Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was "hugely upset" by the criticism her daughter, the Queen, faced after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Friends of Queen Elizabeth have also revealed her shock at the public outpouring of grief over the Princess’ death.
Sir Michael Oswald and his wife Lady Angela Oswald said Queen Elizabeth felt angry and defensive that her elder daughter was so widely criticised for her actions in the aftermath of the Princess’s fatal car crash in Paris in the summer of 1997.
The Queen was accused by some of a failure to capture the mood of the nation, in the days following the death.
Public anger began as a result of the decision to issue an apparent "business-as-usual" message by taking Princes William and Harry to church at Balmoral, a few hours after Prince Charles had broken the news to them of their mother’s death.
There were also accusations that the Queen remained in Scotland for too long, and did not return quickly enough to London, which had become the focal point for public grief over the Princess’ death.
But Lady Angela said: "The Queen was criticised for two things. One was taking the boys [Princes William and Harry] to church [on the day the Princess died]. But they wanted to go to church. If you are a Christian and your mother has been killed, it is a comfort going to church.
"The other thing was that people expected the Queen to abandon her two grandsons – whose mother had just been killed – and go to London to mourn with people who had never even met the Princess.
"If you stand back and think about it, it is an extraordinarily selfish attitude. Queen Elizabeth was hugely upset by the criticism of her daughter because she has always admired her so much. It was such a cruel criticism and it was unfair."
Sir Michael, now 75, an Old Etonian and former manager of the Royal Studs, was Queen Elizabeth’s racing manager from 1970 to her death in 2002 aged 101. His wife, the daughter of the 5th Marquess of Exeter, was one of her ladies in waiting for 21 years from 1981.
Few couples have been given such a privileged insight into a member of the Royal family’s private life – and been allowed to speak publicly about it. However, following the publication of William Shawcross’s official biography of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Michael and Lady Angela spoke exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph – with the knowledge of Buckingham Palace – about their decades of royal service. Even though they both unfailing called her "ma’am" out of respect, they clearly considered Queen Elizabeth a close and loyal friend.
Speaking at their Norfolk home – a spacious former vicarage close to the Queen’s Sandringham estate – Lady Angela said: "Her life was full of laughter and sparkle.
"The one time I remember her losing her smile for any length of time was for a fortnight in 1991, or 1992, at Birkhall [her Scottish home] after she had been informed that the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales was effectively over.
"Normally with the bad things in life, she managed to pass by on the other side and not notice. But she had been made aware what unhappiness there was in the marriage. She was so sad, so tense and so obviously unhappy in herself.
"There was a very close bond between Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales. She was of a generation that felt that anything that went on in a marriage was private between the couple. So it is certainly fair to say that she would have been deeply shocked when private feelings and thoughts were broadcast worldwide [a reference to Diana, Princess of Wales's Panorama interview in 1995, in which she claimed the marriage was "crowded" because of her husband's affair with the then Camilla Parker Bowles].
The Oswalds were determined to put the record straight on some things. Queen Elizabeth, they insist, was never a heavy drinker, usually enjoying a single gin and Dubonnet before lunch, a single Martini before dinner and wine with her meal. Far from drinking too much, they said she was constantly alert and that her memory for people and stories was incredible. Although Queen Elizabeth loved horse racing, she never had a bet.
Lady Angela said: "I feel so privileged to have spent so much time with her. When I was with her at a reception, I sometimes ‘lost’ her because of her lack of height. But I could always tell quickly where she was because of the joyful expressions of the people who were talking to her. They looked different because they were so thrilled to be speaking to her. The wave of affection was tangible – and it went both ways. People loved Queen Elizabeth and she really did love them."
Source : The Daily Telegraph