The British Monarchy has always been subjected to the worse gossipmongers. In Tudor times that would have resulted in one losing one’s head. But it wasn’t until the arrival of Diana Spencer at the Court in the 1980s that took the whole subject up to a whole different level. Not only were the Family now considered fair game for the Tabloid press, but is was the start of a new culture where the Royals were now officially no longer off-limits From then on every story, wherever true or not, was shared as publicly as possible with not a single regard to any consequences.
Part of this new development should be blamed on the Establishment themselves surrounding the Palace and who were very inexperienced in the world of public relations thinking it way beneath them. And we know om hindsight how they mistakenly allowed Diana’s marriage to become such a public spectacle and farce.
On the other hand, the Family and their close advisors are also not beneath creating their own rumors when they want to discredit anyone who has dared to ‘offend’ them.
The late William Fallon falls into this category when a UK Channel 4 documentary does something of a hatchet job of his time as the Queen Mother’s ‘right-hand man’ for some 50 years. Fallon’s is a glorious story of a regal ‘upstairs and downstairs life’ that has all but disappeared these days. The film is based on a memoir by Tom Quinn in 2015 called Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon, the Queen Mother’s Most Devoted Servant. However with both Tallon and H.M both dead the documentary .seems to be based on gossip much more than fact. It doesn’t stop it from making for compulsive viewing BUT we would have still liked to be able to separate fact from fiction.
Tallon came from a working-class family in the Midlands. It was the early 1950s and Britain, still suffering from war rationing, looked up to the glamorous lifestyles of the Royal Family. Aged just 15, he wrote to Buckingham Palace looking for work and was rewarded with the post of a junior footman. Two years later he was seconded to nearby Clarence House where the newly widowed Queen Mother was setting up her own Court.
Over the years Tallon progressed to be the head of the household, and Reg became his deputy. It led to one commentator remarking they were two old queens working for a real old queen.