Royal favourites – Backstairs Billy, the power behind the throne

Royal favourites from ordinary backgrounds enjoy immense privilege while their patrons are alive but are ousted at speed once their rarefied position disappears.

  What is intriguing is that the three recent ones – Angela Kelly (Queen Elizabeth’s dresser), Billy Tallon (Queen Mother’s steward) and Michael Fawcett (senior valet to the then Prince Charles) are/were all Scorpios. Discreet and determined, plotters and strategists.

  A West End play this autumn will celebrate ‘Backstairs Billy‘ Tallon, who worked for the Royals since he was 15 and was with the Queen Mother from King George VI’s death in 1952 until she died. Given the stories that came out of Clarence House over the years one assumes the reality will be toned down. He was described as ‘loyal but louche, diligent but drunk, discreet in word but indiscreet in life’, he rarely left her side and presided over what became known as ‘a glorious gin palace’. Her capacity for tippling was legendary and he had carte blanche to feed his own alcohol habit which eventually killed him when he was 72. The miracle is the Queen Mother tottered on to 101.

Billy was an elegant, bouffant-haired flunkey, who was gay with a steady partner, but not above seducing young pageboys. The parties in his quarters, according to all reports, were wild. He only survived five years after her death, having become institutionalized after almost an entire life in service.

  Born 12 November 1935, he was a Sun Scorpio trine Pluto, with his Sun conjunct her Scorpio Moon and his Gemini Moon conjunct her Pluto, both of them having Jupiter in Sagittarius. It does rather confirm her birth date of 4 August 1900 which was always questionable.  Their relationship chart was complex with an exuberant Mars trine Jupiter trine Neptune; and a dominating Mars opposition Sun square Pluto – as with all servant/master relationships it is always a moot point over the long haul who has the upper hand.

   Angela Kelly, 4 November 1957, Liverpool, is oddly a Scorpio Sun square Uranus which does not sound an easy fit for a restrictive Royal setup especially since her Uranus was conjunct Queen Elizabeth’s Moon.  But both share an upbeat Mars Jupiter conjunction which would help and Angela K’s Neptune opposed the Queen’s Taurus Sun for caring and/or softening the chemistry between them.

 Their relationship chart had a friendly Sun Venus conjunction opposition a possessive/controlling Pluto  – so an important partnership but one in which power played an outsized role.  

 Michael Fawcett, 6 November 1962, a Sun Neptune in Scorpio with Mercury and Venus in Scorpio as well, he does resonate with King Charles with his Venus conjunct Chas’ Sun. F’s Sun Neptune squares Mars in Leo which is conjunct Chas’s Pluto for a tricky crossover where again power and submission are issues – though it tends to be a shifting seesaw over time.  Fawcett’s Jupiter opposes Chas’ Saturn so he would have a cheering-up function. Their relationship chart has a workmanlike Sun Saturn conjunction in a chained together square to Pluto which would be helpful for large scale projects – with a dash of adventure thrown in.

  Queen Victoria’s favourite John Brown, 8 December 1826, wasn’t a Scorpio and was anyway a relationship of a different order. His Sagittarius Sun fell in her 7th so he would be there as a steady support in the absence of Prince Albert after his death. Brown’s Mars in Aquarius was conjunct her Jupiter and his Jupiter was in her playful 5th house.

  Mars Jupiter is a running theme in these relationships and given the relentless pressure of a Royal lifestyle maybe one of the functions of the favourite is to act as the equivalent of the court jester – to add sparkle and cheer to the grind and gravitas of monarchical duties.

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