By Tom Quinn
From humble beginnings as a shopkeeper's son in Coventry to 'Page of the Backstairs' at Clarence condominium, William Tallon, or 'Backstairs Billy' as he got here to be recognized, regularly knew he was once destined for a existence within the royal circle. A fierce collector and fan of all issues on the topic of the royal relatives, at the same time a small boy Billy was once occupied with this glamorous international of pageantry and extra.
Charming, dependable, promiscuous and in ownership of a very depraved experience of humour, Billy entered royal provider on the age of fifteen and, over the following fifty years, grew to become essentially the most infamous figures, and so much striking characters, ever to have graced the royal family. even supposing nominally a servant, through the years Billy grew to become one of many overdue Queen Mother's such a lot relied on neighbors and confidants. whereas others got here and went, Billy used to be the single servant the Queen mom simply couldn't do with out. She cherished him, and he her, probably due to his excessive camp kind or his witty and provocative comments in regards to the well-born equerries, royal press humans and advisers.
Sometimes scandalous, frequently surprising, constantly exciting, Backstairs Billy is the interesting 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 a unprecedented glimpse of what lifestyles within the British royal family members is basically like...
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Extra resources for Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon, the Queen Mother's Most Devoted Servant
The trouble may have had more to do with lack of ambition than lack of intelligence, or it may have been simply that Bertie knew that his life would remain the same whether he tried hard or not. This is something that invariably affects members of the royal family, but in different ways. It perhaps reached its nadir when in more recent times Prince Charles was offered a place at Cambridge University despite A-level grades that would have led to rejection for any other candidate. During his Isle of Wight days, Bertie was known by fellow crew members as ‘Mr Johnson’.
All the boys at my school loved football and Airfix models, or they played in the street as most kids did at that time. I used to play occasionally but my heart wasn’t in it. I suppose it was rather odd that my only interest pretty much was the royal family, but you have to remember that for me they represented a wonderful, exotic world that I wanted to be part of. There wasn’t much that was glamorous about Coventry then. Nobody ever seemed to do anything interesting. Frankly, I couldn’t wait to get away.
It perhaps reached its nadir when in more recent times Prince Charles was offered a place at Cambridge University despite A-level grades that would have led to rejection for any other candidate. During his Isle of Wight days, Bertie was known by fellow crew members as ‘Mr Johnson’. He served aboard HMS Collingwood during the First World War and was mentioned in despatches during the Battle of Jutland (May 1916–June 1916). He spent the rest of the war recovering from an ulcer operation and then entered Trinity College, Cambridge for a year.