Probably the most famous mother in the land?

HRH The Queen Mother receives an act of gallantryIn honour of all mothers everywhere this March, we’re featuring HRH, Elizabeth the Queen Mother who was probably the best-known mother in the land.

The Queen Mother had a long association with Dundee and its University. In the 1950s, Queen's College, Dundee, was named in her honour and she became the first Chancellor of the University when it became an independent institution in 1967. 

On 20 October 1961 the Queen Mother came to formally open the Tower Building, which was to be the new main building and heart of the campus. It was a wet day and in a display of chivalry an engineering student, Michael Steadman, laid down his red undergraduate gown to avoid her walking on the wet flagstones.  

While the incident had echoes of Sir Walter Raleigh's covering a puddle with his cloak for Elizabeth I to walk on, its origins were rooted in more recent history. Dundee students had already emulated Raleigh in 1955; when Queen Elizabeth II had visited the college on a day of heavy rain three students had placed their gowns on the ground for her to walk on. Steadman knew about this act of gallantry and had positioned himself so he could replicate it. The Master of Queen's College, Professor A. A. Matheson borrowed an umbrella from a female student to further protect the Queen Mother from the elements.

This photograph of the Queen Mother enjoying Michael’s chivalry is from the Alex Coupar photographic collection. 

Images from the collections featuring WW1 material