Her majesty the queen – from mechanic to matriarch.
On Thursday, September 8th 2022, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II passed away in Balmoral, Scotland at the age of 96 years. She is being mourned throughout the world as an esteemed elder stateswoman and monarch, but hers was a life which consisted of much more than simply being a Queen. I am going to consider her varied life as consisting of 7 words beginning with the letter “M.”
If you had seen the young Elizabeth as an 18-year-old in 1944, you would have seen a teenager moving about with a spanner and oily hands under the bonnet of an army lorry. Motor mechanics were just some of things she was taught as a serving member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) where she was registered as number 230873, Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor. During this time, she also learned how to drive. It was said to have been the first time a female member of the Royal Family had ever attended a course with “other people”, that is those who were not members of royalty or the court circle.
Her time in the ATS gives a clue as to where young Elizabeth saw the future. By this time World War II had been raging for 5 years, and as far as Great Britain was concerned, this was a time when every adult was serving the war effort in some way. And Elizabeth wanted to be an active part of that. As a result, she pleaded with her father, King George VI, to be able to enlist, not something a princess would normally have done in those days. Yes, it meant getting her royal hands covered in oil and grease, but it also meant that she was serving alongside those who would one day be her subjects, rather than staying apart in a palace. It was as if she had an intuition that her position as a future Queen meant that she would need to be involved with ordinary people as well as with the upper classes whom she already knew.