Royalty and statesmen

The Queen Mother's favourite steward, pictured in 1995, bequeathed four pictures in his will to the Queen's eldest son, to whom he was especially close. When Charles inherited Clarence House he provided a grace and favour home for the loyal retainer
Photo: Rex
Click on photo to enlarge

Backstairs Billy leaves treasured paintings to Prince Charles

15 JULY 2008
Buckingham Palace steward William Tallon gave 51 years of service to the royal family, sharing their family occasions and intimate secrets. And the bequests in his will, revealed this week, show the real closeness he felt towards the Windsors.

The trusted retainer, known affectionately in royal circles as Backstairs Billy, left treasured artwork done by his own hand and other personal items to members of the royal family. Prince Charles, to whom he was especially close, is top of the list reveals a columnist in the Daily Mail. The heir to the throne was left four paintings, including one of Queen Victoria and another done by British artist Edward Seago

Other beneficiaries include the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra, who is to get two pictures, both of her great grandmother Queen Alexandra. A further two paintings go to the British monarch's niece Lady Sarah Chatto, and a tobacco jar to Sarah's brother Viscount Linley.

Mr Tallon's intentions were revealed a week after his collection of royal memorabilia fetched 450,000 in an action which attracted attention from all over the world. It contained items such as private letters from Princess Diana and the late Queen Mother, which also demonstrated his close relationship with the royals.