public, where she and the Duke might have been going along the road, and something would spark her off, and that lovely smile comes on. That was there very much when she was off stage.”
The rules and protocols surrounding meetings with the Monarch are well documented. The Seigneur of Sark, Major Christopher Beaumont, believes they were very useful on the occasions that he met Her Majesty, including in 2001 at his father’s investiture in Sark, when she took coffee in what is now his home.
“The protocols around hosting any member of the Royal family are always a bit fuddlesome. You can’t instigate conversation, so you just stand back and wait to be asked a question. That’s not so much of a problem as she was very skilled at all of that. I was not nervous, just apprehensive. You don’t want them to be embarrassed by you being embarrassed. She was consummate at putting people at their ease. They were a delight to host.
“She was smaller than you expect, but then anyone you ever see on television is always smaller when you meet them than you think they’re going to be. She was beautifully dressed and an absolute joy to have as a guest in the House.”
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