Queen mother abhorred Charles, Diana outbursts

18th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The biography also revealed that the queen mother, who died in March 2002 aged 101, suffered from colon cancer and had a tumour removed in 1966.

London -- Queen Elizabeth the queen mother thought it was "utterly abhorrent" when Prince Charles and Princess Diana went public on their marriage failings, according to her official biography released Thursday.

The biography also revealed that the queen mother, who died in March 2002 aged 101, suffered from colon cancer and had a tumour removed in 1966.

The royal matriarch regretted her grandson's decision to admit adultery during a 1994 television interview, said the biographer William Shawcross, who was chosen by Queen Elizabeth II to write an account of her mother's life.

The queen mother, widow of King George VI, was also upset that Diana collaborated privately with Andrew Morton on his book that blew the lid on her crumbling marriage and life within the royal family.

During a taped 1990s interview which was kept in a royal archive, the queen mother said: "It's always a mistake to talk about your marriage."

Married in 1981, heir to the throne Charles and his first wife Diana separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.

The princess's collaboration with Morton was "deeply shocking" to the queen mother, the last empress of India, who felt "the washing of dirty linen in public was utterly abhorrent," according to Shawcross.

He added: "She did not cast the princess aside at this time but she gave her grandson as much emotional support as she could."

Queen Elizabeth II granted the biographer unrestricted access to her mother's papers, family members and household staff and gave him the freedom to write as he wished.

It chronicles her upbringing as the youngest daughter of a Scottish earl, marriage into the royal family, the abdication crisis that put her husband on the throne and her stoicism during World War II.

It also details her lifestyle, social life and passion for horse racing; her decades as a widow, and her 50-year role as queen mother and the nation's grandmother figure.

The biography also revealed that the queen mother underwent a 90-minute operation to remove a tumour in December 1966. At the time, a statement said she underwent abdominal surgery to relieve a partial obstruction.

Shawcross, who interviewed the queen's former physician Richard Thompson, also quashed rumours that she was fitted with a colostomy bag.

When her brother-in-law king Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936, Elizabeth called it a "ghastly shock" and a "terrible, bitter blow."

The royal family was thrown into turmoil by the crisis.

"He must have been bemused with love, I suppose. You couldn't reason with him, nobody could. The whole government tried, everybody tried," she said in an interview revealed in the book.

When her ailing husband died in his sleep, "I was sent a message that his servant couldn't wake him," she wrote to his mother, queen Mary.

"I flew to his room and thought that he was in a deep sleep, he looked so peaceful -- and then I realised what had happened."

She wrote of the funeral: "Today has been the most wonderful and the most agonising day of my life -- wonderful because one felt the sincerity of the people's feelings, and agonising because one gradually becomes less numb, and the awfulness of everything becomes real."

The late queen's love of horse racing was also documented. The book revealed she had a speaker system installed at Clarence House, her London home, to relay news from the race tracks.

She bought and trained dozens of horses at great expense and had to take up Queen Elizabeth's offers to bail her out.

Shawcross wrote: "The queen mother accepted gratefully, signed the bill and wrote underneath the total: 'Oh dear'."


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