1994: ‘The Queen Behind the Throne’, Backstairs Billy, David Bowes-Lyon & a ‘bouquet of clergy’

photo-26 In 1994 Michael De La Noy, former employee of Lord Beaumont (1962 – Prism Press), Robert Maxwell (1966 – Pergamon Press), the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey (1967-1970), and who had threatened the Albany Trust with his research for a book on the sexual education of ordinands shortly before being offered the position of Director, wrote a biography of the Queen Mother.

De La Noy had been sacked by the Archbishop’s press office for writing an article exposing a then current-serving civil servant’s indulgence of his sexual peccadilloes in his bedsit in Earl’s Court.

June 1970: Michael De La Noy writes about ‘Leslie’ former MoD employee indiscreet improper letter writer

He had been appointed as the Director of the Albany Trust during Grey’s brief absence in 1971 during which Peter Righton and Doreen Cordell attempted to wrest the Trust’s psychosexual counselling files from De La Noy’s grip and potential use of them for blackmail purposes.

Further blog posts on De La Noy’s involvement with Albany Trust here:

May 1971: Peter Righton establishes ACCESS with Dr Robert Chartham / Ronald Seth as trustee – watched by MI5?

July 1971: Peter Righton at the House of Lords – Lord Beaumont calls an Emergency Meeting of the Albany Trust

September 1971: Lord Beaumon’ts letters and Peter Righton meets Jack Profumo at Toynbee Hall

Christmas 1971/January 1972: Bishop of Stepney and Jack Profumo give Peter Righton their patronage

But before turning to De La Noy’s 1994 biography (which must have caused some trepidation in view of his previous writings), Nicky Haslam’s Spectator review of a more recent and Official biography of the Queen Mother by William Shawcross contains an interesting reference:

“The king’s early death robbed her of the apogee of queenship, but, as her daughter captivated the world with her seriousness and beauty, she herself wisely forged a new role, with her own totally uncompetitive court, surrounded by intelligent, mostly gay male friends and grandchildren, and devotedly served for 50 years by her incomparable page, William Tallon, rumoured to have been a boyfriend of her brother, David Bowes-Lyon, and who, strangely, rates but a few late and very brief sentences in this book.” [All the Queen’s Men, The Spectator, 30 September 2009]

Marvellously, only a fortnight ago a new biography dedicated entirely to William Tallon provides more information (Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon the Queen Mother’s most devoted servant, March 2015 by Tom Quinn) beginning:

“At the time of his death in 2007, William John Stephenson Tallon, or ‘Backstairs Billy’ as he was known, was familiar to a relatively small circle that included the members of the royal family, but especially Prince Charles and Lord Snowden, and a long list of former homosexual lovers, many of whom had also been in royal service. Outside that circle Billy was not at that time widely known, but in the years since his death a picture has emerged of a man whose life was extraordinary by any standards.”

For an overview by Tom Quinn, the author, see further Outrageous Secrets of Backstairs Billy [Daily Mail 14 March 2015]

David Bowes-Lyon – the Queen Mother’s brother

Growing up the Queen Mother and her brother were always close, he being her junior by 2 years and the pair of them together separated by a few years from their eight elder siblings. When his sister married the second in line to the throne David was just 21, and when she became Queen in 1936, he was 34.

“For secretaries, comptrollers and treasurers it has been almost a sine qua non that they be the non-marrying sort, for hours are long and unsociable, and duty may call them to Windsor or Scotland as well as Clarence House, and, in the past, they had to be available to accompany the Queen Mother on her world-wide peregrinations. But another explanation for the Queen Mother’s preference for employing homosexuals, and her partiality for their company generally, may be discerned in the perceptive diaries of James Lees-Milne. After staying at Bury Farm, in June 1948, adjacent to the Queen Mother’s childhood home in Hertfordshire, he drove the brother of whom she was so fond, David Bowes-Lyon, to London the following day and noted, ‘His conversation very strange. Did I think women’s thighs ugly? Men’s figures more aesthetic? Did I like wearing shorts? He did not disapprove of any sexual practices – and so on. Trying not to be too distant, I did not commit myself to any opinions. He must have found me either a dolt or a prude.” [Michael De La Noy, The Queen Behind the Throne, p176]

Jim Lees-Milne was 40 at the time, so certainly no young boy: Independent obituary http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/obituary-james-leesmilne-1291030.html

“The Windsors’ most astonishing claim concerned their visit to the United States in 1941.

The Queen Mother, they alleged, enlisted the help of Special Branch in London; of her brother, David (later Sir David) Bowes Lyon, who was posted to the British Embassy in Washington; of the British Ambassador, Lord Halifax; and of her friends, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, to have them followed and spied on 24 hours a day by FBI agents.

Yet Shawcross, in his determination to present the Queen Mother in a posthumous golden glow, makes claims which verge on the ludicrous.” [From a 1971 interview Michael Thornton with Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Daily Mail 19 September 2009 – as above]

David Bowes-Lyon & Psychological Warfare

David was turning 40 by the time WWII started. He wasn’t merely posted to Washington in the British Embassy – from October 1941 he was a member of the Political Warfare Executive, a collaborative effort between the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Economic Warfare and the European Section of the BBC. The PWE broadcast to enemy countries and occupied territories

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 14.08.16

Psychological Warfare and India By Dr Arunkumar Bhat p.134

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 00.33.57













Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.32.45

David Bowes-Lyon had inherited the Bury at St Paul’s Walden, Hitchin Hertfordshire: “With its formal French gardens and statuary it would have supplied a sense of elegance.”


Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 14.37.54

In 1950 David became High Sheriff of Hertfordshire where he lived and then in 1952 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire until his death in 1961.

Residents of Hertfordshire and in particular constituents of Grant Shapps MP (Con: Welwyn Garden City) now have former running partner of Jimmy Savile and General Manager of Broadmoor hospital, Alan Franey, as their Deputy Council Leader, overseeing policing

[Tories back man who ‘gave Savile unrestricted access’ to hospital , Political Scrapbook 30 September 2014]

Not far from the Bury at St Paul’s Walden was Henlow Grange, where Savile had began to ingratiate himself with the Costigans’ second beauty spa from 1961 onwards https://bitsofbooksblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/savile-and-henlow-grange-champneys-health-spa/

and conveniently close to David’s house was also the new Political Warfare Executive studio for broadcasting propaganda from Church End, Milton Bryan, close to Bletchley Park

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 21.07.58

A Most Remarkable Family: A History of the Lyon Family from 1066 to 2014 By Michael Hewit


“Lees-Milne met David Bowes-Lyon again at a dinner party early in 1949, and recorded that he had been ‘insinuating all sorts of forbidden things in veiled terms and proposing a trip with me in the spring. He is an extraordinary, complicated, buttoned, perhaps not so buttoned-up man who cannot call a spade a spade and is a walking riddle.” At the Chelsea Flower Show that year, Bowes-Lyon ‘seemed keen that we should go on a motor tour in August. A curious man that he is.’The clear implication from these diary entries is that while David Bowes-Lyon may indeed have been curious, he was almost certainly bisexual, a fact which could well have become a commonplace to his sister, colouring for life her own laissez-faire attitude to personal sexual morals, which very much reflects the dictum of her near contemporary, Mrs Patrick Campbell: don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” [p.176]


1951: Enter Billy Tallon from Birtley

Billy Tallon was born in Birtley, Durham, 12 November 1935 and entered into royal service aged 15 in 1951 when the Queen Mother had become a grandmother for the first time and Prince Charles was turning three. David Bowes-Lyon was born in 1902 and died in 1961 so would have been 49 – 59 and Billy would have been 15 – 25 when there would have been any opportunity for a relationship.

“Johnny Hewitt who knew Billy well at this time, explains: “Many people have claimed that Reg and Billy worked as a sort of team – a team of sexual predators. I don’t think that was true at all. It was part of Reg’s character to be intensely loyal both in terms of his job and his personal relationships. Billy was always intensely loyal to his employer, the Queen Mother, but he was not so loyal in his personal relationships.”

From Billy’s point of view, his depending relationship with the Queen Mother made him increasingly aware of his own power. And if power corrupts, it certainly began to corrupt Billy, who felt to some extent that he was invulnerable, especially when it came to the rent boys and other young men he met on his late night forays to Soho and elsewhere. As one colleague put it, ‘Billy began to think he could do as he pleased.

Almost from the time he moved to Clarence House, Billy spent his free time actively pursuing his fellow male servants and bringing back casual pick-ups he met during his free hours late in the evenings and at weekends.

One or two of those who worked with Billy at this time describe him as a sexual predator, but others say that many if not most of the young male servants were happy to take part in what can only be desired as orgies.

Brian Wilson (not his real name) describes how he met Billy in a bar in Soho and was dazzled to hear that he worked for the royals. Along with two friends, he was invited back to Clarence House. During the group sex session that followed Billy suggested Brian should sit on the Queen Mother’s favourite sofa and there Billy had sex with him. Brian was convinced that taking risks was part of the sexual thrill for Billy. Another former lover who knew Billy well in the mid-1960s remembered the royal servant’s remarkable lack of caution.” [Loc 1279/2853]

“The Queen Mother was always renowned for her alleged tolerance of homosexuals – perhaps not surprising considering the notorious and flagrantly homosexual adventures of her own brother, Sir David Bowes Lyon, who, though married with children, was addicted to all-male orgies at which young men were bidden to wear football shorts.” [Daily Mail, That spiteful old soak dedicated to making lives hell, 19 September 2009]

Dr Venetia Newall, renowned folklorist, fellow of the Royal Society of Literature  and former joint secretary of the Albany Trust until Antony Grey took over in 1962 [see blog post here: 1962: Antony Grey’s interview panel ] wrote about the Queen Mother “that much loved figure” in 1986:

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 12.25.25

Venetia Newall, Presidental Address to the Folklorist Society AGM 15 March 1986, ‘ Folklore and Male Homosexuality’


Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 12.57.46

As above, footnotes 65 & 66


“Roger Booth is certain that the Queen Mother knew Billy was gay and din’t mind in the least.

‘I would say she positively welcomed the fact, as there had been a long tradition of homosexual servants at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House. Some commentators have said this was partly because the royals felt that their female children would be safer if the male servants were homosexual, but it almost certainly had far more to do with the fact that homosexual servants were perceived – rightly or wrongly – as having less need for a life outside the palace.

And even though homosexuality was illegal until the mid-1960s, the royals took a very lordly view of that kind of illegality. They had always know homosexual men – in service and in their families – and couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. It’s also nonsense, I think to say that Queen Elizabeth didn’t mind so long as her gay servants were discreet in their affairs. I’d say the opposite was true and she liked the fact that her gay servants were often very indiscreet in indeed, but just so long as they didn’t go too far. It provided a bit of excitement for her and at no risk to herself or her reputation. She famously said that without gay servants the royal family would be reduced to ‘self-service.’ ‘ ” [Backstairs Billy, Loc 926]

In 1992 Liam Cullen-Brooks started work at Clarence House aged 19.

“According to Cullen-Brooks, Billy wasn’t just fond of a drink. He was habitually drunk and when drunk he couldn’t control himself. He was, according to Liam, a vicious and vindictive and very much a sexual predator.

Other former male servants have confirmed the general picture of Billy as occasionally lecherous. One said:

Billy offered young men jobs if he fancied them and no sooner had they started work than he turned his often unwanted sexual attentions on them. If they failed to respond he could make life very difficult indeed. To be fair he could be very charming if he liked you – even if you gave him the brush-off when he made it clear that he was sexually interested in you – but sometimes the devil got into him and he simply would not take no for an answer.” [Backstairs Billy, Loc 1935]

Perhaps the best example of the Queen Mother’s tolerance of her wayward servant occurred win the News of the World reported that a ‘rent boy’ had been invited back to Clarence House by Billy. The paper made a huge fuss, but the Queen Mother simply responded by saying, “How kind of William to invite the poor boy in out of the rain.” [loc 1300/2853]

I wasn’t aware of this News of the World report or when it was published – to be found.

“Like the Labour peer Lord Bradwell (better known as Tom Driberg, 1905-1976), with whom he may well have had a brief affair, Billy was far keener on oral rather than other kind of sex – according to one of his chance enouncters, Billy seemed to think that swallowing large quantities of semen was the secret of eternal youth.”[Loc 1820/ Backstairs Billy]

“Don Jones, who knew Billy well around this time said:

Billy was one of a number of queens who didn’t really like having sex done to him if you see what I mean – he liked doing it to others. Partly because of the idea that sperm – especially from young men – would keep him young but also because he always wanted to be in charge….

When homosexuality between consenting adults was legalised in the mid-1960s I think Billy, like a lot of gay men, was a little disappointed. Without the danger some of the fun had gone.” [Loc 1837, Backstairs Billy: The Life of William Tallon]

In 2008 one of the Queen Mother’s butler’s pleaded guilty at the last minute to sexual offences against children – thus preventing a four week trial. By the time Paul Kidd arrived, Billy Tallon had been the Queen Mother’s confidante for almost 17 years.

“Former Royal Butler Admits Child Abuse” 02/10/2008

Paul Kidd, a former Royal Butler to the Queen and the Queen Mother, has pleaded guilty to committing sexual offences against children.

Paul Kidd of Grasscroft Road, Stalybridge, Greater Manchester worked as a butler between 1977 and 1979 at Buckingham Palace and was the Senior Footman to the Queen Mother, at Clarence House, between 1979 and 1984.

Kidd had been charged with a number of sexual offences against children. He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his pleas last Wednesday before he was due to face a four week trial.

Paul Kidd pleaded guilty on nine counts of indecent assault, six counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences were committed between 1974 – 1977, 1981 – 1983 when he was employed by the Queen Mother and between 2005 and 2008. His victims were all under the age of 16 when the offences were committed. Kidd also admitted counts of making indecent images of a child and possessing indecent images of children. He admitted possessing more than 18,000 indecent images of children. The charges of rape were dropped.

Paul Kidd was born in Lancashire in 1953, upon leaving school he was employed in the Royal Navy as a silver service waiter. He was appointed butler to the Queen in 1976 at Buckingham Palace were he served for six years before being transferred to Clarence House. In 1979 he was awarded the Most Noble Order of Merit by the West German President whilst on a state visit with the Queen. In 1985 due to illness he left the Royal Service.

He later became an after dinner speaker travelling the world with his stories of Royal Service. His fee band was between £2,000 to £4,000. However, behind his amusing stories of Royal Service led a dark secret of child abuse.

What was so impressive about Paul Kidd’s conduct on a royal state visit 1978/79 that the West German President Walter Scheel (now in his 96th year) awarded him the Most Noble Order of Merit?

The Queen Mother’s penchant for ‘a bouquet of clergy’

Something Michael De La Noy was particular interested in and aware of was the relationship between his previous employer the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canon Eric James (patron of Peter Righton in 1971, biographer of Albany Trustee Dr John Robinson, and biographer of Father Trevor Huddleston who hunted for his BOSS files and found nothing and was later appointed Chaplain Extraordinary to the Queen in 1984) and the Queen Mother.

Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother loved to lunch and be hosted by Lady Diana Cooper at her home in Maida Vale, 10, Warwick Avenue in Maida Vale,W9 and were often guests there from 1960s – 1980s. From 1975 Maida Vale would also host the Paedophile Information Exchange ℅ Release at 1, Elgin Avenue and in May 1973 Lord Lambton would be caught minutes from his house at 58 Hamilton Terrace on camera in bed with two prostitutes




Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 16.55.39

“The Queen Mother has a penchant for clergymen, preferably High Church and slightly camp. Lady Diana Cooper was a great procurer of such. On 23 June 1979 the Queen Mother told Lady Diana, ‘I loved those two dear little clergyman. What luck to have them, & how it must help them to be encouraged by you.’

On 28 March 1981 she was writing to say, ‘Once again I am writing to thank you for a perfect lunch party, and a most enjoyable noon cocktail party – your neighbours are so delightful and amusing and varied, and it is great fun to watch the famous HOUSE POISON doing it’s [sic] work, voices rising, conversation becoming more & more sparkling, & even the dear faces of the clergy becoming a tiny bit roseate – Oh it is such fun, and I adore coming to see you & I enjoy myself madly in the lovely relaxed atmosphere you create round you, & I am deeply grateful to you for giving me such a heavenly treat.” [p.182]

“On 4 April 1982 the Queen Mother told Lady Diana that her own dear clergy, by which presumably she meant the canons at Windsor, ‘seem quite boorish & tweedy’ in comparison to the ‘exquisite clergy in Little Venice’. It was following a visit to Diana Cooper, when three clergymen had come in for drinks before lunch, that as she was leaving the Queen Mother said to Lady Diana, ‘I did enjoy meeting your bouquet of clergy.’ [fn. 22 Retailed to the author by the Hon. David Herbert]. Among those invited in 1980 for a drink was a guest whose name, Sir Martin Gilliat assured Lady Diana Cooper, met with the Queen Mother’s approval – Edward Fox. He had recently played the role of Edward VIII in a television series called Edward and Mrs Simpson.” [De La Noy, The Queen Behind the Throne, p.182]


One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s