Skip to content

AARP The Magazine Presents

Barbara Harrison: Hello everyone, I’m Barbara Harrison, and on behalf of AARP the Magazine, I want to welcome you to this special live event. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization that has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. And while 60 years is a long time today, we’re here to learn some life lessons from a person who has been in the public eye for even longer than that: Queen Elizabeth II. And while we all hope to age well, stay vibrant and vigorous throughout our lives, she demonstrates that every day at the age of 94, she’s the longest reigning monarch in British history, and still puts in a 40-hour workweek. In this month’s AARP the Magazine, we share how the Queen spends her days with intent and commits to habits that improve the length and quality of her life. Today, we’ll take that story off the pages of the Magazine and have a conversation with all of you. Our guides for this discussion are people with knowledge and personal experience with Queen Elizabeth II.

Now, if you’ve participated in one of AARP’s live events, you know that you can ask questions live on the phone, or you can add them to the comments section where you’re watching. So if you’re joining us on the phone and would like to ask a question, please press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and your question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. And if you’re watching on YouTube or aarp.org, you can post your questions in the comments section.

Later on, we’re going to be joined by AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is also being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/atmpresents, 24 hours after we wrap up today.

And now I am very excited to introduce our first special guest. Jane Seymour is a Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actress, who many of us know as the star of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and of course her many memorable roles on the big screen, like the beautiful Bond girl in Live and Let Die, and I just watched her myself the other night on a rerun of the award-winning film East of Eden, and she was terrific. She’s also appearing in two upcoming films, The War with Grandpa and Friendsgiving. And very relevant to our conversation today, she’s also the recipient of an Officer of the British Empire designation from Queen Elizabeth II. Welcome, Jane.

Jane Seymour: Hi. Nice to see you.

Barbara Harrison: Well it’s so great to have you with us. We’re so happy that you’re joining us today. And as I just shared among your many honors and awards for your continuing outstanding career, you’re a recipient of the Officer of the British Empire designation from the Queen. Can you tell us what that signifies and what that means to you?

Jane Seymour: It’s the biggest honor, really, apart from being a Dame, which is with the next honor up. It’s the Order of the Knighthood. I was privileged, as you can see, I was actually given it by Queen Elizabeth II herself, which is not very often. She doesn’t do them all anymore. And it was just an enormous honor. I actually played Wallace Simpson. That’s a picture of me with Anthony Andrews when I played Wallace Simpson, and it occurred to me that having played Wallace … of course, if Wallace had never happened, had never met Edward, Queen Elizabeth would never have been the Queen because Edward would have been the King. And here it is, here is the actual OBE in the box that it comes in.

Barbara Harrison: Absolutely beautiful.

Jane Seymour: Yes, it’s an incredible honor, and I’m very proud to receive it.

Barbara Harrison: Do you get to wear it ever?

Jane Seymour: You do not really, but you can wear this little one that you also get, which you can wear more often; but the big one, you can only wear it at white tie and tails events, which, of course, don’t happen very often in Malibu. But Sir Elton John used to put one on every year for charity at his home in England. And we all kind of called the OBE or the Knighthood a Gong. I don’t know why we called it Gong, but everyone’s invited to where their Gong. So we all used to dress up and do that.

Barbara Harrison: Yeah. I was wondering about the big one, but the little one is beautiful. To many, especially in America, monarchy can seem quaint and possibly dated. Of course, it’s just one part of the United Kingdom system of government. There’s a parliament and there’s a prime minister, but the Crown after so many centuries, it’s an integral and very important role in England. How does the Queen maintain effective leadership over her seven decades on the throne, and do you think Americans understand the importance of her leadership, Jane?

Jane Seymour: You know, it’s very interesting. She has to have very fine lines. She cannot get involved in politics. However, she does meet the prime minister and she does hear about everything that is going on, and she opens Parliament and does all these official things, but she cannot be involved in politics at all. And … she’s also the head of the Church, because when Henry VIII wanted a divorce, he got rid of the Pope and decided to become the Head of the Church of England, which is basically like the Catholic Church, but done in English. So, it’s a very complicated, long story in history, but I think that the royal family and that heritage there, the whole royal customs, all of that is actually quite important to England. Quite apart from the fact that in terms of tourism, I think a lot of people come to England just to see all these things, to see these beautiful palaces which are now open to the public, to see the crown jewels, to see … these special events. But they do not rule the country. No, that hasn’t happened for a long time.

Barbara Harrison: We have a lot more questions for you, Jane. We’re going to get back to you in just a little bit. … I want to introduce you to our next guests who are both experts on the royal family. Diane Clehane is a New York Times best-selling author and the Royals editor for Best Life, which is an online magazine; and Bryan Kozlowski is a lifestyle researcher and author of a new book called Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch.

So Diane, let’s start with you. Maybe you can tell us, how has Queen Elizabeth grown in the last seven decades that she’s been on the throne? What traits from her earliest days have faded and what has she stood firm on?

Diane Clehane: I think that Queen Elizabeth has always prided herself on being in touch with the British people’s feelings and thoughts. And all of that was very consistent up until one week in September 1997 — Princess Diana’s death pretty much changed that for a very extraordinary week. And during that time, the Queen was sort of made to confront a lot of changes, seeing how the British people felt very emotional about that event, and more so, just made her realize that she wanted to get closer to the people in order to modernize and be with them. And she gave that very moving address, telling people that as a grandmother, she was protecting William and Harry during that time, and after that, it was a bit of a turning point for her and for the monarchy. It became much more humanized and, and more accessible to people. And I think it shows that even at an advanced age, she was willing to change. That can be a very difficult thing for people later in life. And she is very smart about picking up on how things have to change and be modernized in order to sustain the monarchy. So that was really a brilliant thing that she did.

Barbara Harrison: And Diane, you have so many interesting stories to tell. I read one this morning. We’ll talk about that later. We’re going to get back to you in just a little bit, but I want to remind people who might be wanting to join us if they can by phone or over the internet. Let’s go to Bryan now. Bryan, I understand that you wrote the article about the Queen that is appearing in this month’s AARP the Magazine. So we’d love to hear your insights here. I also had a chance to take a look at your book, which we have right here with us right now. It’s coming out in November. … Very, very interesting book. Has some really funny stories in it, but Bryan, from your book, it sounds like the Queen keeps a very active lifestyle and sticks pretty closely to her routines. While we all may not have access to the same resources she has, are there things she does that we might want to adapt?

Bryan Kozlowski: Absolutely. And it was actually sort of a big concern I had going into this project of looking at the Queen’s life. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to find or how applicable the Queen’s lifestyle secrets were going to be. Major point, I didn’t want to spend much money trying to act like the Queen or let alone buy a Corgi or anything like that. So to my great surprise and really tremendous relief, what eventually emerged in my research was this portrait of an incredibly unfussy, down to the earth individual who, let’s remember, actually said that she wanted to be a farmer’s wife when she was little and when she grew up, if she wasn’t the queen. So she’s never felt the need to, let’s say, hire an expensive lifestyle coach or a fitness trainer. Instead, she has structured her life, pretty phenomenally around these unique set of mental strategies and philosophies and attitudes. And because it’s mostly up in her mind, it’s something that, of course, costs no money for the rest of us to follow, and to make her, oddly enough, such an applicable role model, no matter really what social economic bracket you’re in today.

Barbara Harrison: You’ve got some really fun stories here. We’ll try to get to some of them in just a little bit. So thank you, Bryan, Jane and Diane. It’s now time for us to take your questions out there. I’d like to welcome Jean Setzfand to our discussion to help facilitate your calls. Welcome, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks Barbara. I’m delighted to be here.

Barbara Harrison: We’re so glad to have you there, and let’s take a first question now for Jane, Diane or Bryan. Who’ve you got?

Jean Setzfand: Our first call is coming from Matt in Maryland, and I believe this call is going to Jane.

Barbara Harrison: OK. I didn’t hear the name, but next caller Jane, you ready? Caller, you’re on the air.

Matt: Yeah. Hi Jane. I’m Matt from Maryland. I’m a huge fan. You’ve had the chance to play queens and other people in the royal family, and you had a chance to meet them in real life, too. I was just curious. What’s the biggest difference between Hollywood portrayals and real life?

Jane Seymour: I must admit watching The Crown, I’m incredibly impressed with how well that’s been done. I think that really is a phenomenal show. And I would agree, the royal family are very down to earth. I mean, I’ve met the Queen on a number of occasions and Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Prince Charles. We used to play polo with him. I’ve met Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, I knew Diana. I’ve never met Camilla, and I have met Harry. I’ve never officially met Prince William, either, but I met a lot of other Royals, some of whom have been friends of ours, who’ve been at our house. And I would say that tradition is very important. Some Royals work harder than others. The Queen works by far the hardest of them all, and Princess Anne is probably the hardest working … of all, and she’s unbelievable. And, you know, they’re quite down to earth. I mean, Prince Charles loves to do watercolors, which I love, and play polo and farm. But the Queen is amazing. You know, when you meet her, it doesn’t disappoint. She’s tiny. And yet she just … she’s so kind of quietly powerful, and she really makes you believe that you’re the first time she’s ever actually talked to somebody. I mean, which is astounding. It’s something to be, to learn from. When you meet a lot of people like I do, I mean, the Queen’s got it down in her little way, too.

Barbara Harrison: Great answer. And thank you, Matt, for that question. Now for everyone watching and listening, please stick around because we’ll be taking several more of your questions in just a bit. Before that, I have a few more questions myself for our guests. Jane, one area that you and the Queen have in common — you’re both dedicated to giving back. What drives your philanthropic work, and are there any lessons that you’ve drawn from the Queen?

Jane Seymour: I think that the Queen, as you said, is up to date, you know, she’s wanting to be modern. She also respects tradition. She has an enormous amount of energy. You never noticed that she’s ill or sick or can’t show up for something. I mean, she puts on the frock, puts on the hat, the gloves, and has the … you know, does the right thing. And I think I’ve learned from that. I mean, in my profession, everyone loses their job if I don’t show up to work. So I feel an enormous responsibility to stay healthy, and to have the kind of energy to be able to fulfill the tasks that I promise to perform. And yes, I have played a number of Royals. It’s very fascinating. I played a Marie Antoinette. I’m now currently playing Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was queen of England there for a while, and queen of France, actually. And I find it fascinating, the whole royal family. I mean … the Windsors, who are actually German, which must have been very confusing during World War I and II.

Barbara Harrison: And you’ve never played Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII?

Jane Seymour: No, I, no, I, I stole her name when my agent told me I couldn’t be Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg.

Barbara Harrison: I like that name.

Jane Seymour: And Jane Seymour was the least-known wife at that time …

Barbara Harrison: We’re going to come back to you in just a minute. Let’s go to the Jean Setzfand again to find out who we have on the line waiting to ask questions. Jean?

Jean Setzfand: We have quite a few questions coming in from YouTube, and let’s go to Leta from YouTube, who’s asking, “What is the routine of the Queen from Monday to Friday? Does she have a Saturday and Sunday free schedule? How long does she vacation?” I think that’s appropriate for Bryan.

Barbara Harrison: OK, great. Bryan, we’ve got a question. … She’ll ask you right now. Or did you hear the question?

Bryan Kozlawski: I did.

Barbara Harrison: How would you answer that?

Bryan Kozlowski: A lot of what people don’t know is that technically the Queen only gets two days off every year, and yes, that’s just one year. And those days are Easter and Christmas. Every other day — day in, day out — these red boxes get delivered to the palace or wherever she is in the world. And they are bursting with parliamentary paperwork, which takes a good two to three hours to complete every day. So even when the Queen is technically on holiday, let’s say up in Balmoral or at Sandringham, she’s still putting in a lot of hours every day working. And I think people have a hard time realizing when the Queen really rests, but she does. That’s why Balmoral is a crucial time. When she goes up there in the late summer, those few weeks that she’s up there, I believe it’s, don’t quote me on this, but I think it’s six weeks that she’s up there on hibernating, as she likes to call it. She’s still working, but she’s a big introvert. So introverts, of course, love to rest in very low-stimulating, private, solitude-filled environments. And that’s why she values her annual pilgrimage up to Balmoral so highly on. It gives her a chance to, to get that solitude that she craves.

Barbara Harrison: Pictures of her up at Balmoral with her Corgi dogs and walking with her beautiful scarves there. I guess the media are always around wherever she is. Is that right, Bryan?

Bryan Kozlowski: They are, she gets … Balmoral is different. Balmoral is her favorite place to hibernate because, whereas Sandringham, her estate in Norfolk, public roads actually go through Sandringham, so even when she’s taking a walk, she could potentially run into someone. That’s not the case at Balmoral. Public roads actually go around a more than 50,000 acre estate there. So the Queen once spoke about her time at Balmoral, and she, you can almost hear the relief in her voice when she said … you could walk from miles and not see anybody. And, you know, she just said that with glee, because for a real introvert like she is, and someone who doesn’t get that privacy that she craves all the time, that is just paradise for her. But the media … they’re not following really her to Balmoral, and especially, prime ministers will go up there and she still continues to see her ministers, but she’s pretty much left in important solitude up in Balmoral. I think a lot of people respect that.

Barbara Harrison: Let’s go back to Jean Setzfand and see who we’ve got waiting to ask a question.  

Jean Setzfand: Our next call is coming from Donna from Utah. And she has a question for both Jane as well as Bryan.

Barbara Harrison: Donna from Utah — Jane, let’s start with you. Donna has a question for you.

Donna: Hi, Jane. I love your looks. And I’d liked to know how you keep yourself so young from the time that like even 40 years ago you looked the same. I just don’t know how you do it.

Jane Seymour: You know, I think what we’re talking about [is] an attitude and about … having healthy habits. I tend to walk, I like to be in nature, I like to stay healthy, I like to eat sensibly. I don’t do anything in extreme. And my job demands that I stay healthy and well and fit. So, and since I’m still working, it matters to me. I don’t … I haven’t given up basically.

Barbara Harrison: Well, I agree. You certainly do look fantastic. Diane, I saw in an article that Queen Elizabeth II regularly video conferences with her great-grandchildren. What does this say about the Queen? Are these formal chats or as someone wanted to know, does she wear the crown when she’s video chatting with the kids?

Diane Clehane: I think that what’s wonderful about Queen Elizabeth is that she is … the quintessential grandmother to all her grandchildren. They all have very special and different relationships with her. And then she’s got a really sweet relationship as a great-grandmother. And with George and Charlotte and Louis, Kate Middleton has said frequently that she leaves little gifts for them when she comes to visit. And I think what’s really interesting is that she didn’t have a lot of time for her own children when she was made … when she first ascended the throne, she was in her 20s. So she really was committed to almost solely to duty. And I think like a lot of people late in life, it’s almost like a redo. She has the time now. And she has the inclination to spend more time with these children. So she’s got a very sweet and loving relationship with them as any grandparent or great-grandparent. She’s very fortunate that she’s able to see two generations, two younger generations of her family and be close to them. So I think it’s very sweet.

Barbara Harrison: She seems to have plenty of energy every time we see her with the kids around her. She’s involved.

Diane Clehane: Yes. … I think she’s going to be introducing the children as they get slightly older. I don’t think any of them ride yet. I think George is still too little, but Charlotte has a great interest in dancing, and the Queen has always been very interested in the arts. But I think you can see that with her grandchildren that she obviously … Zara Philips inherited the love of riding [from] her mother, Princess Anne, obviously. So she’s very encouraging of all her children, grandchildren, and she’s quite smitten with all her great-grandchildren.

Barbara Harrison: I can imagine. Let’s go back to Jean because we’ve got people waiting to ask questions. Jean, who have you got?

Jean Setzfand: Our next question is coming from Elizabeth from Pennsylvania. And let’s go to Bryan with this one.

Barbara Harrison: Okay, Elizabeth. Bryan?

Bryan Kozlowski: Hello.

Barbara Harrison: Go ahead, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: You don’t hear much about Prince Philip. I would like to know what his role is.

Bryan Kozlowski: Mmm, in the beginning, this was a huge complaint for Prince Philip, because he didn’t have a defined role as the Queen’s consort. One had really not been invented. And so he made that famous line where he says, “I feel like I’m just a bloody amoeba.” And I think without that strong sense of purpose on through those beginning years, it’s strange. He kind of sunk into a depression. He got jaundiced, which is often a condition associated with being stressed out. But as soon as he started on taking on charities and projects that were really important to him, that’s when he kind of blossomed as the Queen’s consort. So his main role is he … we were talking about the Queen’s charities work. He takes on about 700 — recently, I know he’s kind of gone into semi-retirement now — but until fairly recently, he was taking on about 700 charitable organizations that he was a patron of. And this was keeping him absolutely busy around the clock. I mean, he would wake up early, cockcrow in the morning, and the Queen would still be asleep. That’s why they often slept in separate bedrooms. He had to get such an early start during the day. So that’s been largely his role throughout life and it’s kept him very busy.

Barbara Harrison: Well, thank you, Bryan for that. And let’s go back to Jean, because we’ve got a lot of people standing by to ask questions. Jean, who have you got now?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Marilyn from Fredericksburg. And I think this one will go to Diane.

Barbara Harrison: Marilyn, what’s your question for Diana?

Marilyn: I love the pictures of the Queen riding because I’m 73 and still riding — and using it as a retort to my brother, who thinks I’m too old to ride, so thank you very much, Queen Elizabeth. But my question is how many horses does she … I know she has, you see a lot of horses, but how many does she actually ride?

Diane Clehane: Well, she has her favorite. And I think what we’ve seen in recent months, particularly this year when she was forced to leave Buckingham Palace and go to Windsor, so she has … I’ve been told she has one particular horse that she prefers to ride now that is not as sort of vigorous, should you say, as when she was younger. So she has a whole stable; she also has a horse racing sort of stable where she works with, funny enough, the ancestors that live in Highclere Castle. And I think you saw it in The Crown, that her racing manager was Porchi. And they are the family that lives in Highclere Castle. So she’s very active with racing. She still loves Royal Ascot. I think she missed that terribly this year, but she has one special horse that she rides at Windsor, that is a little more subdued than she had in the past.

Barbara Harrison: All right, thank you so much. Let’s go back to Jean Setzfand. Jean, who have you got?

Jean Setzfand: Our next call is from Andy from New York. I’d like to address this to Ms. Jane Seymour.

Barbara Harrison: OK. Jane, here’s Andy.

Andy: Hi, Ms. Seymour. Since you know the Royal family, and you may hear things … I mean, the subject of this talk is “Life Lessons from the Queen.” Does she ever think of setting an example by retiring as some other monarchs do so that their children can inherit them, inherit the thrones while they’re still active and vital? Does she ever, have you ever heard her even think about that, or is that just not going to happen?

Jane Seymour: It’s not. It’s not part of the Constitution from what I gather. You have to wait until the king or the queen has passed, and then you take on. So no, I don’t think I see the Queen questioning that she’s … I think pretty traditional in that respect. And I think it must be very hard for Prince Charles, because he’s been waiting a very long time. And of course, you know, the Queen and the Queen Mother — her mother lived to 100 and something. I mean, she was amazing. Absolutely amazing. So I don’t personally think the Queen … will step down unless she’s really, really ill. But it’d be very unusual.

Barbara Harrison: Oh, thank you for that call. Bryan, we actually have a question for you that was sent in by Ted from Long Island. Let’s listen.

Ted: Hi there. I’m Ted from Long Island, and my question is about the Queen’s equanimity. There is a 50 cent word for you. And it basically means her ability to deal with adversity under fire, and to be able to deal with things no matter how serious — whether it’s COVID; or security issues, nationally; or personal family problems — to deal with them with such a low key level of equanimity. Such a low key sense of calm and control. How does she do that?

Barbara Harrison: You have a quick answer for that, Bryan?

Bryan Kozlowski: Yeah, it’s an excellent question. One of her private secretaries made a very similar observation, and he said that, “The Queen has this uncanny ability to actually calm down when there’s trouble and when there’s problems, rather than get emotionally riled up about something.” And it is pretty remarkable, literally. I feel it stems from two major places in her life. One is that you have to remember the Queen was raised in a very specific and unique, historic period in Britain. Historians sometimes refer to it as the era of the stiff upper lip. This was a time in England when most Britons kind of unanimously agreed that when it came to facing adversity and trouble, it was best to face that very calmly, and very unemotionally. This was very much influenced by ancient stoic philosophy, actually. And you see this, and Winston Churchill’s famous World War II slogan, which was … “Never, never weary, never flinch, never despair.” I’m paraphrasing that, but that line became so beloved of the late Queen Mother and that whole philosophy was so embedded into Elizabeth. And now, as the Queen, she’s really one of the last remaining of the ancient stoics. And the second point, if I may quickly make, is that the Queen is an excellent forecaster. And what she does is routinely sits down with her staff and hashes out the what-ifs of life: What if this happens? What if this happens? What’s the worst case scenario? And as you could probably assume most stress in life, most of our just personal stress in life, comes from perhaps us not dealing with those what-if questions in life. But the Queen tries to avoid that by being very proactive and coming up with detailed protocols and procedures for dealing with all of those eventualities. This became really apparent, I think, hours after Princess Diana died in the late 1990s. While newsrooms around the world were kind of wildly trying to speculate what was going to happen, the Queen wasn’t. The Queen was kind of bunkered down in Balmoral. She knew exactly what was going to happen because there was already a procedure, a protocol in place. It was called Operation Overlord that had been in place for many months at that time. And … that was, what happens if a member of the Royal family dies overseas? And so all of that was figured out in months in advance. The event did happen and that enabled the Queen to [have] those few precious moments she had with her grandsons up in Balmoral, and to cherish them through that trauma. She wouldn’t have had that chance to be so calm during that time, if she had not been such an excellent forecaster.

Barbara Harrison: We credit the British with “keep calm and carry on” … somebody who said that was Winston Churchill, maybe it was the Queen. Thank you, Bryan, we’ll get back to you in a minute. Jean, what’s our next question?

Jean Setzfand: Our next question is coming from Betty in Florida, and this one’s for Jane.

Barbara Harrison: Betty, what’s your question for Jane?

Betty : Hi. Yes. My question was for Jane Seymour. I just wonder if you feel acting … I was watching a show about Dr. Quinn last night, and I just, I think she’s so beautiful. I just wonder if you’re still acting?

Jane Seymour: Yes, I am still acting. In fact, I have a movie coming out next week called War with Grandpa with Robert de Niro and Uma Thurman; it’s a wonderful family film and I’m in that. And then another one called Friendsgiving. And I leave this Saturday for Spain to continue playing Eleanor of Aquitaine in a 22-hour miniseries that’s being shot in all the medieval castles and all the real places in Spain and France, even during the pandemic, which is interesting. I can’t believe I’m going there to do that, but yes, I am very much working. I was also doing The Kominsky Method, and I’ll be coming back to do a bit more of that, too.

Barbara Harrison: You’re still a very busy actress, Jane. And let’s now find out who else is out there waiting to ask questions. Jean, we have questions waiting?

Jean Setzfand: Absolutely. We have Betty from California, and this one’s going to Diane.

Barbara Harrison: OK, Betty, what’s your question?

Betty: Yes, hello Diane. I would like to know if the Queen is going to come to the United States soon.

Diane Clehane: Well, unfortunately, the Queen has put her travel plans on hold largely due to the pandemic, but she doesn’t really do any international travel anymore. And I think that’s why we’ve seen Prince William and Prince Charles, Kate. They have sort of taken the reins and done that. So it’s unlikely, unfortunately, that she’s coming to the States, but she’s always rolled out the welcome mat anytime a U.S. president or anyone else comes to the U.K. So I think that’s probably the best chance of having her connect with anyone here in the States is to have them go there.

Barbara Harrison: Thank you. And still more people out there waiting to ask questions. Jean, what have you got next for us?

Jean Setzfand: We have a great question from Katherine on YouTube. I will throw this to the panel to see if any one of them has an answer to her question, which is, “Did the Queen enjoy any particular comfort foods during the COVID-19 lockdown?”

Barbara Harrison: Anybody know that? Does she enjoy any particular comfort food?

Diane Clehane: Well, I actually know — I do know what she has for breakfast. She has a really interesting routine. I just did a story not too long ago for Best Life online, and it turns out that she’s a great fan of Special K, and she has that every morning and it is on the dining room table and she eats it in a Tupperware container, which I just can’t really imagine the Queen using Tupperware, but that’s what she eats for breakfast every morning. And, she also has — as I’ve been told — fairly simple tastes. She doesn’t like a lot of sauces. She doesn’t like things that are heavy. She enjoys things that are fairly standard, and she doesn’t allow anyone to have garlic. You can’t have garlic if you’re a Royal; you can’t have any kind of … sort of offensive spice kind of thing. And she still enjoys her cocktails. She loves a glass of champagne. She drinks Dubonnet — a Dubonnet cocktail now and again. But she’s a religious cereal eater in the morning, which I find quite charming.

Barbara Harrison: I understand that she enjoyed having a gin and tonic with her mother before she passed away.

Diane Clehane: Gin and tonics were very popular with the Queen Mother, and also Camilla Parker, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, loves them as well. So I think that there’s a lot of spirits at different parties and dinners, but it was once said that the Queen had something like four cocktails a day, which turned out to be a myth, of course. I mean I think that she’s quite aware of her health, but all of these sort of ceremonial things basically allow the Queen to take a sip or two of something, but she does enjoy a cocktail in the evening.

Barbara Harrison: We have more questions out there. Now, Jean, who’s waiting?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Lena from Shreveport, and this one’s going to Jane.

Barbara Harrison: Lena, what’s your question for Jane?

Lena: Hi, my question is for Jane, and may I say, thanks for this opportunity. The Queen is often seen in hats and when is it not appropriate for her to wear a hat?

Jane Seymour: Oh, that’s a very good question. You would have thought I would have thought you weren’t supposed to wear a hat maybe in church, but she wears a hat in church. I didn’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever hardly ever see her without a hat. Of course the head scarves and, no, I actually don’t know. That’d be a good question.

Barbara Harrison: Oh, we know that somebody will be talking to her pretty soon. And so if one of you does, please ask her. Does she ever not wear a hat? I suspect when she’s at home, she’s probably not in a hat.

Diane Clehane: She really … she always wears hats when she’s at any kind of an occasion. And they’re made by … Stewart Parvin does a lot of work with her dresser, Angela Kelly. But I don’t think I can ever remember seeing her without a hat, or as Jane said, a headscarf. That’s sort of part of her uniform. I think it makes her feel very comfortable. And I think what’s also really interesting is that I have been told that her hats and her coats, as you obviously know, are so colorful. I mean, you could pick her out in a crowd and that is, in fact, the reason why she wears them, because she feels that these large crowds come out to see her, and she, of course, can’t get to everyone, but she always makes sure that she’s wearing a bright colored coat and hat so that people at least can see her from a distance.

Barbara Harrison: And also known for that purse always tucked in her elbow there.

Diane Clehane: Oh, always a purse. And I have a really funny story about the purse, too. The reason that the way that she communicates with her staff and tells them that she’s finished talking to someone is she’ll take the purse off one arm and switch it to the next. And that tells one of her aides to get her to sort of move along to the next person, because perhaps she’s been sort of caught up with a very talkative sort. So that’s their sort of secret signal that they use to have her let them know that she’s done speaking with whoever she’s speaking with.

Barbara Harrison: Bryan, I think you had a comment on that?

Bryan Kozlowski: Oh no, just one point. The only time she really doesn’t wear a head covering or a hat, let’s say, actually is the time that makes most people most upset; when she’s riding, went out horseback riding, she’s never really liked to wear any kind of protective head gear. So that’s interesting, ‘cause she’s so, she’s so …

Barbara Harrison: Careful.

Bryan Kozlowski: Sorry, yes, she’s careful and so (inaudible). But it’s the same way with the seat belt. It’s very difficult to actually get the Queen to wear a seat belt for some reason.

Diane Clehane: Prince Philip got in trouble that time last year when he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, either …

Jane Seymour: I think it’s the hairstyle, don’t you think? It’s the hairstyle? They didn’t get squished with a helmet.

Barbara Harrison: Oh, that’s true.

Jane Seymour: And she’s had the same hairstyle forever.

Barbara Harrison: That’s right. She has, and somebody commented, I think in one of the series that there was one time where she changed her hair and Prince Philip didn’t like it. Do you remember that in that scene in The Crown?

Diane Clehane: Oh, that’s right. It was in The Crown. I was thinking there was a scene in The Crown that I remember she had that, (inaudible), had that beautiful sort of long little flip that you see in that picture right there, but then I think they had it in the series where after she became a mother, she wanted to make it sort of no fuss. So it was a little bit shorter and curlier, and he didn’t care for it. And that’s what they put in the show as well. And she just thought, Well, it’s quite sensible. And he said, “No, I don’t like it.” I think that was sort of the shift from being before motherhood, where she had more time — I mean, as if she does her own hair, which is absurd; she doesn’t do her own hair — but she wanted something that was simpler that she could take care of more easily when she became a mom.

Barbara Harrison: Jean, do you have another question for us?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we do. Our next caller is Stephanie from Wisconsin. And let’s start with Bryan on this one.

Barbara Harrision: Stephanie, what’s your question for Bryan?

Stephanie: Yes. I wondered if the Queen has any special hobbies or interests that she pursues. It doesn’t sound like she has a lot of spare time, but when she does, is there anything that she enjoys doing? I was also wondering about her taste in leisure reading.

Bryan Kozlowski: OK, so one of the lesser-known facts about the Queen — I think we see her often as such a hard, dedicated worker, but she is also one of those very rare individuals in the world who have managed to hold on to their childhood sense of play. When the Queen was growing up … peer pressure was kind of absent from her upbringing. So she was never taught — sort of like all of us were maybe in our teenage years — to separate or to view play as something that was something uncool or unproductive. So you see Elizabeth playing throughout her life, and she plays with the same things … as an adult that she played with as a child. She has this unbroken play history really in her life. And that is horses in some way. So when she was young, it was toy horses or pretending to be a horse a lot of the times. And that naturally morphed as she got older into riding horses, visiting stables, getting interested in horse breeding, of course watching horse races and entering horse races. She always takes time every day like Diane mentioned, even during the pandemic, as she wanted to get out there and ride one of her Fell ponies. It’s crucial for her to take time every day to play. And I believe it’s one of the … little known secrets of how she’s kept especially her brain so plastic and so youthful. Play, especially as adults, it taps into a very youthful neotenic, very plastic part of our brain. And if we’re not engaging in that kind of behavior, even as adults, that part of our brain tends to atrophy. So yeah, big, big tip. Try to remember, like the Queen, what did you enjoy doing as a child? It’s very likely the same thing, as the Queen, that you will enjoy that as an adult, whether it’s building or getting outside. Reconnect with that playful side of your personality. It will have humongous, enormous impact.

Barbara Harrison: Sounds like some good advice. Let’s go back to Jean Setzfand. She’s got folks standing by to ask more questions. Jean?

Jean Setzfand: We have another question coming in from YouTube. This one’s coming from Patty and she’s asking, “How do they determine title?” In particular, she’s asking about the difference between a duke and a prince. Maybe Jane, you can help us with that one.

Barbara Harrison: Jane, do you want to answer that question for Patty?

Jane Seymour: Me? Well, I mean to my knowledge, you know, princes and princesses, that’s a direct line in the Royal family. But it is interesting. I think dukes, this is something you become, obviously, if you were married to the Queen, who became the Duke of Edinburgh, and … you tell us, somebody else has that.

Barbara Harrison: Yes, how about Diane. Do you think you can answer that?

Diane Clehane: Yes. I think with, obviously as Jane said, prince,  it’s sort of your blood prince or princess, or in, for instance, Kate’s case, when …  Charles becomes king, and William becomes second in line, he will then become the Prince of Wales. And then Kate would actually get the same title that Princess Diana had. And interestingly enough, Camilla has that title, but it was considered too controversial. So that’s why she assumed the title of Duchess of Cornwall. The other thing about titles is that the Queen can honor people with titles at will. So you see … it was a very big secret and an exciting time when William and Kate were getting married. That very morning, it was announced that she had given them the title of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And then when Harry and Meghan got married, it was the same thing. Prince Harry got an additional title of Duke, and she was the Duchess, or is the Duchess of Sussex. So she bestows those types of titles at will. My understanding is that an Earl title is part of the British aristocracy. For instance, Diana’s father was Charles Earl Spencer. And when he passed away, Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother assumed the title. So I think there are titles that are given, and then there are titles that you are just born into. And that would be the prince and princess, as Jane said.

Barbara Harrison: Well good, some answers there. Jean, I know you’ve got other folks waiting for some answers, too. Let’s hear who you’ve got now.

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Louise from Florida, and let’s go back to Bryan for this one.

Barbara Harrison: Louise, what’s your question?

Louise: Yes. I’d like to know if Queen Elizabeth has a favorite pet that is always by her side and she gives him little treats now and then, and he sleeps with her in her room. Just a very close companion.

Barbara Harrison: You have an answer for that, Bryan?

Bryan Kozlowski: Princess Diana made a really great idea observation once. She said, “You can almost hear and feel when the Queen is coming because she’s constantly surrounded by this moving carpet of Corgis.” So definitely 100 percent Welsh Corgis are her favorite pet. She has many of them, and she’s had many of them throughout life. This is something that started when she was a very little girl when she was given her first one. And not to put the Queen on the couch or anything like that, but a lot of people kind of assume that, you know, Corgis are a very interesting breed. They’re kind of part cat/part dog in a way. They can be very feisty. They can be everything really that the Queen is not. Kind of ill-mannered. They’ll snap at you. So … people assume that the Queen kind of buffers herself with all of these Corgis because they almost function like her alter ego in a way. They do things that she just could never get away with, and she lives a little bit vicariously through her pets. But like I said before in the beginning, she loves animals. She honestly, as a girl, said she wanted to be a farmer’s wife. That was her, and have a lot of animals and have a lot of barnyard animals. That was her dream growing up. And, of course, completely changed when her uncle abdicated.

Barbara Harrison: I will never be able to look at a Corgi again and not think of it as the Queen’s alter ego, Bryan, thank you for that. Jean, let’s go back to you. Who have you got for us now?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Marvi from D.C., and we’ll go to Jane with this one.

Barbara Harrison: Marvi, what’s your question?

Marvi: Well, you really just answered my question because I was wondering who picked out her clothes, because she’s just so elegant and everything matches so wonderfully. That’s something that I feel like we are missing today — the elegance that we always handed down through the years. And she just shows that, you know, such elegance. So you really kind of answered my question. Does the lady who was mentioned — she picks out all her clothes, her outfits?

Barbara Harrison: Would anybody like to answer that? Diane, why don’t you answer that.

Diane Clehane: Sure. The Queen has a dresser who has been with her for a very, very long time. Her name is Angela Kelly, and she’s so close to the Queen that the Queen actually gave her permission to have a book written about their relationship. And it actually outlines how they pick out her clothes, and also shows some beautiful things through the years. Because this woman started … Angela Kelly started out as a member of staff and gradually became more and more important in the Queen’s life. So the Queen has a number of dressers that are supervised by Angela Kelly, but she does have her outfits picked out every day. Angela sometimes designs them, as I said earlier, with Stewart Parvin. Other times she just will help sort of navigate what she will wear of her existing clothes. But she’s very meticulous, and a lot of thought goes into the particular color that she wears for a particular occasion. There’s always a lot of coordination, as I mentioned earlier, but Angela Kelly is really the woman who has been at her side for decades. And she not only dresses her, but the Queen considers her a very trusted adviser.

Barbara Harrison: I think Bryan wants to chime in on that with the Queen’s wardrobe. Bryan.

Bryan Kozlowski: I think even as a princess, Elizabeth was never like a froufrou princess. As her governess said, she … never really cared a fig for clothes. What she is more interested in is the symbolic visuals that her wardrobe can tell people. So she actually sends a lot of different clues of the outfits, within the outfits that she wears. And what she puts on every day sort of functions like an act of service to people. And, it’s incredibly interesting. I think maybe Diane mentioned it, but when she goes and visits a foreign country, her dresser and her will sit down and figure out, what are the patriotic hues of that country? What are the positive colors? And her outfit will definitely reflect that. It is an act of service, what she wears. And that’s why she never wears anything too flamboyant. She doesn’t want to inspire envy in others, but like Diane said, she wants to make sure that she wears something bright, so she’ll stick out in a crowd. She never,  like she says, “I never wear beige,” because she would just blend in and no one would know where, who she is. But another aspect, I think, of her wardrobe — another symbolic aspect — is that she’s always wanted to portray the permanence and the continuity of the monarch through what she’s wearing. That’s why, though her wardrobe has updated itself through the years, it looks relatively the same, even like we were saying her hairdo hasn’t changed. This is all very purposeful. It’s to convey that semblance of this is a stable position, I’m a stable person, I’m a stable Queen. I do not, I do not fall for the latest fashions, and you can always depend on me. I will be there. So all of that is purposeful, and I love the fact that all of these are subtly hidden in what she wears every day.

Barbara Harrison: Let’s find out who else is out there waiting. Jean? Another question?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Betty from Ohio, and let’s start with Jane with this call.

Barbara Harrison: Betty, what’s your question for Jane?

Betty: One of the things I wondered how in the world she keeps her figure as she does. She must be very strict about what she eats, but she has always been so beautiful and gracious.

Barbara Harrison: Jane, do you have any idea how she keeps her figure as it is?

Jane Seymour: The Queen.

Barbara Harrison: Yes.

Jane Seymour: The Queen.

Barbara Harrison: We could probably ask you that question, too.

Jane Seymour: I think we heard, to some degree, that she has opposite tastes of mine. I believe that the Queen was raised with a lot of nursery food, and I think that’s why she likes very kind of bland nursery food. I was, however, raised with very spicy Indonesian food, ‘cause my mother was from Holland and we’re a whole family of foodies. So I love fresh food, and I’m a bit of a farmer myself. I’ve got an organic garden. I love fresh vegetables and fish, and I try to eat healthily, but I don’t overindulge in anything and I don’t believe the Queen does, either. And, you know, from what I gather, she has quite simple tastes. And so would you if you had to go to all those rubber chicken dinners.

Barbara Harrison: Exactly. Bryan, you had a few tidbits in your book about how she keeps herself so thin. She learned as a young child not to eat all the sugar cubes that her father would allow them to have after dinner. Is that right? And you said she’d line them up and just take her time, eating them. Crystal sugar cubes.

Bryan Kozlowski: She has always demonstrated phenomenal willpower, and she’s almost liked to see how far her self-control should, could last. So when she was a little girl, her father had this little ritual after lunch where he would hand Princess Margaret and Elizabeth a little handful of sugar as a little treat. She gave one to Princess Margaret. Margaret — being Princess Margaret — popped the whole thing in her mouth and just started sucking away. You know, no surprise there, but when it came to Elizabeth, she got her sugar and she would carefully arrange each one in order of size. And then only would then she allow herself to eat each one individually and savor each one. And you see this willpower behavior in this Queen to this very day. There is an interesting, I think, secret behind it, but we could get to that if you wanted to later.

Barbara Harrison: Save it for later. I wish I could do that with chocolates. Let’s ask Jean again to take some questions from out there. Who’s out there waiting?

Jean Setzfand: Sure. We have a call from Joanne from Texas. Let’s go to Diane with this one.

Barbara Harrison: OK, Joanne. What’s your question?

Joanne: I lived in England from 1963 to ‘66. And at that time, Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth drove herself to different places, including to some of Prince Philip’s polo matches. I wondered if she still drives.

Diane Clehane: She actually does, which I find quite extraordinary. She loves to drive the Range Rover around. Right now she is not in Buckingham Palace. She doesn’t drive in London, certainly, but she loves to drive in the country. And what’s interesting is that she is the only person in the U.K. that doesn’t need a driver’s license. So she can do what she pleases, but she tends to just stay on the property. But she’s been driving. She recently was seen driving with Prince Andrew, who had come to visit his parents because they were sheltering together during the pandemic. But she likes to get out and drive. And, so far, there hasn’t been any incidents. Prince Philip, last year, had to give up driving because he had that minor accident at Windsor. But as far as we know, she’s still behind the wheel and wears her seat belt. You can, when the pictures that you do see her, when she’s driving, she does wear her seat belt.

Barbara Harrison: Does she have to have a driver’s license in England?

Diane Clehane: No, I’ve been told that she doesn’t; I mean, who’s going to tell the Queen she can’t drive? She can do what she wants.

Barbara Harrison: Of course, she’s the Queen. Well, Jane, Diane and Bryan, before we end, do you have any closing thoughts that you’d like to share with our listeners out there? Jane, let’s start with you, and then we’ll go to Diane and then Bryan.

Jane Seymour: I had the privilege of befriending the man who’s the keeper of the Queen’s privy purse. You might wonder what that means. And she’s very fond of him, and he does spend time with her and is invited up there to Balmoral. So I’ve heard from him, exactly as you were saying, that she loves to be there. She’s very happy and very normal, and she likes normal kind of life. And I was given the privilege of going into Buckingham Palace and seeing, behind the scenes, a little bit of what life is like there. And it’s really a huge building with a lot of formal places, but there’s also where she lives and where the office is and this, that and the other, and I’m in awe of her. I think the Queen is amazing. I think she does wonders for keeping people, all over the world and especially in England, feeling like we can keep calm and carry on. So, I salute her.

Barbara Harrison: I agree with you. Anybody else now. Diane?

Diane Clehane: I think what’s extraordinary about the Queen, particularly at this point in time in our history, is that she represents so much to so many people. People in the U.K., obviously, see her not only as a beacon of sort of hope, an aspirational figure, someone that you can look up to because of the fact that she has endured so many things. When you think about the world leaders that she’s met — Winston Churchill was her first prime minister. When you think of all the prime ministers that the U.K. has had from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson, she has sat with each one of those people every week, or talked to them over the phone in this case during the pandemic, but she represents a permanence in a world that is just obviously in chaos right now. And I think the people look to her. That’s why I thought it was really interesting that she gave that speech during the pandemic and sort of encouraged people to, as Jane said, keep calm and carry on. And then she also had a message for the NHS workers that gave so much of themselves during the virus outbreak as well. So I think it will be cultural shock to the world, but particularly to obviously the people in England, when she’s no longer queen. I think she represents something that is just dashing in this world, which is stability and the idea that someone is duty bound and respects tradition and all of that. I think that’s what she’ll be remembered for. Not only because of her leadership, but because of the fact that she has been such an anchor in people’s lives, not only in people she knows, but everyone in the world looks to her in that way.

Barbara Harrison: (inaudible) for us?

Bryan Kozlowski: Yeah, just real quick. If anyone wants to start acting a little bit more like the Queen, just start embracing her internal optimism. One of her favorite all-time lines is from the medieval mystic poet, Julian of Norwich, which goes, “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” So if you can remember that, you’re really on your way to living a royally blessed life.

Barbara Harrison: “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” That’s a great way for us to end this. This has been so much fun and very informative. I’ve learned and a lot today. Thank you all for being with us. Thanks to each of our guests for answering all of the questions that we’ve posed of you. And thank you to the AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. All of the resources referenced, including a recording of today’s Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/atmpresents on Oct. 2. That’s tomorrow. Again, that web address is aarp.org/atmpresents. We hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s event and learned something from Queen Elizabeth that you can use in your own life. I’m Barbara Harrison. Thank you again for being with us. And this concludes our live event.

Barbara Harrison:  Hello everyone, I’m Barbara Harrison, and on behalf of AARP the Magazine, I want to welcome you to this special live event. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization that has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. And while 60 years is a long time today, we’re here to learn some life lessons from a person who has been in the public eye for even longer than that: Queen Elizabeth II. And while we all hope to age well, stay vibrant and vigorous throughout our lives, she demonstrates that every day at the age of 94, she’s the longest reigning monarch in British history, and still puts in a 40-hour workweek. In this month’s AARP the Magazine, we share how the Queen spends her days with intent and commits to habits that improve the length and quality of her life. Today, we’ll take that story off the pages of the Magazine and have a conversation with all of you. Our guides for this discussion are people with knowledge and personal experience with Queen Elizabeth II.

[00:01:13] Now, if you’ve participated in one of AARP’s live events, you know that you can ask questions live on the phone, or you can add them to the comments section where you’re watching. So if you’re joining us on the phone and would like to ask a question, please press *3 on your telephone to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and your question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. And if you’re watching on YouTube or aarp.org, you can post your questions in the comments section.

[00:02:12] Later on, we’re going to be joined by AARP Senior Vice President Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today. This event is also being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/atmpresents, 24 hours after we wrap up today.

[00:02:30] And now I am very excited to introduce our first special guest. Jane Seymour is a Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actress, who many of us know as the star of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and of course her many memorable roles on the big screen, like the beautiful Bond girl in Live and Let Die, and I just watched her myself the other night on a rerun of the award-winning film East of Eden, and she was terrific. She’s also appearing in two upcoming films, The War with Grandpa and Friendsgiving. And very relevant to our conversation today, she’s also the recipient of an Officer of the British Empire designation from Queen Elizabeth II. Welcome, Jane.

[00:03:15]Jane Seymour:  Hi. Nice to see you.

[00:03:17]Barbara Harrison:  Well it’s so great to have you with us. We’re so happy that you’re joining us today. And as I just shared among your many honors and awards for your continuing outstanding career, you’re a recipient of the Officer of the British Empire designation from the Queen. Can you tell us what that signifies and what that means to you?

[00:03:39]Jane Seymour:  It’s the biggest honor, really, apart from being a Dame, which is with the next honor up. It’s the Order of the Knighthood. I was privileged, as you can see, I was actually given it by Queen Elizabeth II herself, which is not very often. She doesn’t do them all anymore. And it was just an enormous honor. I actually played Wallace Simpson. That’s a picture of me with Anthony Andrews when I played Wallace Simpson, and it occurred to me that having played Wallace … of course, if Wallace had never happened, had never met Edward, Queen Elizabeth would never have been the Queen because Edward would have been the King. And here it is, here is the actual OBE in the box that it comes in.

[00:04:20]Barbara Harrison:  Absolutely beautiful.

[00:04:21]Jane Seymour:  Yes, it’s an incredible honor, and I’m very proud to receive it.

[00:04:26]Barbara Harrison:  Do you get to wear it ever?

[00:04:30]Jane Seymour:  You do not really, but you can wear this little one that you also get, which you can wear more often; but the big one, you can only wear it at white tie and tails events, which, of course, don’t happen very often in Malibu. But Sir Elton John used to put one on every year for charity at his home in England. And we all kind of called the OBE or the Knighthood a Gong. I don’t know why we called it Gong, but everyone’s invited to where their Gong. So we all used to dress up and do that.

[00:04:58]Barbara Harrison:  Yeah. I was wondering about the big one, but the little one is beautiful. To many, especially in America, monarchy can seem quaint and possibly dated. Of course, it’s just one part of the United Kingdom system of government. There’s a parliament and there’s a prime minister, but the Crown after so many centuries, it’s an integral and very important role in England. How does the Queen maintain effective leadership over her seven decades on the throne, and do you think Americans understand the importance of her leadership, Jane?

[00:05:29]Jane Seymour:  You know, it’s very interesting. She has to have very fine lines. She cannot get involved in politics. However, she does meet the prime minister and she does hear about everything that is going on, and she opens Parliament and does all these official things, but she cannot be involved in politics at all. And … she’s also the head of the Church, because when Henry VIII wanted a divorce, he got rid of the Pope and decided to become the Head of the Church of England, which is basically like the Catholic Church, but done in English. So, it’s a very complicated, long story in history, but I think that the royal family and that heritage there, the whole royal customs, all of that is actually quite important to England. Quite apart from the fact that in terms of tourism, I think a lot of people come to England just to see all these things, to see these beautiful palaces which are now open to the public, to see the crown jewels, to see … these special events. But they do not rule the country. No, that hasn’t happened for a long time.

[00:06:37]Barbara Harrison:  We have a lot more questions for you, Jane. We’re going to get back to you in just a little bit. … I want to introduce you to our next guests who are both experts on the royal family. Diane Clehane is a New York Times best-selling author and the Royals editor for Best Life, which is an online magazine; and Bryan Kozlowski is a lifestyle researcher and author of a new book called Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch.

[00:07:27] So Diane, let’s start with you. Maybe you can tell us, how has Queen Elizabeth grown in the last seven decades that she’s been on the throne? What traits from her earliest days have faded and what has she stood firm on?

[00:07:42]Diane Clehane:  I think that Queen Elizabeth has always prided herself on being in touch with the British people’s feelings and thoughts. And all of that was very consistent up until one week in September 1997 — Princess Diana’s death pretty much changed that for a very extraordinary week. And during that time, the Queen was sort of made to confront a lot of changes, seeing how the British people felt very emotional about that event, and more so, just made her realize that she wanted to get closer to the people in order to modernize and be with them. And she gave that very moving address, telling people that as a grandmother, she was protecting William and Harry during that time, and after that, it was a bit of a turning point for her and for the monarchy. It became much more humanized and, and more accessible to people. And I think it shows that even at an advanced age, she was willing to change. That can be a very difficult thing for people later in life. And she is very smart about picking up on how things have to change and be modernized in order to sustain the monarchy. So that was really a brilliant thing that she did.

[00:08:47]Barbara Harrison:  And Diane, you have so many interesting stories to tell. I read one this morning. We’ll talk about that later. We’re going to get back to you in just a little bit, but I want to remind people who might be wanting to join us if they can by phone or over the internet. Let’s go to Bryan now. Bryan, I understand that you wrote the article about the Queen that is appearing in this month’s AARP the Magazine. So we’d love to hear your insights here. I also had a chance to take a look at your book, which we have right here with us right now. It’s coming out in November. … Very, very interesting book. Has some really funny stories in it, but Bryan, from your book, it sounds like the Queen keeps a very active lifestyle and sticks pretty closely to her routines. While we all may not have access to the same resources she has, are there things she does that we might want to adapt?

[00:09:44]Bryan Kozlowski:  Absolutely. And it was actually sort of a big concern I had going into this project of looking at the Queen’s life. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to find or how applicable the Queen’s lifestyle secrets were going to be. Major point, I didn’t want to spend much money trying to act like the Queen or let alone buy a Corgi or anything like that. So to my great surprise and really tremendous relief, what eventually emerged in my research was this portrait of an incredibly unfussy, down to the earth individual who, let’s remember, actually said that she wanted to be a farmer’s wife when she was little and when she grew up, if she wasn’t the queen. So she’s never felt the need to, let’s say, hire an expensive lifestyle coach or a fitness trainer. Instead, she has structured her life, pretty phenomenally around these unique set of mental strategies and philosophies and attitudes. And because it’s mostly up in her mind, it’s something that, of course, costs no money for the rest of us to follow, and to make her, oddly enough, such an applicable role model, no matter really what social economic bracket you’re in today.

[00:11:09]Barbara Harrison:  You’ve got some really fun stories here. We’ll try to get to some of them in just a little bit. So thank you, Bryan, Jane and Diane. It’s now time for us to take your questions out there. I’d like to welcome Jean Setzfand to our discussion to help facilitate your calls. Welcome, Jean.

[00:11:25]Jean Setzfand:  Thanks Barbara. I’m delighted to be here.

[00:11:26]Barbara Harrison:  We’re so glad to have you there, and let’s take a first question now for Jane, Diane or Bryan. Who’ve you got?

[00:11:35]Jean Setzfand:  Our first call is coming from Matt in Maryland, and I believe this call is going to Jane.

[00:11:42]Barbara Harrison:  OK. I didn’t hear the name, but next caller Jane, you ready? Caller, you’re on the air.

[00:11:53]Matt:  Yeah. Hi Jane. I’m Matt from Maryland. I’m a huge fan. You’ve had the chance to play queens and other people in the royal family, and you had a chance to meet them in real life, too. I was just curious. What’s the biggest difference between Hollywood portrayals and real life?

[00:12:09]Jane Seymour:  I must admit watching The Crown, I’m incredibly impressed with how well that’s been done. I think that really is a phenomenal show. And I would agree, the royal family are very down to earth. I mean, I’ve met the Queen on a number of occasions and Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Prince Charles. We used to play polo with him. I’ve met Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, I knew Diana. I’ve never met Camilla, and I have met Harry. I’ve never officially met Prince William, either, but I met a lot of other Royals, some of whom have been friends of ours, who’ve been at our house. And I would say that tradition is very important. Some Royals work harder than others. The Queen works by far the hardest of them all, and Princess Anne is probably the hardest working … of all, and she’s unbelievable. And, you know, they’re quite down to earth. I mean, Prince Charles loves to do watercolors, which I love, and play polo and farm. But the Queen is amazing. You know, when you meet her, it doesn’t disappoint. She’s tiny. And yet she just … she’s so kind of quietly powerful, and she really makes you believe that you’re the first time she’s ever actually talked to somebody. I mean, which is astounding. It’s something to be, to learn from. When you meet a lot of people like I do, I mean, the Queen’s got it down in her little way, too.

[00:13:37]Barbara Harrison:  Great answer. And thank you, Matt, for that question. Now for everyone watching and listening, please stick around because we’ll be taking several more of your questions in just a bit. Before that, I have a few more questions myself for our guests. Jane, one area that you and the Queen have in common — you’re both dedicated to giving back. What drives your philanthropic work, and are there any lessons that you’ve drawn from the Queen?

[00:14:04]Jane Seymour:  I think that the Queen, as you said, is up to date, you know, she’s wanting to be modern. She also respects tradition. She has an enormous amount of energy. You never noticed that she’s ill or sick or can’t show up for something. I mean, she puts on the frock, puts on the hat, the gloves, and has the … you know, does the right thing. And I think I’ve learned from that. I mean, in my profession, everyone loses their job if I don’t show up to work. So I feel an enormous responsibility to stay healthy, and to have the kind of energy to be able to fulfill the tasks that I promise to perform. And yes, I have played a number of Royals. It’s very fascinating. I played a Marie Antoinette. I’m now currently playing Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was queen of England there for a while, and queen of France, actually. And I find it fascinating, the whole royal family. I mean … the Windsors, who are actually German, which must have been very confusing during World War I and II.

[00:15:09]Barbara Harrison:  And you’ve never played Jane Seymour, third wife of King Henry VIII?

[00:15:13]Jane Seymour:  No, I, no, I, I stole her name when my agent told me I couldn’t be Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg.

[00:15:22]Barbara Harrison:  I like that name.

[00:15:25]Jane Seymour:  And Jane Seymour was the least-known wife at that time …

[00:15:28]Barbara Harrison:  We’re going to come back to you in just a minute. Let’s go to the Jean Setzfand again to find out who we have on the line waiting to ask questions. Jean?

[00:15:38]Jean Setzfand:  We have quite a few questions coming in from YouTube, and let’s go to Leta from YouTube, who’s asking, “What is the routine of the Queen from Monday to Friday? Does she have a Saturday and Sunday free schedule? How long does she vacation?” I think that’s appropriate for Bryan.

[00:15:55]Barbara Harrison:  OK, great. Bryan, we’ve got a question. … She’ll ask you right now. Or did you hear the question?

[00:16:02]Bryan Kozlawski:  I did.

[00:16:04]Barbara Harrison:  How would you answer that?

[00:16:06]Bryan Kozlowski:  A lot of what people don’t know is that technically the Queen only gets two days off every year, and yes, that’s just one year. And those days are Easter and Christmas. Every other day — day in, day out — these red boxes get delivered to the palace or wherever she is in the world. And they are bursting with parliamentary paperwork, which takes a good two to three hours to complete every day. So even when the Queen is technically on holiday, let’s say up in Balmoral or at Sandringham, she’s still putting in a lot of hours every day working. And I think people have a hard time realizing when the Queen really rests, but she does. That’s why Balmoral is a crucial time. When she goes up there in the late summer, those few weeks that she’s up there, I believe it’s, don’t quote me on this, but I think it’s six weeks that she’s up there on hibernating, as she likes to call it. She’s still working, but she’s a big introvert. So introverts, of course, love to rest in very low-stimulating, private, solitude-filled environments. And that’s why she values her annual pilgrimage up to Balmoral so highly on. It gives her a chance to, to get that solitude that she craves.

[00:17:37]Barbara Harrison:  Pictures of her up at Balmoral with her Corgi dogs and walking with her beautiful scarves there. I guess the media are always around wherever she is. Is that right, Bryan?

[00:17:49]Bryan Kozlowski:  They are, she gets … Balmoral is different. Balmoral is her favorite place to hibernate because, whereas Sandringham, her estate in Norfolk, public roads actually go through Sandringham, so even when she’s taking a walk, she could potentially run into someone. That’s not the case at Balmoral. Public roads actually go around a more than 50,000 acre estate there. So the Queen once spoke about her time at Balmoral, and she, you can almost hear the relief in her voice when she said … you could walk from miles and not see anybody. And, you know, she just said that with glee, because for a real introvert like she is, and someone who doesn’t get that privacy that she craves all the time, that is just paradise for her. But the media … they’re not following really her to Balmoral, and especially, prime ministers will go up there and she still continues to see her ministers, but she’s pretty much left in important solitude up in Balmoral. I think a lot of people respect that.

[00:19:08]Barbara Harrison:  Let’s go back to Jean Setzfand and see who we’ve got waiting to ask a question.

[00:19:13]Jean Setzfand:  Our next call is coming from Donna from Utah. And she has a question for both Jane as well as Bryan.

[00:19:20]Barbara Harrison:  Donna from Utah — Jane, let’s start with you. Donna has a question for you.

[00:19:26]Donna:  Hi, Jane. I love your looks. And I’d liked to know how you keep yourself so young from the time that like even 40 years ago you looked the same. I just don’t know how you do it.

[00:19:43]Jane Seymour:  You know, I think what we’re talking about [is] an attitude and about … having healthy habits. I tend to walk, I like to be in nature, I like to stay healthy, I like to eat sensibly. I don’t do anything in extreme. And my job demands that I stay healthy and well and fit. So, and since I’m still working, it matters to me. I don’t … I haven’t given up basically.

[00:20:15]Barbara Harrison:  Well, I agree. You certainly do look fantastic. Diane, I saw in an article that Queen Elizabeth II regularly video conferences with her great-grandchildren. What does this say about the Queen? Are these formal chats or as someone wanted to know, does she wear the crown when she’s video chatting with the kids?

[00:20:35]Diane Clehane:  I think that what’s wonderful about Queen Elizabeth is that she is … the quintessential grandmother to all her grandchildren. They all have very special and different relationships with her. And then she’s got a really sweet relationship as a great-grandmother. And with George and Charlotte and Louis, Kate Middleton has said frequently that she leaves little gifts for them when she comes to visit. And I think what’s really interesting is that she didn’t have a lot of time for her own children when she was made … when she first ascended the throne, she was in her 20s. So she really was committed to almost solely to duty. And I think like a lot of people late in life, it’s almost like a redo. She has the time now. And she has the inclination to spend more time with these children. So she’s got a very sweet and loving relationship with them as any grandparent or great-grandparent. She’s very fortunate that she’s able to see two generations, two younger generations of her family and be close to them. So I think it’s very sweet.

[00:21:30]Barbara Harrison:  She seems to have plenty of energy every time we see her with the kids around her. She’s involved.

[00:21:36]Diane Clehane:  Yes. … I think she’s going to be introducing the children as they get slightly older. I don’t think any of them ride yet. I think George is still too little, but Charlotte has a great interest in dancing, and the Queen has always been very interested in the arts. But I think you can see that with her grandchildren that she obviously … Zara Philips inherited the love of riding [from] her mother, Princess Anne, obviously. So she’s very encouraging of all her children, grandchildren, and she’s quite smitten with all her great-grandchildren.

[00:22:04]Barbara Harrison:  I can imagine. Let’s go back to Jean because we’ve got people waiting to ask questions. Jean, who have you got?

[00:22:11]Jean Setzfand:  Our next question is coming from Elizabeth from Pennsylvania. And let’s go to Bryan with this one.

[00:22:17]Barbara Harrison:  Okay, Elizabeth. Bryan?

[00:22:18]Bryan Kozlowski:  Hello.

[00:22:21]Barbara Harrison:  Go ahead, Elizabeth.

[00:22:25]Elizabeth:  You don’t hear much about Prince Philip. I would like to know what his role is.

[00:22:33]Bryan Kozlowski:  Mmm, in the beginning, this was a huge complaint for Prince Philip, because he didn’t have a defined role as the Queen’s consort. One had really not been invented. And so he made that famous line where he says, “I feel like I’m just a bloody amoeba.” And I think without that strong sense of purpose on through those beginning years, it’s strange. He kind of sunk into a depression. He got jaundiced, which is often a condition associated with being stressed out. But as soon as he started on taking on charities and projects that were really important to him, that’s when he kind of blossomed as the Queen’s consort. So his main role is he … we were talking about the Queen’s charities work. He takes on about 700 — recently, I know he’s kind of gone into semi-retirement now — but until fairly recently, he was taking on about 700 charitable organizations that he was a patron of. And this was keeping him absolutely busy around the clock. I mean, he would wake up early, cockcrow in the morning, and the Queen would still be asleep. That’s why they often slept in separate bedrooms. He had to get such an early start during the day. So that’s been largely his role throughout life and it’s kept him very busy.

[00:24:02]Barbara Harrison:  Well, thank you, Bryan for that. And let’s go back to Jean, because we’ve got a lot of people standing by to ask questions. Jean, who have you got now?

[00:24:10]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Marilyn from Fredericksburg. And I think this one will go to Diane.

[00:24:16]Barbara Harrison:  Marilyn, what’s your question for Diana?

[00:24:19]Marilyn:  I love the pictures of the Queen riding because I’m 73 and still riding — and using it as a retort to my brother, who thinks I’m too old to ride, so thank you very much, Queen Elizabeth. But my question is how many horses does she … I know she has, you see a lot of horses, but how many does she actually ride?

[00:24:42]Diane Clehane:  Well, she has her favorite. And I think what we’ve seen in recent months, particularly this year when she was forced to leave Buckingham Palace and go to Windsor, so she has … I’ve been told she has one particular horse that she prefers to ride now that is not as sort of vigorous, should you say, as when she was younger. So she has a whole stable; she also has a horse racing sort of stable where she works with, funny enough, the ancestors that live in Highclere Castle. And I think you saw it in The Crown, that her racing manager was Porchi. And they are the family that lives in Highclere Castle. So she’s very active with racing. She still loves Royal Ascot. I think she missed that terribly this year, but she has one special horse that she rides at Windsor, that is a little more subdued than she had in the past.

[00:25:38]Barbara Harrison:  All right, thank you so much. Let’s go back to Jean Setzfand. Jean, who have you got?

[00:25:49]Jean Setzfand:  Our next call is from Andy from New York. I’d like to address this to Ms. Jane Seymour.

[00:25:55]Barbara Harrison:  OK. Jane, here’s Andy.

[00:25:56]Andy:  Hi, Ms. Seymour. Since you know the Royal family, and you may hear things … I mean, the subject of this talk is “Life Lessons from the Queen.” Does she ever think of setting an example by retiring as some other monarchs do so that their children can inherit them, inherit the thrones while they’re still active and vital? Does she ever, have you ever heard her even think about that, or is that just not going to happen?

[00:26:26]Jane Seymour:  It’s not. It’s not part of the Constitution from what I gather. You have to wait until the king or the queen has passed, and then you take on. So no, I don’t think I see the Queen questioning that she’s … I think pretty traditional in that respect. And I think it must be very hard for Prince Charles, because he’s been waiting a very long time. And of course, you know, the Queen and the Queen Mother — her mother lived to 100 and something. I mean, she was amazing. Absolutely amazing. So I don’t personally think the Queen … will step down unless she’s really, really ill. But it’d be very unusual.

[00:27:09]Barbara Harrison:  Oh, thank you for that call. Bryan, we actually have a question for you that was sent in by Ted from Long Island. Let’s listen.

[00:27:17]Ted:  Hi there. I’m Ted from Long Island, and my question is about the Queen’s equanimity. There is a 50 cent word for you. And it basically means her ability to deal with adversity under fire, and to be able to deal with things no matter how serious — whether it’s COVID; or security issues, nationally; or personal family problems — to deal with them with such a low key level of equanimity. Such a low key sense of calm and control. How does she do that?

[00:27:57]Barbara Harrison:  You have a quick answer for that, Bryan?

[00:28:00]Bryan Kozlowski:  Yeah, it’s an excellent question. One of her private secretaries made a very similar observation, and he said that, “The Queen has this uncanny ability to actually calm down when there’s trouble and when there’s problems, rather than get emotionally riled up about something.” And it is pretty remarkable, literally. I feel it stems from two major places in her life. One is that you have to remember the Queen was raised in a very specific and unique, historic period in Britain. Historians sometimes refer to it as the era of the stiff upper lip. This was a time in England when most Britons kind of unanimously agreed that when it came to facing adversity and trouble, it was best to face that very calmly, and very unemotionally. This was very much influenced by ancient stoic philosophy, actually. And you see this, and Winston Churchill’s famous World War II slogan, which was … “Never, never weary, never flinch, never despair.” I’m paraphrasing that, but that line became so beloved of the late Queen Mother and that whole philosophy was so embedded into Elizabeth. And now, as the Queen, she’s really one of the last remaining of the ancient stoics. And the second point, if I may quickly make, is that the Queen is an excellent forecaster. And what she does is routinely sits down with her staff and hashes out the what-ifs of life: What if this happens? What if this happens? What’s the worst case scenario? And as you could probably assume most stress in life, most of our just personal stress in life, comes from perhaps us not dealing with those what-if questions in life. But the Queen tries to avoid that by being very proactive and coming up with detailed protocols and procedures for dealing with all of those eventualities. This became really apparent, I think, hours after Princess Diana died in the late 1990s. While newsrooms around the world were kind of wildly trying to speculate what was going to happen, the Queen wasn’t. The Queen was kind of bunkered down in Balmoral. She knew exactly what was going to happen because there was already a procedure, a protocol in place. It was called Operation Overlord that had been in place for many months at that time. And … that was, what happens if a member of the Royal family dies overseas? And so all of that was figured out in months in advance. The event did happen and that enabled the Queen to [have] those few precious moments she had with her grandsons up in Balmoral, and to cherish them through that trauma. She wouldn’t have had that chance to be so calm during that time, if she had not been such an excellent forecaster.

[00:31:19]Barbara Harrison:  We credit the British with “keep calm and carry on” … somebody who said that was Winston Churchill, maybe it was the Queen. Thank you, Bryan, we’ll get back to you in a minute. Jean, what’s our next question?

[00:31:46]Jean Setzfand:  Our next question is coming from Betty in Florida, and this one’s for Jane.

[00:31:51]Barbara Harrison:  Betty, what’s your question for Jane?

[00:32:00]Betty:  Hi. Yes. My question was for Jane Seymour. I just wonder if you feel acting … I was watching a show about Dr. Quinn last night, and I just, I think she’s so beautiful. I just wonder if you’re still acting?

[00:32:17]Jane Seymour:  Yes, I am still acting. In fact, I have a movie coming out next week called War with Grandpa with Robert de Niro and Uma Thurman; it’s a wonderful family film and I’m in that. And then another one called Friendsgiving. And I leave this Saturday for Spain to continue playing Eleanor of Aquitaine in a 22-hour miniseries that’s being shot in all the medieval castles and all the real places in Spain and France, even during the pandemic, which is interesting. I can’t believe I’m going there to do that, but yes, I am very much working. I was also doing The Kominsky Method, and I’ll be coming back to do a bit more of that, too.

[00:32:57]Barbara Harrison:  You’re still a very busy actress, Jane. And let’s now find out who else is out there waiting to ask questions. Jean, we have questions waiting?

[00:33:07]Jean Setzfand:  Absolutely. We have Betty from California, and this one’s going to Diane.

[00:33:12]Barbara Harrison:  OK, Betty, what’s your question?

[00:33:14]Betty:  Yes, hello Diane. I would like to know if the Queen is going to come to the United States soon.

[00:33:21]Diane Clehane:  Well, unfortunately, the Queen has put her travel plans on hold largely due to the pandemic, but she doesn’t really do any international travel anymore. And I think that’s why we’ve seen Prince William and Prince Charles, Kate. They have sort of taken the reins and done that. So it’s unlikely, unfortunately, that she’s coming to the States, but she’s always rolled out the welcome mat anytime a U.S. president or anyone else comes to the U.K. So I think that’s probably the best chance of having her connect with anyone here in the States is to have them go there.

[00:33:54]Barbara Harrison:  Thank you. And still more people out there waiting to ask questions. Jean, what have you got next for us?

[00:34:01]Jean Setzfand:  We have a great question from Katherine on YouTube. I will throw this to the panel to see if any one of them has an answer to her question, which is, “Did the Queen enjoy any particular comfort foods during the COVID-19 lockdown?”

[00:34:18]Barbara Harrison:  Anybody know that? Does she enjoy any particular comfort food?

[00:34:21]Diane Clehane:  Well, I actually know — I do know what she has for breakfast. She has a really interesting routine. I just did a story not too long ago for Best Life online, and it turns out that she’s a great fan of Special K, and she has that every morning and it is on the dining room table and she eats it in a Tupperware container, which I just can’t really imagine the Queen using Tupperware, but that’s what she eats for breakfast every morning. And, she also has — as I’ve been told — fairly simple tastes. She doesn’t like a lot of sauces. She doesn’t like things that are heavy. She enjoys things that are fairly standard, and she doesn’t allow anyone to have garlic. You can’t have garlic if you’re a Royal; you can’t have any kind of … sort of offensive spice kind of thing. And she still enjoys her cocktails. She loves a glass of champagne. She drinks Dubonnet — a Dubonnet cocktail now and again. But she’s a religious cereal eater in the morning, which I find quite charming.

[00:35:18]Barbara Harrison:  I understand that she enjoyed having a gin and tonic with her mother before she passed away.

[00:35:24]Diane Clehane:  Gin and tonics were very popular with the Queen Mother, and also Camilla Parker, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, loves them as well. So I think that there’s a lot of spirits at different parties and dinners, but it was once said that the Queen had something like four cocktails a day, which turned out to be a myth, of course. I mean I think that she’s quite aware of her health, but all of these sort of ceremonial things basically allow the Queen to take a sip or two of something, but she does enjoy a cocktail in the evening.

[00:35:54]Barbara Harrison:  We have more questions out there. Now, Jean, who’s waiting?

[00:35:59]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Lena from Shreveport, and this one’s going to Jane.

[00:36:04]Barbara Harrison:  Lena, what’s your question for Jane?

[00:36:07]Lena:  Hi, my question is for Jane, and may I say, thanks for this opportunity. The Queen is often seen in hats and when is it not appropriate for her to wear a hat?

[00:36:22]Jane Seymour:  Oh, that’s a very good question. You would have thought I would have thought you weren’t supposed to wear a hat maybe in church, but she wears a hat in church. I didn’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever hardly ever see her without a hat. Of course the head scarves and, no, I actually don’t know. That’d be a good question.

[00:36:45]Barbara Harrison:  Oh, we know that somebody will be talking to her pretty soon. And so if one of you does, please ask her. Does she ever not wear a hat? I suspect when she’s at home, she’s probably not in a hat.

[00:36:58]Diane Clehane:  She really … she always wears hats when she’s at any kind of an occasion. And they’re made by … Stewart Parvin does a lot of work with her dresser, Angela Kelly. But I don’t think I can ever remember seeing her without a hat, or as Jane said, a headscarf. That’s sort of part of her uniform. I think it makes her feel very comfortable. And I think what’s also really interesting is that I have been told that her hats and her coats, as you obviously know, are so colorful. I mean, you could pick her out in a crowd and that is, in fact, the reason why she wears them, because she feels that these large crowds come out to see her, and she, of course, can’t get to everyone, but she always makes sure that she’s wearing a bright colored coat and hat so that people at least can see her from a distance.

[00:37:39]Barbara Harrison:  And also known for that purse always tucked in her elbow there.

[00:37:42]Diane Clehane:  Oh, always a purse. And I have a really funny story about the purse, too. The reason that the way that she communicates with her staff and tells them that she’s finished talking to someone is she’ll take the purse off one arm and switch it to the next. And that tells one of her aides to get her to sort of move along to the next person, because perhaps she’s been sort of caught up with a very talkative sort. So that’s their sort of secret signal that they use to have her let them know that she’s done speaking with whoever she’s speaking with.

[00:38:12]Barbara Harrison:  Bryan, I think you had a comment on that?

[00:38:13]Bryan Kozlowski:  Oh no, just one point. The only time she really doesn’t wear a head covering or a hat, let’s say, actually is the time that makes most people most upset; when she’s riding, went out horseback riding, she’s never really liked to wear any kind of protective head gear. So that’s interesting, ‘cause she’s so, she’s so …

[00:38:38]Barbara Harrison:  Careful.

[00:38:39]Bryan Kozlowski:  Sorry, yes, she’s careful and so [inaudible]. But it’s the same way with the seat belt. It’s very difficult to actually get the Queen to wear a seat belt for some reason.

[00:38:52]Diane Clehane:  Prince Philip got in trouble that time last year when he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, either …

[00:38:58]Jane Seymour:  I think it’s the hairstyle, don’t you think? It’s the hairstyle? They didn’t get squished with a helmet.

[00:39:03]Barbara Harrison:  Oh, that’s true.

[00:39:04]Jane Seymour:  And she’s had the same hairstyle forever.

[00:39:08]Barbara Harrison:  That’s right. She has, and somebody commented, I think in one of the series that there was one time where she changed her hair and Prince Philip didn’t like it. Do you remember that in that scene in The Crown?

[00:39:20]Diane Clehane:  Oh, that’s right. It was in The Crown. I was thinking there was a scene in The Crown that I remember she had that, [inaudible], had that beautiful sort of long little flip that you see in that picture right there, but then I think they had it in the series where after she became a mother, she wanted to make it sort of no fuss. So it was a little bit shorter and curlier, and he didn’t care for it. And that’s what they put in the show as well. And she just thought, Well, it’s quite sensible. And he said, “No, I don’t like it.” I think that was sort of the shift from being before motherhood, where she had more time — I mean, as if she does her own hair, which is absurd; she doesn’t do her own hair — but she wanted something that was simpler that she could take care of more easily when she became a mom.

[00:40:10]Barbara Harrison:  Jean, do you have another question for us?

[00:40:13]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we do. Our next caller is Stephanie from Wisconsin. And let’s start with Bryan on this one.

[00:40:20]Barbara Harrision:  Stephanie, what’s your question for Bryan?

[00:40:23]Stephanie:  Yes. I wondered if the Queen has any special hobbies or interests that she pursues. It doesn’t sound like she has a lot of spare time, but when she does, is there anything that she enjoys doing? I was also wondering about her taste in leisure reading.

[00:40:42]Bryan Kozlowski:  OK, so one of the lesser-known facts about the Queen — I think we see her often as such a hard, dedicated worker, but she is also one of those very rare individuals in the world who have managed to hold on to their childhood sense of play. When the Queen was growing up … peer pressure was kind of absent from her upbringing. So she was never taught — sort of like all of us were maybe in our teenage years — to separate or to view play as something that was something uncool or unproductive. So you see Elizabeth playing throughout her life, and she plays with the same things … as an adult that she played with as a child. She has this unbroken play history really in her life. And that is horses in some way. So when she was young, it was toy horses or pretending to be a horse a lot of the times. And that naturally morphed as she got older into riding horses, visiting stables, getting interested in horse breeding, of course watching horse races and entering horse races. She always takes time every day like Diane mentioned, even during the pandemic, as she wanted to get out there and ride one of her Fell ponies. It’s crucial for her to take time every day to play. And I believe it’s one of the … little known secrets of how she’s kept especially her brain so plastic and so youthful. Play, especially as adults, it taps into a very youthful neotenic, very plastic part of our brain. And if we’re not engaging in that kind of behavior, even as adults, that part of our brain tends to atrophy. So yeah, big, big tip. Try to remember, like the Queen, what did you enjoy doing as a child? It’s very likely the same thing, as the Queen, that you will enjoy that as an adult, whether it’s building or getting outside. Reconnect with that playful side of your personality. It will have humongous, enormous impact.

[00:43:05]Barbara Harrison:  Sounds like some good advice. Let’s go back to Jean Setzfand. She’s got folks standing by to ask more questions. Jean?

[00:43:13]Jean Setzfand:  We have another question coming in from YouTube. This one’s coming from Patty and she’s asking, “How do they determine title?” In particular, she’s asking about the difference between a duke and a prince. Maybe Jane, you can help us with that one.

[00:43:26]Barbara Harrison:  Jane, do you want to answer that question for Patty?

[00:43:29]Jane Seymour:  Me? Well, I mean to my knowledge, you know, princes and princesses, that’s a direct line in the Royal family. But it is interesting. I think dukes, this is something you become, obviously, if you were married to the Queen, who became the Duke of Edinburgh, and … you tell us, somebody else has that.

[00:43:55]Barbara Harrison:  Yes, how about Diane. Do you think you can answer that?

[00:43:58]Diane Clehane:  Yes. I think with, obviously as Jane said, prince, it’s sort of your blood prince or princess, or in, for instance, Kate’s case, when … Charles becomes king, and William becomes second in line, he will then become the Prince of Wales. And then Kate would actually get the same title that Princess Diana had. And interestingly enough, Camilla has that title, but it was considered too controversial. So that’s why she assumed the title of Duchess of Cornwall. The other thing about titles is that the Queen can honor people with titles at will. So you see … it was a very big secret and an exciting time when William and Kate were getting married. That very morning, it was announced that she had given them the title of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And then when Harry and Meghan got married, it was the same thing. Prince Harry got an additional title of Duke, and she was the Duchess, or is the Duchess of Sussex. So she bestows those types of titles at will. My understanding is that an Earl title is part of the British aristocracy. For instance, Diana’s father was Charles Earl Spencer. And when he passed away, Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother assumed the title. So I think there are titles that are given, and then there are titles that you are just born into. And that would be the prince and princess, as Jane said.

[00:45:23]Barbara Harrison:  Well good, some answers there. Jean, I know you’ve got other folks waiting for some answers, too. Let’s hear who you’ve got now.

[00:45:31]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Louise from Florida, and let’s go back to Bryan for this one.

[00:45:36]Barbara Harrison:  Louise, what’s your question?

[00:45:37]Louise:  Yes. I’d like to know if Queen Elizabeth has a favorite pet that is always by her side and she gives him little treats now and then, and he sleeps with her in her room. Just a very close companion.

[00:45:58]Barbara Harrison:  You have an answer for that, Bryan?

[00:46:02]Bryan Kozlowski:  Princess Diana made a really great idea observation once. She said, “You can almost hear and feel when the Queen is coming because she’s constantly surrounded by this moving carpet of Corgis.” So definitely 100 percent Welsh Corgis are her favorite pet. She has many of them, and she’s had many of them throughout life. This is something that started when she was a very little girl when she was given her first one. And not to put the Queen on the couch or anything like that, but a lot of people kind of assume that, you know, Corgis are a very interesting breed. They’re kind of part cat/part dog in a way. They can be very feisty. They can be everything really that the Queen is not. Kind of ill-mannered. They’ll snap at you. So … people assume that the Queen kind of buffers herself with all of these Corgis because they almost function like her alter ego in a way. They do things that she just could never get away with, and she lives a little bit vicariously through her pets. But like I said before in the beginning, she loves animals. She honestly, as a girl, said she wanted to be a farmer’s wife. That was her, and have a lot of animals and have a lot of barnyard animals. That was her dream growing up. And, of course, completely changed when her uncle abdicated.

[00:47:29]Barbara Harrison:  I will never be able to look at a Corgi again and not think of it as the Queen’s alter ego, Bryan, thank you for that. Jean, let’s go back to you. Who have you got for us now?

[00:47:40]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Marvi from D.C., and we’ll go to Jane with this one.

[00:47:45]Barbara Harrison:  Marvi, what’s your question?

[00:47:48]Marvi:  Well, you really just answered my question because I was wondering who picked out her clothes, because she’s just so elegant and everything matches so wonderfully. That’s something that I feel like we are missing today — the elegance that we always handed down through the years. And she just shows that, you know, such elegance. So you really kind of answered my question. Does the lady who was mentioned — she picks out all her clothes, her outfits?

[00:48:12]Barbara Harrison:  Would anybody like to answer that? Diane, why don’t you answer that.

[00:48:16]Diane Clehane:  Sure. The Queen has a dresser who has been with her for a very, very long time. Her name is Angela Kelly, and she’s so close to the Queen that the Queen actually gave her permission to have a book written about their relationship. And it actually outlines how they pick out her clothes, and also shows some beautiful things through the years. Because this woman started … Angela Kelly started out as a member of staff and gradually became more and more important in the Queen’s life. So the Queen has a number of dressers that are supervised by Angela Kelly, but she does have her outfits picked out every day. Angela sometimes designs them, as I said earlier, with Stewart Parvin. Other times she just will help sort of navigate what she will wear of her existing clothes. But she’s very meticulous, and a lot of thought goes into the particular color that she wears for a particular occasion. There’s always a lot of coordination, as I mentioned earlier, but Angela Kelly is really the woman who has been at her side for decades. And she not only dresses her, but the Queen considers her a very trusted adviser.

[00:49:22]Barbara Harrison:  I think Bryan wants to chime in on that with the Queen’s wardrobe. Bryan.

[00:49:30]Bryan Kozlowski:  I think even as a princess, Elizabeth was never like a froufrou princess. As her governess said, she … never really cared a fig for clothes. What she is more interested in is the symbolic visuals that her wardrobe can tell people. So she actually sends a lot of different clues of the outfits, within the outfits that she wears. And what she puts on every day sort of functions like an act of service to people. And, it’s incredibly interesting. I think maybe Diane mentioned it, but when she goes and visits a foreign country, her dresser and her will sit down and figure out, what are the patriotic hues of that country? What are the positive colors? And her outfit will definitely reflect that. It is an act of service, what she wears. And that’s why she never wears anything too flamboyant. She doesn’t want to inspire envy in others, but like Diane said, she wants to make sure that she wears something bright, so she’ll stick out in a crowd. She never, like she says, “I never wear beige,” because she would just blend in and no one would know where, who she is. But another aspect, I think, of her wardrobe — another symbolic aspect — is that she’s always wanted to portray the permanence and the continuity of the monarch through what she’s wearing. That’s why, though her wardrobe has updated itself through the years, it looks relatively the same, even like we were saying her hairdo hasn’t changed. This is all very purposeful. It’s to convey that semblance of this is a stable position, I’m a stable person, I’m a stable Queen. I do not, I do not fall for the latest fashions, and you can always depend on me. I will be there. So all of that is purposeful, and I love the fact that all of these are subtly hidden in what she wears every day.

[00:51:28]Barbara Harrison:  Let’s find out who else is out there waiting. Jean? Another question?

[00:51:34]Jean Setzfand:  Our next caller is Betty from Ohio, and let’s start with Jane with this call.

[00:51:39]Barbara Harrison:  Betty, what’s your question for Jane?

[00:51:42]Betty:  One of the things I wondered how in the world she keeps her figure as she does. She must be very strict about what she eats, but she has always been so beautiful and gracious.

[00:51:56]Barbara Harrison:  Jane, do you have any idea how she keeps her figure as it is?

[00:52:00]Jane Seymour:  The Queen.

[00:52:01]Barbara Harrison:  Yes.

[00:52:01]Jane Seymour:  The Queen.

[00:52:02]Barbara Harrison:  We could probably ask you that question, too.

[00:52:04]Jane Seymour:  I think we heard, to some degree, that she has opposite tastes of mine. I believe that the Queen was raised with a lot of nursery food, and I think that’s why she likes very kind of bland nursery food. I was, however, raised with very spicy Indonesian food, ‘cause my mother was from Holland and we’re a whole family of foodies. So I love fresh food, and I’m a bit of a farmer myself. I’ve got an organic garden. I love fresh vegetables and fish, and I try to eat healthily, but I don’t overindulge in anything and I don’t believe the Queen does, either. And, you know, from what I gather, she has quite simple tastes. And so would you if you had to go to all those rubber chicken dinners.

[00:52:49]Barbara Harrison:  Exactly. Bryan, you had a few tidbits in your book about how she keeps herself so thin. She learned as a young child not to eat all the sugar cubes that her father would allow them to have after dinner. Is that right? And you said she’d line them up and just take her time, eating them. Crystal sugar cubes.

[00:53:09]Bryan Kozlowski:  She has always demonstrated phenomenal willpower, and she’s almost liked to see how far her self-control should, could last. So when she was a little girl, her father had this little ritual after lunch where he would hand Princess Margaret and Elizabeth a little handful of sugar as a little treat. She gave one to Princess Margaret. Margaret — being Princess Margaret — popped the whole thing in her mouth and just started sucking away. You know, no surprise there, but when it came to Elizabeth, she got her sugar and she would carefully arrange each one in order of size. And then only would then she allow herself to eat each one individually and savor each one. And you see this willpower behavior in this Queen to this very day. There is an interesting, I think, secret behind it, but we could get to that if you wanted to later.

[00:54:05]Barbara Harrison:  Save it for later. I wish I could do that with chocolates. Let’s ask Jean again to take some questions from out there. Who’s out there waiting?

[00:54:14]Jean Setzfand:  Sure. We have a call from Joanne from Texas. Let’s go to Diane with this one.

[00:54:19]Barbara Harrison:  OK, Joanne. What’s your question?

[00:54:22]Joanne:  I lived in England from 1963 to ‘66. And at that time, Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth drove herself to different places, including to some of Prince Philip’s polo matches. I wondered if she still drives.

[00:54:41]Diane Clehane:  She actually does, which I find quite extraordinary. She loves to drive the Range Rover around. Right now she is not in Buckingham Palace. She doesn’t drive in London, certainly, but she loves to drive in the country. And what’s interesting is that she is the only person in the U.K. that doesn’t need a driver’s license. So she can do what she pleases, but she tends to just stay on the property. But she’s been driving. She recently was seen driving with Prince Andrew, who had come to visit his parents because they were sheltering together during the pandemic. But she likes to get out and drive. And, so far, there hasn’t been any incidents. Prince Philip, last year, had to give up driving because he had that minor accident at Windsor. But as far as we know, she’s still behind the wheel and wears her seat belt. You can, when the pictures that you do see her, when she’s driving, she does wear her seat belt.

[00:55:37]Barbara Harrison:  Does she have to have a driver’s license in England?

[00:55:40]Diane Clehane:  No, I’ve been told that she doesn’t; I mean, who’s going to tell the Queen she can’t drive? She can do what she wants.

[00:55:45]Barbara Harrison:  Of course, she’s the Queen. Well, Jane, Diane and Bryan, before we end, do you have any closing thoughts that you’d like to share with our listeners out there? Jane, let’s start with you, and then we’ll go to Diane and then Bryan.

[00:55:59]Jane Seymour:  I had the privilege of befriending the man who’s the keeper of the Queen’s privy purse. You might wonder what that means. And she’s very fond of him, and he does spend time with her and is invited up there to Balmoral. So I’ve heard from him, exactly as you were saying, that she loves to be there. She’s very happy and very normal, and she likes normal kind of life. And I was given the privilege of going into Buckingham Palace and seeing, behind the scenes, a little bit of what life is like there. And it’s really a huge building with a lot of formal places, but there’s also where she lives and where the office is and this, that and the other, and I’m in awe of her. I think the Queen is amazing. I think she does wonders for keeping people, all over the world and especially in England, feeling like we can keep calm and carry on. So, I salute her.

[00:56:57]Barbara Harrison:  I agree with you. Anybody else now. Diane?

[00:57:00]Diane Clehane:  I think what’s extraordinary about the Queen, particularly at this point in time in our history, is that she represents so much to so many people. People in the U.K., obviously, see her not only as a beacon of sort of hope, an aspirational figure, someone that you can look up to because of the fact that she has endured so many things. When you think about the world leaders that she’s met — Winston Churchill was her first prime minister. When you think of all the prime ministers that the U.K. has had from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson, she has sat with each one of those people every week, or talked to them over the phone in this case during the pandemic, but she represents a permanence in a world that is just obviously in chaos right now. And I think the people look to her. That’s why I thought it was really interesting that she gave that speech during the pandemic and sort of encouraged people to, as Jane said, keep calm and carry on. And then she also had a message for the NHS workers that gave so much of themselves during the virus outbreak as well. So I think it will be cultural shock to the world, but particularly to obviously the people in England, when she’s no longer queen. I think she represents something that is just dashing in this world, which is stability and the idea that someone is duty bound and respects tradition and all of that. I think that’s what she’ll be remembered for. Not only because of her leadership, but because of the fact that she has been such an anchor in people’s lives, not only in people she knows, but everyone in the world looks to her in that way.

[00:58:35]Barbara Harrison:  [inaudible] for us?

[00:58:40]Bryan Kozlowski:  Yeah, just real quick. If anyone wants to start acting a little bit more like the Queen, just start embracing her internal optimism. One of her favorite all-time lines is from the medieval mystic poet, Julian of Norwich, which goes, “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” So if you can remember that, you’re really on your way to living a royally blessed life.

[00:59:03]Barbara Harrison:  “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” That’s a great way for us to end this. This has been so much fun and very informative. I’ve learned and a lot today. Thank you all for being with us. Thanks to each of our guests for answering all of the questions that we’ve posed of you. And thank you to the AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. All of the resources referenced, including a recording of today’s Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/atmpresents on Oct. 2. That’s tomorrow. Again, that web address is aarp.org/atmpresents. We hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s event and learned something from Queen Elizabeth that you can use in your own life. I’m Barbara Harrison. Thank you again for being with us. And this concludes our live event.

[00:59:58]

Special Live Event: Life Lessons From the Queen

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, 7 p.m. ET

AARP hosted a live, interactive discussion about 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. Our panel of experts shared their insights about the queen and the British royal family.

The experts:

  • Jane Seymour, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress
  • Bryan Kozlowski, author of Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest-Reigning Monarch
  • Diane Clehane, a New York Times best-selling author and royal editor for Best Life

Topics discussed during the show:

  • The queen’s 10 rules for remaining vital
  • Lessons of resilience and grit from her seven decades of rule
  • Daily habits and routines that keep the queen going strong in her 90s

Watch Previous Interactive Q&A Events

An illustration for the A A R P live interactive Q and A event starring the Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott

Improve Your Home

Home renovation advice for every budget from HGTV's Property Brothers

phil donahue and marlo thomas in their home

Strong Bond

Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas share their expertise on strengthening relationships over time

image of three home lifestyle personalities from left to right matt paxton carla hall and ty pennington

Home Lifestyle Tips

Matt Paxton, Carla Hall and Ty Pennington answer your questions


Today's Hot Topics

    View More