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‘When Christopher speaks, you know that that’s how Her Majesty thinks,’ commented former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell.
A member of the Queen’s staff claimed Geidt had the measure of the Monarch – an instinctive understanding, along with a personal modesty that matched her own.
He took pleasure, Charles’s private secretary Elizabeth Buchanan claimed, chiefly in public recognition of Her Majesty’s ‘extraordinary’ work.
The Queen appreciated his clear-sightedness, ‘almost a sort of surgical capacity of cutting through the mist of details and going to what is the essence of a problem’ in one assessment.
And his reputation for carefully formulated answers to problems expressed in a ‘very short, concise format’, suited the Queen’s own businesslike approach, while his renowned persistence was necessary in strengthening links between Buckingham Palace and Prince Charles’s office at Clarence House.
Like that of the Queen and her son, the relationship between the two Royal offices was not always cosy. Indeed, Charles’s friend, the Duchess of Devonshire, once commented: ‘The trouble lies in the fact that the Queen and Prince Philip and P of W [Prince of Wales] all find it very difficult to talk to each other.’
But encouraged by Geidt, a closer collaboration and task-sharing between Monarch and heir, aimed at smoothing the transition from one reign to the next, was put in place. Government papers were delivered to Charles in green boxes in place of Her Majesty’s red ones.
To the majority of her subjects, the Queen’s scaling-down was imperceptible, exactly as she and Geidt intended.
In 2011, although Philip would not actually retire for another six years, a restructuring of Royal roles had already begun gathering pace, led by the Queen’s then private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt (pictured)
It was the Queen herself who in the year of Philip’s 90th birthday was forced to have an uncomfortable meeting with her favourite son, Andrew. (Above, in June 2019)
Her cousin Margaret Rhodes referred to her ‘gradually and almost unnoticeably delegating more’, while showing ‘no signs of wilting in the job’.