X Close


Published: Monday December 9, 2013 MYT 10:10:02 PM
Updated: Monday December 9, 2013 MYT 10:10:52 PM

The Queen and I - For Mandela, it was 'Elizabeth' not 'Ma'am'

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Not many men call Britain's Queen Elizabeth II "Elizabeth", much less dare to comment on her dress style or weight.

Nelson Mandela was one of them.

As global leaders gathered to pay homage this week to South Africa's anti-apartheid legend who died on Thursday, one former close aide recalled the cheeky lese majeste of a statesmen who charmed enemies, celebrities and ordinary people alike.

"When he paid visits to the Queen, it was always very entertaining to see their interaction, because he called her 'Elizabeth'...no one else in the world, I think, calls her 'Elizabeth'," Zelda la Grange, who was Mandela's personal assistant for more than a decade, told Reuters.

"He would comment on her dress and her weight, you don't do that with the Queen," said la Grange, who accompanied Mandela on his trips and meetings with foreign leaders.

Far from being offended, la Grange recalled, the British sovereign "quite enjoyed it".

"She really adored him," she added.

The Queen will not be attending the state funeral for Mandela scheduled for next Sunday at his ancestral home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, but she will be represented by her son, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

(Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Shafiek Tassiem; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


  1. MH370 search: Next 48 hours crucial, says Hishammuddin
  2. Gobind: My father was a simple man, who enjoyed simple things
  3. CM proposes that sea front be renamed Karpal Singh Drive
  4. Former police chief recalls fond memories
  5. Dr Mahathir: Kassim Ahmad's arrest wrongly portrays Islam as 'hard and unmerciful'
  6. Karpal Singh: He never feared defeat, says Guan Eng
  7. Karpal Singh, my loving husband
  8. MERS virus: 64 villagers from Kampung Bintang quarantined for a week
  9. ‘Don’t play the fool’ and other quotes by Karpal Singh
  10. Michael — shy man whose care spoke volumes