Last year the film-maker Michael Waldman shadowed the Queen as she celebrated her jubilee year and his documentary will be shown on ITV this Saturday. Yes, yes, all very interesting, but our time would be far better spent around her Balmoral sitting room.
1 Electric heater
Not for her a roaring fire in her Scottish retreat, the Queen instead has a small – if ugly – electric heater in front of the fireplace. She also has a two-bar heater at Buckingham Palace. Not really a surprise; every house I’ve ever been in that belongs to a nan has an electric heater.
At some point, something strange happens to even the most hideous ornaments in a person’s home. They either become so familiar as to be invisible, or time infuses them with layers of sentimentality, along with dust, so you stop viewing them as the grotesque things they usually are. The Queen, who appears to have a tendency towards clutter, has a typically random collection: a teddy bear hidden behind some photo frames, a few china corgis, a small crown, a strange collection of stones …
3 The clutter
Anyone whose desk is swamped by paper, mouldering snacks and random objects may be cheered by the sight of the Queen’s desk. Since she is someone who could order a minion to clear it, I assume she likes it this way. A rebuke to all those tiresome management consultants who insist having a tidy desk is the way to get ahead.
4 Does she read the Guardian?
I can’t spot it in that neat nest of newspapers. Maybe she reads it for free online like everyone else and posts snarky comments. Also, why does she read Majesty? That must be like getting one of those tiresome round-robin newsletters filled with family news every single month.
5 The theme
Who doesn’t love a themed room? The Queen has gone with an obvious Scottish decorating theme for her Balmoral sitting room. There is something quite endearing about this, from the tartan carpet to the thistle print on the frilled armchairs and swagged curtains, even if interior designers may sniff at the overkill.
6 Air-freshener sticks
So that’s who buys them.
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