This month in history: The Queen Mother's 100th birthday

On 4 August 2000, the UK celebrated the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was born on 4 August 1900, daughter of Sir Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne (1855-1944) and Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck (1862-1938).

Elizabeth was the 9th of 10 children. Her eldest sister, Violet, died in 1893. Her remaining siblings were Mary, Patrick, John Herbert, Alexander Francis, Fergus, Rose, Michael and Benjamin David. They had an idyllic childhood, growing up in Glamis Castle, Scotland.

At a ball at Glamis Castle given by her parents in September 1920, she met the 24-year-old Duke of York, second son of King George V. Prince Albert fell in love immediately, but it took him almost 3 years and several proposals before Elizabeth agreed to marry him. They married in Westminster Abbey, London, on 26 April 1923, and settled down in White Lodge, in the park behind Buckingham Palace. Almost 3 years later, on 21 April 1926, their first daughter, Elizabeth, was born (Gazette issue 33153). She was followed on 21 August 1930 by Margaret (Gazette issue 33636).

When, on 20 January 1936, Prince Albert’s father died (Gazette issue 34245), his older brother, David, ascended the British throne as King Edward VIII. However, on 10 December, Edward abdicated so that he could marry the love of his life, Wallis Warfield, who had previously been divorced twice. Albert unexpectedly ascended the throne as King George VI, and Elizabeth became Queen. They were crowned at Westminster Abbey on 12 May, 1937 (Gazette issue 34396).

At the outbreak of World War 2, the Queen decided to stay in London, and often visited bombed areas as a show of solidarity. When the war was finally over, on 8 May 1945, the whole family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and were cheered by thousands of people.

On 6 February 1952, King George VI died of cancer (Gazette issue 39458). Elizabeth ascended the throne 4 months later. From that moment on, she was known as the Queen Mother. She developed an interest in horse racing, and went on to own the winners of approximately 500 races.

In her later years she became known for her longevity, celebrating her 100th birthday on 4 August 2000 (Gazette issue 55932). On the day more than 40,000 well-wishers gathered in the Mall to watch the Queen Mother and her two daughters step on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace. They were soon joined by the rest of the royal family.

The Queen Mother’s health deteriorated rapidly in her later years, as she suffered a number of falls and fractured bones. She retreated to the Royal Lodge at Windsor following her last public appearance on 5 March 2002, and passed away on the afternoon of Saturday 30 March (Gazette issue 25194).

The Queen Mother lay in state at Westminster Hall for 4 days, during which time tens of thousands of mourners filed past her coffin to pay their final respects.

She was finally laid to rest, alongside her husband King George VI, in St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Tuesday 9 April. The Queen Mother left her entire estate, worth an estimated £70 million, to her only surviving daughter, the Queen.