Queen 'sat in silence and consoled an Aberfan survivor for 30 MINUTES'

Queen ‘showed humanity’ in Aberfan by spending 30 minutes in silence with a woman who had lost seven relatives, royal biographer claims – after The Crown showed the monarch as emotionally detached

  • Penny Junor said the Queen offered silent comfort to an Aberfan survivor in 1966
  • Royal biographer appears on ITV’s Inside the Crown: Secrets of the Royals today
  • Her Majesty was criticised for not immediately heading to the tragedy in Wales
  • She visited eight days after the slurry disaster claimed the lives of 144 people
  • Netflix’s The Crown portrayed the monarch as faking tears when meeting locals

The Queen silently comforted a woman for half an hour after learning she had lost seven relatives in the Aberfan tragedy, a royal biographer has claimed.

Her Majesty, 93, visited the Welsh mining village on October 29 1966, eight days after a devastating avalanche of slurry killed 144 people, including 116 children.

She was criticised by some for not immediately heading to the national disaster and Netflix drama The Crown showed the monarch, played by Olivia Colman, apparently faking tears when meeting residents.

But British royal author Penny Junor, 70, has suggested the Queen was far from apathetic towards the tragedy and ‘showed her humanity’ to the locals in a quiet manner.

Penny made the remarks on ITV’s Inside the Crown: Secrets of the Royals, which airs tonight at 9pm.

The Queen (pictured right in Aberfan in 1966) silently comforted a woman for half an hour after learning she had lost seven relatives in the Aberfan tragedy, a royal biographer has claimed


Olivia Colman, pictured left, as Queen Elizabeth II while visiting the Aberfan tragedy. The monarch, pictured right in 1966, seeing the devastating scenes in the Welsh village. The Crown claimed the Queen faked brushing a tear away, but in reality the monarch actually cried

Her Majesty (pictured this week), 93, visited the Welsh mining village on October 29 1966, eight days after a devastating avalanche of slurry killed 144 people, including 116 children

She said: ‘When she actually arrived she spoke with families and there was one woman who’d lost seven members of her family. 

‘The Queen just sat with her, quietly, saying nothing, for half an hour. That was the Queen showing her humanity.’

It is unclear who the resident was that the Queen visited for half an hour. 

An entire generation was almost wiped out when 150,000 tonnes of coal waste slid down the hillside before engulfing Pantglas Junior School on October 21 1966.

The disaster unfolded, following days of heavy rain, when excavated mining debris from the Merthyr Vale Colliery was dislodged and came thundering towards the village. 

Prince Philip first travelled to Aberfan without the Queen a day after the tragedy and it is thought his wife stayed away so she didn’t distract from the rescue efforts. 

The Queen’s decision to not visit Aberfan immediately is said to be one of her biggest regrets. Pictured: The Queen walking around the Welsh mining village, with Prince Philip behind her

The mud and devastation caused when mining spoil from the hillside high above Aberfan came down and engulfed The Pantglas Junior School on 21st October 1966

In episode three of The Crown, it claims the monarch was forced to visit the disaster after a public backlash and showed little emotion towards the situation.

During the outing, Olivia’s portrayal of the Queen dabs her eye as if wiping a tear away, after talking to the bereaved. She later says: ‘I dabbed a bone-dry eye and by some miracle no one noticed.’ 

But Her Majesty’s decision to not visit Aberfan immediately is said to be one of her biggest regrets and most royal experts say the decision was made out of practically. 

Royal historian Robert Hardman also suggested Her Majesty refused to visit the Welsh mining village until she could control her heartfelt emotions.

Royal historian Robert Hardman suggested the Queen (pictured visiting the neighbourhood in 1966 with her husband) refused to visit the Welsh mining village until she could control her heartfelt emotions

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit the coalmining village of Aberfan in South Wales, eight days after the disaster in which 116 children and 28 adults were killed

He said on tonight’s documentary: ‘Everyone I’ve spoken to says that the Queen was really worried that she would let the side down. She didn’t want to go there and make things worse for these families.

‘She was a young mother, Prince Edward was a baby, she knew she was going to be as overwhelmed as everybody else was. And the last thing people want is a sobbing Queen on their shoulder.’

Royal author Kati Nicholl added: ‘Of course you don’t want to be seen as apathetic but we also don’t want to see the Queen collapse, unable to cope. Overcome with emotion at times when we are looking to her to keep the nation together.

‘The occasions where you see the Queen show her grief are really few and far between but you really do see that emotion on her face [at Aberfan].’ 

Inside the Crown: Secrets of the Royals is on tonight at 9pm on ITV

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