The Queen, the Commonwealth and the electric heater
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
For the past year, I have been part of a production team following the Queen through her Diamond Jubilee and beyond for this Sunday’s ITV documentary Our Queen, wrote Robert Hardman  in The Spectator on 16 March 2013. He continued: The director, Michael Waldman, and I witnessed many Sovereign/PM moments, including prime ministerial audiences.

My favourite was watching the Queen come to Downing Street for lunch with all her surviving prime ministers (minus a frail Lady Thatcher). It’s a poignant moment as David Cameron escorts the longest-lived monarch in British history up the stairs (she won’t take the lift) past the photographs of all her PMs.


‘Now, I think you remember all this lot,’ says Mr Cameron, introducing the Queen to Sir John Major and Messrs Blair and Brown.

 They all grin like naughty schoolboys and she responds with a knowing smile. She is the only person alive who knows what all ‘this lot’ genuinely think of each other, and they all know it.

...thrifty Queen...


One thing which may surprise viewers is the Queen’s functional approach to heating. Her sitting rooms at both Balmoral and Buckingham Palace have elegant marble fireplaces.

Yet, in both, we find an electric heater. The Queen doesn’t expect a roaring log fire except in communal spaces.

In one scene, as she waits for David Cameron to arrive at Buckingham Palace, she observes that her electric fire is out of place.

Without blinking, she places a well-shod foot into the grate and gives it a kick.

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