The Queen Mum's Love for Theatre Is Remembered

News   The Queen Mum's Love for Theatre Is Remembered

The Queen Mother, whose funeral takes place April 9, was a great theatregoer, and she will be missed by the many actors who have performed for her in public and at hundreds of private evenings.

Patricia Hodge was a great favorite, not least because she was so well suited to the sort of twenties and thirties plays that the Queen Mother had enjoyed as a young woman.

Of the playwrights of that period Noël Coward was her closest friend, and his diaries frequently mention her — whether lunches at Clarence House or her visit to his holiday home in Jamaica.

Coward adored royalty, though he slightly resented the fact that he had to be on his best behavior all the time. Sometimes he got the urge (which he resisted) to tell blue stories to the Queen Mother and her daughters.

A sense of humor was one of the Queen Mother's most endearing characteristics, and she enjoyed seeing comedies. At the appropriately named Comedy Theatre, on a birthday outing, she saw Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, where a character says, of his religious and royalty-loving old mum, "If she can't be compared to the Queen Mother, then the Virgin Mary's the next best thing!"

—By Paul Webb Theatrenow