One of Elizabeth II’s oldest friends has told how his first encounter with the future Queen earned him a telling-off as a small boy.
Born just a month after Elizabeth in 1926 and growing up near her mother’s Scottish home Glamis Castle, David Ogilvy got to know the then princess and her sister Margaret when they were young children.
But he revealed that their first meeting, at his own birthday party, sparked a row with his parents.
Ogilvy – now the Earl of Airlie – told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The two princesses were staying at Glamis Castle which is only a few miles from Cortachy, my home.
“We had this tea party and my father and mother had given me a pedal car as a birthday present.
“When the party started, my father said to me ‘I think it would be very nice if you invited Princess Elizabeth to have a ride in your present’ – this little motor car.
“I said ‘Certainly not. This is my birthday, this is my car and nobody else is going to have a ride in it’.
“This caused a bit of a row and I lost the battle. So that was the first time I met her. That’s 90 years ago now.”
The Earl went on to become a lifelong friend of the princess, and later Queen, staying at Sandringham and Balmoral and joining her for grouse-shooting parties.
And in 1984 he was appointed head of the Queen’s household as Lord Chamberlain, leading the reform of the royal finances and dealing with the aftermath of the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle.
“It was a very worrying time,” he said. “The Queen was having difficulties at the time and the household wasn’t all that popular. To have this fire at Windsor was a tragedy.”
Asked what he would best remember about the Queen, he said: “She had a wonderful sense of humour. One can often have jokes in between serious discussions.
“I remember William Whitelaw, I think when he was home secretary, telling me that when he went to see the Queen about something which was quite serious or upsetting or worrying, ‘the extraordinary thing is that when you leave the room, she’s made you feel better’.
“That’s how she was. She was loved by the people who worked for her. She always wanted to see that they were happy… What a remarkable lady she was.”