QM cont'd .
From the outset, as Duchess of York, Elizabeth developed her own royal 'style'. Queen Mary, while much admired, was reserved and stiff in public; Queen Mary’s daughter, Princess Mary (the then Princess Royal) was also very shy. Peter Ustinov recalled an occasion when his mother, a Russian emigrée, was in line to meet Queen Mary. She walked along touching the tips of hands and bowing stiffly and saying very little. When she got to Mrs Ustinov all she could do was extend her hand and say: "Wasn't the revolution dreadful?" and walked on. The royal wave was also telling. While Queen Mary waved like a traffic warden, Elizabeth's hand fluttered like a butterfly (Truman Capote described her as an 'iron-winged butterfly'). Her eyes engaged faces in the crowd and fixed on those she approached and conversed with as if they were the only ones there. In The Selling of the Royal Family (1986), John Pearson credits Queen Mary as the matriarch of the House of Windsor but she was eclipsed by her daughter-in-law.
By the time war was declared and Churchill became Prime Minister, the King and Queen rallied round him and impressed the nation with their dedication. The Queen put much store in looking the part and continued to dress expensively in civilian couture. She said that anyway changing uniforms would have been a nightmare (although the King, like his father and grandfather relished their medals, swords and livery). As one of her biographers, Michael De-la-Noy, noted she would "go down fighting in powder blue".
As the Blitz hit London the Queen came into her own. She famously reacted to the bombing of a part of Buckingham Palace with "Now we can look the East End in the face". And when it was suggested that the princesses should be sent to Canada with other sprigs of the establishment, she said "The children won't leave without me. I won't leave without the King, and the King will never leave." No modern spin merchant could possibly have improved on this. When Peace came, the King and Queen were identified with victory almost as much as Churchill and thousands gathered around Buckingham Palace as they appeared on the balcony on VE Day . #queenelizabeth#royalty