As most people know by now, Queen Elizabeth II passed away today at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was 96 years old. She met with US presidents starting with Truman and up to Biden. She had 15 Prime Ministers in her reign starting with Sir Winston Churchill and ending with Liz Truss whom she met on Tuesday.
All that said, this remains my favorite photo of QE2.
She is out in the rain firing a L85 variant of the SA80 rifle. I don’t know if she is firing it semi-auto or full-auto. The photo was taken in 1993 when she was 67. I have no doubt she would have done it in her 90s if given half a chance.
This was not her first time first time firing a full auto firearm. Her father King George VI refused pleas by MI6 to evacuate to Canada in 1940.
Warwick University’s Prof Richard Aldrich adds: “He says everybody is going to stay and going to fight. He says, ‘I want to get my German. I want to at least kill one of the invaders and we will all fight to the last.’
“When Churchill hears of this he says, ‘You need to be able to kill more than one German.’”
So he sent the King a Tommy gun and the Queen Mum, Elizabeth, 14, and Margaret, ten, also learned to use it.
Describing the wartime scenes Prof Aldrich says: “The royal family and equerries are all practising with pistols, rifles and Churchill’s Tommy gun. The Queen Mother enjoys taking pot-shots at rats in Buckingham Palace’s gardens.