Thursday, 9 June 2016

Queen Elizabeth II 90th Birthday: George Formby, Her Favourite Singer & Two Bret Books In Royal Collection!

I was very proud to have enjoyed a correspondence with Her Majesty The Queen Mother, which was acknowledged by a letter from Buckingham Palace when she passed away. I knew my Gracie Fields book was in the Royal Collection because I signed it for the Queen Mother. I never knew about the Formby book until today when a journalist called, and when it was confirmed that George was the Queen's favourite singer, along with Gary Barlow...well, I can forgive her for that one! So now, there's an upsurge in sales of Formby stuff, despite one of my homophobes lambasting it to say it's full of spelling mistakes...jealousy will get you nowhere, love, as the end of the day you're still the nothing you always was.  I was grateful too, and a little surprised, when the much-missed Victoria Wood gave me a nod, regarding Our George, in Dinnerladies

Here's an extract from A Troubled Genius:

   For George, the pantomime run could not end soon enough. He was convinced that he had “bled the North dry” so far as his and Beryl’s fund-raising was concerned, and was anxious to return to London and raise more money there, risking the dangers of the Blitz by joining the ranks of Flanagan and Allen, Elsie and Doris Waters, Max Miller and Al Bowlly—the much-loved crooner who, early in 1941, would become the Blitz’s most celebrated casualty. “If London’s good enough for her Majesty, then it’ll do for Beryl and me,” he declared, referring to the Queen’s stolid determination not to leave Buckingham Palace even though persistently advised to do so.
   George was a tremendous favourite with the royals, and at around this time there occurred his and Beryl’s much-publicised visit to Windsor Castle, where they entertained the royal family and several hundred troops. A few weeks before the show, George was informed that he would be expected to sing all his big hits, including “When I’m Cleaning Windows”, and fearful of offending “sensitive ears” he had contacted Fred E Cliffe and commissioned a set of “alternative” lyrics. When he and Beryl arrived at Windsor, however, they were told by a royal aide that the King and Queen were only interested in hearing the uncensored act with which George had delighted the troops—even though the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret would be present. The show proved a triumph—afterwards, the King presented George with a set of gold cuff-links, and Beryl with a silver powder-compact, and three weeks later the Formbys appeared in a command performance for the Marlborough Troop, presided over by Queen Mary, the King’s mother—a straight-laced woman who nevertheless requested George not to spare her blushes. She loved “When I’m Cleaning Windows” so much that George was asked to sing it again, and the next morning news of this was relayed to the headquarters of the BBC, in the hope that the ban on the song would be lifted. It was not.

And this...


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