Royal Cheapskate: Queen Mother Was Too Much of a Tightwad to Buy a TV

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When the Queen Mother died in 2002 at age 101, it was reported that she had a £4 million overdraft with the royal bankers. But the late queen wasn’t the spendthrift some made her out to be. Quite the opposite, actually.

The Telegraph reported that, in fact, she was too cheap to buy a TV for her Scottish castle, and instead watched her favorite shows on an ancient video recorder (probably Beta). From the story:

Despite her estimated £70 million fortune, she also refused to replace her old raincoats or spruce up Castle of Mey in Caithness, where she spent the majority of her summers for almost half a century.

Ashe Windham, her equerry at the castle, said he wanted to make public details of the Queen Mother’s living arrangements to counter public perception that she pursued an extravagant lifestyle…

Mr Windham said she regarded her favourite Burberry jackets, four of which were blue and two green, as “old friends” from whom she was unable to part. He said he did not see her wear a new raincoat during his 28 years of service.

“The Queen Mother was, in many ways, quite frugal in her way of life,” he said.

“She was 14 when the Great War broke out and was very much accustomed to rationing.

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