News Queen's 90th birthday: Queen Elizabeth knitting on the LoveKnitting blog

Published on June 6th, 2016 | by Merion


Happy 90th birthday Ma’am!

Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 this year, and celebrations are kicking off all over the UK this week. We’re looking back at the Queen – and her knitting – with a gorgeous celebratory pattern too!

Queen's 90th birthday on LoveKnitting blog

Merion’s Dad, Clarinettist John Denman

If you’ve lived in the UK during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, chances are you’ll either know somebody who has met her, stood near her, or seen her – she’s the kind of queen who has been very accessible to the great British public, whether on walkabout at modern events, or many years ago, during the war, driving ambulances and knitting socks for soldiers.

Both of my parents met the Queen – my father was in the Life Guards (part of the Household Cavalry) one of those fabulously dashing soldiers with white plumed helmets as you can see in the photo above. He’s holding a clarinet because he was in the Band of the Life Guards – he even played at the Queen’s coronation! (That beautiful horse was called Ironside; he lived on a diet of Welsh cakes, sent to my father through the post, by his loving Welsh mother!)

My mother, who was an actress, met the Queen on two occasions, both after Royal Command Performances, and remembers her as very friendly and interested in everyone she met.

There was great respect for the Queen then, as now, perhaps due to her purposeful and modest manner. She was brought up during a period of hardship when Britain (and so much of the world) was battling recession. The Queen embraced the make-do-and-mend culture that was so necessary during the war, and was often pictured – in solidarity with the country – knitting.

Queen's 90th birthday: Sonia Rees in The Sound of Music on the LoveKnitting blog

Merion’s mum, Sonia Rees, as Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, London 1961

During the war, knitting wasn’t just a hobby, it was an earnest form of patriotism – soldiers needed warm clothes but most of all socks – and so everyone knitted!

Queen's 90th birthday on the LoveKnitting blog

Princesses Margaret (left) and Elizabeth (right), knitting at Windsor Castle

Everyone knitted for the Forces!

Queen's 90th birthday: Knitting for the Forces on the LoveKnitting blog

Queen's 90th birthday: the Queen knitting at home. LoveKnitting blog

Note the Princess Elizabeth’s double pointed needles!

Belinda Harris-Reid, one of our fabulous British indie designers, was commissioned to design and knit cushions for The Campaign for Real Wool for the Queen’s Jubilee Thames Pageant in 2012.  She remembers that as she waved to the Royal Barge (with those very cushions aboard) from Blackfriars Bridge, the Queen waved back!  This inspired Belinda to design a beautiful shawl pattern called “The Royal Wave” that you can knit in any fingering weight/4ply or 3ply yarn.

Queens 90th Birthday: The Royal Wave on the LoveKnitting blog

If you happen to meet the Queen during this year’s celebrations, we’ve found a few interesting etiquette facts for you!

– When introduced to the Queen, you should address her as “Your Majesty” or “Your Royal Highness” – from then on, you may call her “Ma’am” which should be pronounced to rhyme with “Pam”.

– When introduced to the men of the Royal Family, address them initially as “Your Royal Highness” and from then on, as “Sir”.

– When introduced, ladies should curtsey, and men should bow from the shoulders, or if you prefer, a handshake is acceptable.

Happy Birthday Ma’am!

We hope someone is knitting you something lovely for your birthday!

(Keep an eye out for some Royal Knitting Patterns later this week!)

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About the Author

Merion admits that her stash is wildly out of control, but has many projects in dream-form! She loves knitting, crochet, Shire horses, cake and garden swing-seats.

Last updated: June 6th, 2016.

7 Responses to Happy 90th birthday Ma’am!

  1. Myriam says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of your family history, Merion.

  2. Diane Albee says:

    Any way I can get a copy of the instructions for those knee caps for the Royal Air Force?

  3. Diane Albee says:

    Just wanted to say you come from a very talented family. I played clarinet for 12 years and it is a beautiful instrument. My daughter and I were in London the past two weeks and saw the city getting ready for the birthday celebration. What a great thing!

    • Merion says:

      Hi Diane! The clarinet is a very lovely instrument, wow 12 years of playing – you must be very good indeed! I played as a child, and took it up again as an adult – it’s a great workout for knitting fingers! London loved celebrating the Queen’s birthday, it was a celebration full of love – am glad you saw the start of it! Come back and visit us again soon!
      Merion x

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