Skip to main content
Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Remembering the Queen

My own small collection of Queen Elizabeth souvenirs, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, will be cherished as mementoes of a distant yet very constant presence in my life.

Star Weekly cover image dated October 12, 1957 shows coloured illustration of Queen Elizabeth looking young and beautiful in tiara and fur cape, with Canada's Parliament Buildings in the background.

Remembering the Queen: Magazine Covers

Anyone who follows my newsletter knows that I am very fond of Star Weekly covers, the weekly newsmagazine published by the Toronto Star newspaper from 1910 to 1973.

Most of my covers were published during the war, and you can see them here: Star Weekly at War.

But thanks to my online friend, historian and collector Lee Anning of Creemore, Ontario, I now have a number of beautiful Queen Elizabeth covers published after she came to the throne in 1952.

The one at the top shows the Queen with the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, since it was commemorating one of her 20 official visits to Canada (her husband Prince Philip visited Canada 46 times.)

A group of Star Weekly magazine covers fanned out on a table, each showing a portrait of Queen Elizabeth at different times throughout her life.

In the cover below, Elizabeth looks so happy to be crowned at the age of 25 years — yet she was almost certainly not happy.

Her beloved father died prematurely at the age of 56 after suffering a heart attack. She grieved for him deeply, and ascended to the throne unexpectedly after the best physicians in Britain were unable to save his life.

Remembering the Queen -- Star Weekly cover illustration dated July 25, 1953 shows a laughing Queen Elizabeth seated on a red tufted velvet chair, wearing full regalia including a jewel-encrusted crown, holding her ball and sceptre.

Various illustrators were hired by the Star Weekly to create these beautiful covers, and some were more successful than others. This one, for example, doesn’t even look like her.

Remembering the Queen -- Star Weekly magazine cover dated June 13, 1953 shows a smiling but thoughtful Queen Elizabeth looking to one side, seated on a red throne, wearing a purple crown crusted with jewels, holding a sceptre in her right hand and her golden ball in the left hand.

This somewhat unusual photograph shows her without all the royal trappings, although she is wearing what looks like a diamond necklace. She really was a very striking young woman.

Remembering the Queen -- A Star Weekly magazine cover image shows a more casual portrait of Queen Elizabeth, no jewelry except a diamond necklace and pearl studs in her ears, smiling with red lips closed and blue eyes looking at the artist, dated October 5, 1957.

In this 1947 illustration she was still Princess Elizabeth, looking almost ethereal in a soft peach-coloured gown and surrounded by cherubs.

Perhaps this is how she looks now, reunited with her parents and sister and husband in heaven. There she presumably enjoys no special status.

Remembering the Queen -- Star Weekly cover illustration dated November 27, 1947 shows a more whimsical Queen Elizabeth wearing a peach-coloured dress with open neck and ruffled sleeves, pearl necklace around her throat, seated on a green chaise, smiling at the artist, surrounded by peach-coloured cherubs floating around her head, holding wreaths, against a blue background.

Queen Elizabeth was, and is to this date, the most photographed woman in the world. I love this photograph published in the London Illustrated News on July 11, 1953. She is wearing her special Coronation ball gown, made of white satin and embroidered with thousands of pearls and crystals.

The embroidery is an homage to the Commonwealth countries, with Scotch thistles, protea of South Africa, ferns of New Zealand, golden Pakistan wheat, green Australian wattles, lotus flowers of India and Ceylon, shamrocks of Ireland, and maple leaves of Canada. (I tried but could not detect most of them).

This photograph also shows the Queen’s hour-glass figure which she managed to maintain throughout her life, in spite of bearing four children and eating thousands of state dinners.

That alone is enough to command our respect.

A regal full-length photograph of Queen Elizabeth in middle age, wearing a long gold and white gown richly embroidered with pink roses and green leaves, diamond necklace and earrings and bracelet but no other jewelry, standing in front of a maroon-colored drapery.

* * * * *

Remembering the Queen: Teacups

Back when people saved teacups and actually drank tea from them on a daily basis, hundreds of royal teacups were produced by china companies around the world and sold as souvenirs.

I have just a few of them. I especially admire the pretty floral cup with ER for Elizabeth Regent on the inside of the cup, so you see it every time you take a sip.

Remembering the Queen -- An assortment of three souvenir teacups, each bearing royal insignia, two of them with portraits of Queen Elizabeth and one displaying the ER logo.

* * * * *

Remembering the Queen: Cookie Tins

Probably the most useful souvenir is a cookie tin, because it not only comes filled with cookies but can be used to store all sorts of things afterward. Mine hold such items as teabags, coins, and buttons, and I have also used them as gift boxes.

I have other royal cookie tins bearing images of the Queen’s parents, children, and grandchildren — but as this is the Queen’s special time, I’ll show you only my favourite Elizabeth cookie tins.

Remembering The Queen -- three royal souvenir cookie tins, one round with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth in her youth, the other two of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip posing for formal photographs, him in full uniform with medals, and she wearing a blue gown in one picture and a white gown with blue sash in the other.

Here’s the very last Queen cookie tin I will ever buy. I purchased it at Heathrow Airport on my way home from our trip to the United Kingdom in June 2022. It is also a music box that plays God Save the Queen.

Remembering the Queen -- a souvenir cylindrical white metal cookie tin with a silver lid has a smiling portrait of an older Queen Elizabeth wearing a tiara and a ruby necklace, issued in honour of her Platinum Jubilee.

* * * * *

Remembering the Queen: Worst Souvenir Ever

This was so awful I just had to buy one — a little solar-powered Queen who waves when her battery is charged.

Remembering the Queen -- A small, solar-powered replica of Queen Elizabeth with gray hair and a tiara and blue dress waves her hand when the battery is charged. She is smiling but it is not a good likeness and her face looks pretty grim.

* * * * *

Remembering the Queen: Novels

Queen Elizabeth has been the subject of some light, amusing novels. Here are three of my favourites.

In Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by Boston writer William Kuhn, Elizabeth escapes from Buckingham Palace (wearing a black hoodie with a skull logo on the back) and goes incognito, catching a train to Scotland and mingling with the common folk. It’s filled with frivolous adventures and funny British characters.

Remembering the Queen-- Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, by William Kuhn book cover is teal, with a blue cameo silhouette of Queen Elizabeth wearing a crown, inside a decorative white and gold circle.

In The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett, the Queen is a clever sleuth who uses both her intelligence and her powers of diplomacy to solve the untimely death of a guest in Windsor Castle. This is the first in a delightfully original crime series.

Remembering the Queen -- The Windsor Knot, by S. J. Bennett, book cover is scarlet with a dark blue silhouette of Queen Elizabeth's head wearing a crown which is adorned with symbols such as a corgi dog, a dial telephone, and a man's necktie.

Written by the author of the Adrian Mole series and other comic novels, The Queen and I by Sue Townsend imagines that Elizabeth and family have lost their money and are forced into low-cost housing. Their struggles to adapt are hilarious.

Remembering the Queen -- The Queen and I, by Sue Townsend, white book cover with title in black font has a comical line drawing of a woman sitting at a tea table reading a newspaper, her face covered but a crown peeking over the edge, a corgi dog at her feet.

* * * * *

Remembering the Queen: The Royal Family and Me

I wrote about my lifelong fascination with the royal family and my few brushes with royalty in a previous blog post here: The Royal Family and Me.

Remembering the Queen -- Smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair and glasses, white shirt, green cardigan and pearl necklace, holds a round vintage cookie tin under her chin, showing a young, smiling Queen Elizabeth wearing a diamond tiara and earrings.

* * * * *

Remembering the Queen: Her Military Service

With her father’s reluctant permission, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service as soon as she was old enough and trained as a motor mechanic and truck driver during the Second World War. Read about her service here: War Veteran Wears a Crown.

Remembering the Queen -- black and white photograph of young Princess Elizabeth in her Auxiliary Territorial Service wartime uniform with shoulder bag over one shoulder and holding a pair of gloves in her right hand, looking off to one side with a solemn expression.

* * * * *

Dear Friends: It has been an emotional week as we reflect on the loss of someone who embodied the ideals of service and sacrifice, in a world that is ever more focused on self rather than other people.

Your Majesty, thank you for your service to your country and your Commonwealth.

Rest in Peace, Queen Elizabeth. God Save the King.


Thank you for reading this post. Don't forget to subscribe!

comments powered by Disqus