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Royalty

  • [On Princess Diana:] Now, at last, this sad, glittering century has an image worthy of it: a wandering, wondering girl, a silly Sloane turned secular saint, coming home in her coffin to RAF Northolt like the good soldier she was.

  • The Age of Diana has not ended but has rather just begun. Frozen forever at the height of her beauty, compassion and power by death, she will be the mourner at every royal wedding and the blushing bride at every Coronation.

  • For what is a family without a steward, a ship without a pilot, a flock without a shepherd, a body without a head, the same, I think, is a kingdom without the health and safety of a good monarch.

  • ... I am come amongst you, as you see at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all — to lay down for my God, and for my kingdoms, and for my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • speech to the troops at Tilbury (1588), in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • ... though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my crown: That I have reigned with your loves.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • "The Golden Speech" (1601), in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • [To the suggestion that Great Britain might someday want a Republic:] We'll go quietly.

  • [On the 1982 intruder into her bedroom:] I realized immediately that it wasn't a servant because they don't slam doors.

  • [On Princess Anne:] Such an active, outdoorsy lass. She loves nature in spite of what it did to her.

    • Bette Midler,
    • in James Spada, The Divine Bette Middler ()
  • The affairs of the royal house form a subject of conversation for those who, as a rule, would have no conversation.

  • There are few prisoners more closely guarded than princes.

    • Queen Christina,
    • "Maxims" (1680), in Henry Woodhead, ed., Memoirs of Christina, Queen of Sweden, vol. 2 ()
  • It would not be difficult to be a better ruler than I was: for I admit that I ruled badly; and even if I was fortunate enough to satisfy my subjects, I was not fortunate enough to satisfy myself.

    • Queen Christina,
    • in Margaret Goldsmith, Christina of Sweden: A Psychological Biography ()
  • The queens in history compare favorably with the kings.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • From the first day I joined that family, nothing could be done naturally any more.

  • I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts, but I don't see myself being Queen of this country.

  • The things I do for England.

  • Lo, the god knows me well, / ... / No one rebels against me in all lands. / All foreign lands are my subjects, / He placed my border at the limits of heaven ...

    • Queen Hatshepsut,
    • "Speech of the Queen" (c. 1450 BCE), in Margaret Busby, ed., Daughters of Africa ()
  • So as regards these two great obelisks, / Wrought with electrum by my majesty for my father Amun, / In order that my name may endure in this temple, / For eternity and everlastingness, / They are each of one block of hard granite, / Without seam, with joining together!

    • Queen Hatshepsut,
    • "Speech of the Queen" (c. 1450 BCE), in Margaret Busby, ed., Daughters of Africa ()
  • We are not amused!

    • Queen Victoria,
    • alleged to have said this in 1889 upon seeing an imitation of herself by a groom-in-waiting, and quoted in Notebooks of a Spinster Lady ()
  • [Complaining about Prime Minister Gladstone:] He speaks to me as if I was a public meeting.

  • The Government should take a firm, bold line. This delay — this uncertainty, by which, abroad, we are losing our prestige and our position, while Russia is advancing and will be before Constantinople in no time! Then the Government will be fearfully blamed and the Queen so humiliated that she thinks she would abdicate at once.

  • [To the bishop who suggested the widowed queen now consider herself 'as married to Christ':] That's what I call twaddle!

    • Queen Victoria,
    • 1861, in Timothy B. Benford, The Royal Family Quiz and Fact Book ()
  • [On the way to the guillotine:] Courage! I have shown it for years; think you I shall lose it at the moment when my sufferings are to end?

  • [On public events attended by royalty:] It was the usual 'zoo tea.' You know, we eat — the others watch.

  • Revolutions existed in history, books were written about them, and lectures given: they were complicated phenomena, scientific, remote. While here, the riot of a week ago had turned out to be a real revolution and the shadow of death actually threatened all of us who were of the ruling cast.

  • Their shiny grey limousines lay around Hyde Park Corner like basking sharks.

  • People felt they needed a [Princess] Diana to help them through difficult times. If Diana had not existed they would have had to invent her.

  • [To Prince Rainier III, referring to palace formality:] Can't we do a couple of things halfway around here?

  • Catherine the Great, like others of her kind, did not succeed in imparting greatness to her descendants.

  • Surely a King who loves pleasure is less dangerous than one who loves glory?

    • Nancy Mitford,
    • "In Defense of Louis XV" (1956), The Water Beetle ()
  • From a private gentlewoman you have made me first a marchioness, then a queen; and, as you can raise me no higher in the world, you are now sending me to be a saint in Heaven.

  • ... when I am dead and opened, you shall find Calais lying in my heart.

    • Mary I,
    • 1558, in Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles, vol. 3 ()
  • [To a complaining young royal:] You are a member of the British royal family. We are never tired, and we all love hospitals.

    • Queen Mary,
    • in John Pearson, The Selling of the Royal Family ()
  • Nature bestowed on me the form of a woman; my actions have surpassed those of the most valiant of men. ... Before me, no Assyrian had seen the great sea: I beheld with my own eyes four seas, and their shores acknowledged my power. I constrained the mighty rivers to flow according to my will, and I led their waters to fertilize lands that had been before barren and without inhabitants.

    • Semiramis,
    • in Mrs. Jameson, Memoirs of Celebrated Female Sovereigns ()
  • [On the triangle between Henry VIII's widow, Queen Katherine Parr, her new husband Thomas Seymour, and young Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I:] ... after the Admiral was married to the Queen, he would come many mornings into the said Lady Elizabeth's chamber before she was ready, and sometimes before she did rise. And if she were up he would bid her good morrow and ask how she did, or strike her upon the back ... and so go forth through his lodgings. And if she were in bed he would open the curtains and bid her good morrow, and make as though he would come at her. ... At Seymour Place, when the Queen lay there, he did use a while to come up every morning in his nightgown, bare legged in his slippers, where he found commonly the Lady Elizabeth at her book. And then he would look in at the gallery door and bid my Lady Elizabeth good morrow, and so go on his way. ... the Admiral loved her but too well and had so done a good while, and the Queen was jealous on her and him, insomuch that one time the Queen, suspecting the often access of the Admiral to the Lady Elizabeth's Grace, came suddenly upon them when they were both alone, he having her in his arms, wherefore the Queen fell out both with the Lord Admiral and with her Grace also.

    • Katharine Ashley,
    • "The Confession of Katharine Ashley," in Samuel Haynes and William Cecil, A Collection of State Papers: Relating to Affairs in the Reigns of King ... ()