Queen's lifelong friend from Norfolk says she should be remembered as 'Elizabeth the Great'

  • Lady Glenconner shared her memories of the Queen with ITV News Anglia's David Whiteley

A lifelong friend of the Queen has suggested Her Majesty could be remembered as the country's greatest ever monarch, and should be known as "Elizabeth the Great".

Lady Glenconner, who lives in Holkham on the north Norfolk coast, first met the Queen when she was three years old.

She later was a maid of honour at the Queen's coronation in 1953 and a lady in waiting to the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret.

Lady Glenconner told ITV News Anglia that she first heard the news of the Queen's death on the radio.

"I was in the car, driving to London, and I heard them saying that the Queen was very ill and by the time I got to London she had died.

"I couldn't get over it, I just didn't think it could be true. I had felt, in a way, that she could have gone on forever.

"And of course, we'd just seen her, looking amazing, shaking Boris [Johnson]'s hand for the last time and shaking hands with Liz Truss. She did look fragile but I had no idea and I don't think anyone did, that within two days she'd be dead.

"I couldn't stop crying - like a lot of people - when I first heard. She'd just always been there."

Lady Glenconner and the Queen's Maids of Honour at her coronation in 1953 Credit: ITV

Lady Glenconner can remember the very first time she met the Queen, aged just three years old.

She said: "The first time I remember seeing her was when I was three and she was nine.

"I was having a lovely time with Princess Margaret, who was my friend, and the Queen would be keeping an eye on us, because we were naturally doing something naughty."

The Queen with Lady Glenconner at Holkham Hall in Norfolk Credit: ITV

Asked if she thought the Queen had a special connection to East Anglia, Lady Glenconner said: "I think she did, yes. She would come up here for holidays and would recharge her batteries here.

"She was a great countrywoman - she loved her horses and her dogs and I think people saw her around Sandringham walking with her dogs.

"When we were children, they would come over to Holkham because we're only 10 miles down the road from Sandringham.

"I remember lovely times on the beach at Holkham, making sandcastles and digging holes hoping that people would fall in - but they never did!"

A young Queen at Sandringham Credit: ITV

"I think she be remembered very specially here. I think people sort of think of her as a Norfolk lady as well as the Queen and I think she'll be remembered with great affection.

"I've been overwhelmed, really, with people coming up to me and wanting to talk to me about her and how she's always been here and how calm she was and she was always ready for anything - especially during Covid when she talked to everybody. I think it made such a difference.

"We've lived through an extraordinary time, someone like me who is 90 years old, and I think we will call her Elizabeth the Great.

"Some people say they think she's the greatest monarch we've ever had and I agree."

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