The mystery of Elizabeth Windsor, the woman hidden under the British crown

reservedalways perfect in her public facet, always Queen, Isabel II It has barely allowed a glimpse of the woman who was under the crown. The enigma and the mystery that surrounded his person were part of the workand she understood it very well from the beginning: without the mystique, the monarchy falters.

The Queen never stopped being the Queen. But, out of the limelight, in private, those who were able to get to know her more closely paint the portrait of a simple, practical woman, wife, mother and grandmother, animal lover, with a developed sense of humor.

Richard Griffin, One of the agents who was in charge of his protection for years recently recounted a revealing anecdote in this regard. One day, walking the dogs around the balmoral Castle, where she died this Thursday, she met a couple of American tourists who did not recognize her, and who even asked her if she had ever met the Queen. “I don’t, but Dick (by Griffin) sees her often,” she said. “And how is she?” They questioned curious. “He can be a bit cantankerous at times, but he has a great sense of humor”the agent replied.

Besides for jokes, Elizabeth II had a great talent for imitating accents and public figures who I had known, like Boris Yeltsin or Margaret Thatcheralthough always within his most intimate circle.

Despite this, people who worked with her describe a shy womanwhich used tricks like always carry the bag, although he did not need it, as part of his armor to face official acts. “She was very normal, the most normal of the non-normal people I have ever met. She was very humble, she had no ego, she was quite shy.”said the one who was his press secretary for 17 years, Samantha Cohento the newspaper ‘The Telegraph’.

They say that opposite personalities attract each other, and it is perhaps that shyness that led her to fall in love with that handsome naval officer so sure of himself. Isabel met Felipe when she was 13 and he was 18.. She fell in love immediately, and despite the ups and downs of any marriage of hers, her devotion to him lasted a lifetime. “She never looked at anyone else,” says her cousin Margaret Rhodes in one of the many biographies that have been written about her.

maternal coldness

As a mother, however, she was not particularly warm or caring. Her reunion in 1952 with their children Carlos and Anawho were then 5 and 3 years old, after a six-month tour that took him halfway around the world. There were no kisses or hugs. The monarch shook hands with her children, which then surprised even some of the most recalcitrant members of high society.

His biographers say, however, that this lack of affection was due more to his education and the rigidity of the British upper classat least in those times, than to a coldness of feelings. Isabel and Felipe barely saw their children twice a day, after breakfast and at tea time. The little ones they grew up with nannies and family decisions, according to historian Sally Bedell Smith, fell to her husband, especially since ascended the throne being then a young mother of only 25 years.

Although her children have always understood that, being the monarch, their mother was not a mother to use, that affective detachment did seem to leave sequels in his heirs; at least in Carlos. The now King was sent as a child to a strict boarding school in Scotland where he barely received visits from his parents. When he came down with the flu in 1957, Isabel sent him off with a letter, before embarking on a trip to Canada. In the biographies that have been written a resentment always hangs over him for that lonely childhood.

Despite everything, Isabel enjoyed motherhood, and even decided to breastfeed her four children, just as her mother did with her and as was the custom in the royal family until the unmaternal queen Victoria changed that trend in the 19th century.

Andrew the favorite

His two young children, Andrew and Edward, who have been with their older brothers for almost a decade, they were able to enjoy their mother in another way. Elizabeth had already been on the throne for years, she felt more comfortable as a parent and as Queen, and decided to extend her maternity leave to take care of the little ones. The British press has always said that Andrés has been his favorite, whom he has supported even in the most difficult moments. The time they enjoyed together helped forge the bond.

His grandchildren, however, paint a different portrait from Carlos. The now Prince of Wales, William, has come to say that for him his grandmother was always first, and then the Queen. But Elizabeth Windsor will not be the only or the last strict mother who softened with her grandchildren.

Horses and corgi dogs have been his other passion, Perhaps the best known of them all. The ‘Racing Post’, a horse and dog racing publication, it was the first newspaper he read each morning. And it has been in equestrian competitions where the British have been able to see a queen without masks, enjoying the show without restraint.

Deep down, say some who knew her, Isabel was a country woman. Balmoral was always her favorite refuge. The green of its moors has already remained forever under its eyelids.

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