High Sheriff recalls her friendship with Queen Mother
Miss Walker-Okeover, the current High Sheriff of Derbyshire, had known The Queen Mother for most of her life, and told the News Telegraph that it had been a "privilege and pleasure," to serve her.
"Our home in Scotland at Glenmuick is near Balmoral and I first met Her Majesty when I was seven when she came to tea with Princess Margaret," recalled Miss Walker-Okeover. "I also met the King (George VI) when he came to shoot with my father.
Twenty-five years ago, Her Majesty was in Derbyshire to open the new Assembly Rooms, and passed through Ashbourne en route to Okeover Hall, where she stayed overnight with the late Sir Ian Walker-Okeover who was then Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire - a post he held for 26 years - and Lady Walker-Okeover, now Elizabeth, Lady Walker-Okeover.
To mark the occasion Her Majesty planted a silver leafed lime in the garden of Okeover Hall, which remains today with its commemorative plaque.
It was 16 years ago that the Queen Mother invited Jane Walker-Okeover to become an Exra Woman of the Bedchamber. This entailed her serving Her Majesty for two periods of two weeks each year, one in the spring and summer when she would go to London and again in the autumn in Scotland. Her duties would include helping with Her Majesty's correspondence and accompanying her on engagements.
Said Miss Walker-Okeover: "One wonderful, moving occasion was when I accompanied Her Majesty when she took the salute at Beating Retreat on Horseguards in aid of SSAFA. It was a lovely summer evening and I went in the carriage with Her Majesty from Clarence House and it was the most marvellous occasion.
"On all engagements she left smiling faces in her wake.
"I had been there for one or two of her birthdays, for which some people waited all night, and the atmosphere was electric with an outpouring of love for Her Majesty."
In Scotland miss Walker-Okeover went to Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate and many time to the Castle of Meye, an exposed castle with its own beauty and huge sky, just two fields away from the sea across which are views to Orkney and on a clear day the spire of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.
"Her Majesty loved her Aberdeen Angus cows which grazed in the fields, and enjoyed picnics beside the River Dee in Aberdeenshire, as well as having picnics and walks with the Corgis at the Castle of Meye weather permitting."
Miss Walker-Okeover went on: "Her Majesty was such a wonderful person, very wise, very kind and generous with a wonderful sense of humour and I have lots of happy memories. Her Majesty had a strong sense of duty and was very patriotic and intensely loyal to this country and to the Commonwealth and she touched people's hearts around the world.
"Her Majesty was very calm and welcoming, putting people at ease and making everyone feel better and special."
Miss Walker-Okeover also spoke of the Queen Mothers phenomenal memory and of her ability to be forward looking despite her great age, whether taking on a new puppy or racehorse.
As a lady in waiting Miss Walker-Okeover saw
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