Sunday, 6 July 2008

A Royal Auction of William Tallon’s collection
William Tallon’s collection, a legacy of more than fifty years service, was auctioned Saturday, 5th July 2008. The servant who had joined the royal household in 1951 was devoted to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. He had collected bits and pieces, souvenirs of a lifelong service for all members of the Royal Family. And they thanked him in different ways. He collected memorabilia: Photos, invitation cards, notes, gifts and trinkets. Everything went under the hammer. About 400 buyers and spectators crowded into the Reeman Dansie auction room in Colchester, Essex, with others bidding from around the world by telephone and internet. The auction lasted more than ten hours and took nearly double the pre-sale estimates.

Among the treasure trove of 700 items was a note from the Queen Mother, known for enjoying a tipple, instructing Mr Tallon to pack "two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin ... in case it is needed".

Expected to fetch up to $617, it eventually went to a phone bidder for $33,000.
Top-priced item was a portrait of the Queen Mother by Sir James Gunn, dated November 1945, which went for $61,700 - five times its top pre-sale estimate.

The frenzied auction attracted even the attention of the ABC, which is surprising considering that when the Queen Mother died, the ABC did not have time to show much of the state ceremony surrounding the funeral of the former Australian sovereign, because the time was needed to broadcast an old Cary Grant film, this despite a large number of complaints. The ABC as usual failed to see that it has a duty to cover State events involving the Australian Royal Family.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother celebrated Her 100th birthday on 4 August 2000. Born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother was one of the most popular and admired members of the British royal family. She was the widow of King George VI and mother of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.

To mark her 100th birthday Australia Post issued a special souvenir cover shown above. The cover featured Australia Post’s 1999 Queen’s Birthday stamp which also celebrated the life of the Queen Mother. The stamp features images of both the Queen and the Queen Mother and was the first time mother and daughter had appeared together on an Australian stamp.

After the Queen Mother's death in 2002 The Age reported then Prime Minister John Howard cited her visits to Australia in 1927, 1949, 1958 and 1966. "The Queen Mother's connection with Australia was very regular," he said. "She was a well-loved member of the royal family, a deeply revered lady around the world and a gracious and impressive person." Then Opposition leader Simon Crean said the Queen Mother had earned the public's respect. He said her reign and Australia's federation had seen profound changes in the monarchy.

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