He’s been on impromptu picnics with the Queen and watched her roll up her sleeves and do the washing up. And he’ll never forget the day when, without warning, Her Majesty knighted him on the spot
As the Queen’s former righthand man, Perth grandfather Sir William Heseltine knows the monarch better than most, and fondly recalls their time together.
‘I worked with her for nearly 30 years, and we got on very well,’ Sir William, 85, tells New Idea, having consented to a rare interview as the Queen turns 90. ‘I think she’s very calm, very steadfast, very efficient, quite patient with people. In every way, admirable.’
Despite the frequent official dinners given for the Queen, he said she always ate in moderation.
And she has a taste for chocolate, but she’s sparing in her consumption. ‘There are a few things she doesn’t eat – she doesn’t like caviar and never eats it.
And William will never forget the day in 1982 when he walked into the Queen’s study and found himself being knighted! ‘I’d walked in carrying a basket of papers and she said: “You’d better put that down. There’s something I have to do,”’ he recalls. ‘She had a sword there – I think it was her father’s – and a special stool. It’s known as the knighting stool, and I put one knee on that and she tapped the sword on my shoulder and knighted me.’
William adds, 'There’s something special about the Queen, which I think you feel in any contact with her.’