New PDF release: Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon, the Queen


By Tom Quinn

From humble beginnings as a shopkeeper's son in Coventry to 'Page of the Backstairs' at Clarence apartment, William Tallon, or 'Backstairs Billy' as he got here to be identified, continually knew he was once destined for a lifestyles within the royal circle. A fierce collector and fan of all issues regarding the royal kinfolk, while a small boy Billy used to be eager about this glamorous global of pageantry and extra.

Charming, unswerving, promiscuous and in ownership of a really depraved feel of humour, Billy entered royal provider on the age of fifteen and, over the following fifty years, grew to become probably the most infamous figures, and such a lot outstanding characters, ever to have graced the royal family. even though nominally a servant, over the years Billy turned one of many past due Queen Mother's so much depended on acquaintances and confidants. whereas others got here and went, Billy was once the single servant the Queen mom simply couldn't do with out. She cherished him, and he her, probably as a result of his excessive camp sort or his witty and provocative comments in regards to the well-born equerries, royal press humans and advisers.

Sometimes scandalous, frequently surprising, consistently pleasing, Backstairs Billy is the attention-grabbing existence tale of the fellow who spent greater than part a century operating for one of many world's such a lot elusive associations, giving us an extraordinary glimpse of what existence within the British royal kin is absolutely like...

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Additional resources for Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon, the Queen Mother's Most Devoted Servant

Sample text

So far as Billy was concerned, he had finally arrived where he was always destined to be. 47 Chapter Five Below stairs D difficult to find after the end of the Second World War, even, occasionally, for the royals. The war had given the working classes broader horizons and the ‘shame and tyranny of the maid’s cap’, as it was known, made many girls and boys seek better-paid and less humiliating factory work. But, despite this, the number of domestic staff employed by the royals in the late 1940s was far higher than in more recent times, when public scrutiny and questions about taxpayer value made one or two members of the royal family wary of seeming to enjoy the attentions of an almost medieval retinue of staff.

Likewise, the radio held a fascination for the young man because it regularly broadcast the voices of the royals, as well as news about their trips around the country and abroad. ILLY’S LONGING FOR The old Bakelite wireless at home where the family would sit and listen to the news became a vital means by which Billy, in his mind at least, could wander far away. And news about the royals was far more uncritical at that time than it later became. Journalists wrote in hugely deferential terms, as if their role were to pay homage to the royals, and that, of course, is in stark contrast to more recent times when journalists began actively to try to uncover damaging stories about them.

Billy himself acknowledged his debt to Walter Taylor: 58 He was a great model for any young servant. He had a presence and a kind of dignified bearing that was as impressive in its way as anything demonstrated by the royals themselves. But I’m not sure anyone would say that they liked Walter – in the sense of feeling close to him – because he was aloof. He never let his guard down, but he was immensely impressive. He had an air of greatness – I don’t think it would be too much to say that. But, whatever the influence of below-stairs events, it was changes in the wider world that transformed Billy’s life.

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