As the most travelled monarch in British history, the Queen’s ultimate role was to connect with people. During her 70-year reign, she met everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga to Donald Trump, Victoria Beckham and Desmond Tutu – not to mention millions of regular folk who queued for hours to catch a glimpse of the monarch.
As the nation processes her death, people are sharing a story from the time she met Welsh humanitarian and war surgeon David Nott, who’s worked in conflict zones across the world.
In his memoir, War Doctor, Nott shared his experience of meeting the Queen shortly after his return from Aleppo in Syria. Nott’s own mother had recently died and on meeting “the mother of the nation”, he said all he wanted to do was “burst into tears”.
“I hoped she wouldn’t ask me another question about Aleppo,” he wrote. “I knew if she did, I would completely lose control.”
Instead of prying, the Queen instead opened a silver box full of biscuits for her beloved corgis, broke one in half, and passed it to Nott to feed to them. The pair spent the remainder of the lunch chatting about the dogs and Nott says as he was stroking them under the table “my anxiety and distress drained away”.
He added: ”‘There,’ the Queen said. ‘That’s so much better than talking, isn’t it?’.”
The extract was shared by palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke on Twitter, where it’s been liked by more than 37,000 people. It’s also been shared on countless Instagram stories.
The encounter has been labelled as an example of the Queen’s “intuitive humanity”, while others have said it perfectly sums up the Queen’s kindness and wisdom.