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Queen ‘set a wonderful example by her father’, childhood friend says

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he Queen knew “from a very young age” that she would become a monarch and was given a “wonderful example” by her father, her childhood friend has said.

Anne Tennant, Lady Glenconner, who was a maid of honour at the Queen’s coronation, has shared her memories of the monarch as a young woman ahead of her Platinum Jubilee on Sunday.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lady Glenconner said the Queen would likely “look back very sadly” on the day as it also marked the death of her father, George VI.

She recalled being sent a letter by Margaret the Countess of Snowden, describing the “beautiful Norfolk morning” on which the king had died at Sandringham.

Princess Margaret and her friends Lord Colin Tennant and Lady Anne Tennant waiting on the jetty at Mustique to greet Queen during her Silver Jubilee tour (PA) / PA Archive

“(It was) a beautiful Norfolk morning, sun coming out and all the geese and the birds flying over, and she said it was a sort of perfect morning that her father would have loved and it was so wonderful that he had died in Norfolk, his beloved Norfolk, on such a beautiful day,” Lady Glenconner said.

She described the “moving” moment she watched Elizabeth on television returning from Africa with the knowledge she was to become Queen.

“It’s so moving, standing at the top of the stairs in her black coat. And suddenly, somebody that we’d known, I’d known, since she was a child, was Queen.

The Queen setting foot on British soil for the first time since her accession in 1952 (PA) / PA Wire

“She was a very slight figure and she was very young but I felt that she had, from a very young age really, she knew she was going to be Queen. I think her father was a wonderful example to her because he put his every duty first.”

Asked whether the anniversary would be tinged with sadness for the monarch as it was also linked to her father’s death, Lady Glenconner said: “I think the Queen will look back very sadly.”

She added: “I think it means a lot to her. She’s a countrywoman too, the Queen.”

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