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

By Tom Quinn

One of the nation's top saved secrets and techniques, existence in the back of the gates of Buckingham Palace is topic to all over the world hypothesis. during this ebook Tom Quinn strains the attention-grabbing dating among the Queen mom and her so much committed servant.

William Tallon, who died in 2007, used to be a shopkeeper's son from the Midlands who rose in the course of the ranks to paintings for the Queen mom for greater than fifty years. referred to as "Backstairs Billy," he was once fascinating, fun, sometimes bitchy—and tremendous promiscuous.

Billy cherished her and he or she cherished Billy; maybe as a result of his high-camp sort and outrageous feedback in regards to the well-born equerries, royal press humans and advisers, yet normally simply because he made her gin and tonics simply the best way she beloved them—nine-tenths gin and one-tenth tonic.

Outrageously humorous, scandalous, occasionally surprising, yet continuously attention-grabbing, this can be the royal kinfolk in the course of the eyes of 1 of its such a lot extroverted servants.

Tom Quinn is the writer of many titles together with London's Strangest Tales, Cocoa in the dead of night: the genuine existence tale of My Time as a Housekeeper, and The Cook's story: existence lower than Stairs because it fairly Was. He additionally writes occasional obituaries for the occasions and edits Country company magazine.

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One other of his splendidly unique little ploys was once to shout around the room for silence after which he could announce that he was once going to teach us how you can dance a number of steps of flamenco, or an old style waltz. He may then cavort around the room to the large satisfaction of his viewers. He was once at those occasions thoroughly uninhibited. one other pal recalled how Billy’s demeanour might swap if an individual handsome got here alongside and he went into what his associates referred to as ‘chat-up mode’. We have been ready in his flat for the plumber to reach and whilst he did he used to be stumbled on to be quite handsome so instantly Billy used to be at the alert.

The Reverend Prebendary William Scott defined Billy’s impressive loyalty to the Queen mom, and the assembled site visitors sang ‘Parry’s Anthem’, considered one of Billy’s favourites. The carrier concluded with a analyzing of Billy’s favorite track, ‘Send within the Clowns’, after which Billy’s flower-strewn coffin left the chapel to the traces of Strauss’s ‘Radetzky March’. No member of the instant royal kinfolk used to be there. Even Prince Charles was once busy somewhere else. His absence and that of different contributors of the rapid relations was once felt through a few of Billy’s closest buddies to mirror the royals’ ambivalent angle to a guy who, of their eyes, had, regardless of his nice loyalty, over-stepped the mark; a guy who were too as regards to an individual he was once intended merely to serve.

We even attempted providing him some huge cash, yet he wasn’t biting. a few us started to recognize him after some time simply because he nearly by no means misplaced his mood and if it have been me i feel i'd have punched a person! Billy knew that assaulting a journalist might were a catastrophe since it used to be precisely what they sought after. after they knew he wouldn’t supply them a narrative approximately his years with the Queen mom, the one different alternative was once to impress him into doing anything outrageous. His lowest aspect got here in October 2002 whilst he was once getting back from a celebration to release a e-book through inside dressmaker Nicky Haslam.

The mockery and laughter can be a long way harsher if it was once directed at one of many equerries or advisers whom Billy fairly disliked. If Sir Alastair Aird, an equerry who was once usually uncomfortable with Billy and Reg, were conversing right down to both of them, they might say, ‘She’s been sticking her oar in and a correct whinge she is just too. Very hoity-toity, I’m yes. ’ the trouble for Billy and Reg was once they had discovered find out how to dominate and even perhaps cow the opposite servants, however the senior advisers have been a much harder nut to crack.

Yet, nonetheless he used to be regularly on the centre of gossip, backbiting and intrigue so you’d have proposal that he’d were used to it. i discussed to a different servant that i assumed Billy was once a piece over-stressed and it used to be displaying itself in his obsession with checking a lot of these issues, yet she simply stated, ‘It’s not anything to do with that. He’s simply bloody mad! ’ Billy used to be continually the centre of a swirling mass of news, a lot of which bore little or no relation to truth. a number of of his pals testify to his delight in the tales that have been informed approximately him and he could occasionally say, in line with a question a few specific tale, ‘Well, I don’t do not forget that in any respect yet I’m yes it needs to be precise.

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