From humble beginnings as a shopkeeper's son in Coventry to 'Page of the Backstairs' at Clarence House, William Tallon, or 'Backstairs Billy' as he came to be kwn, always knew he was destined for a life in the royal circle. As as a small boy Billy was fascinated by this glamorous world of pageantry and excess. Charming, loyal, promiscuous and in possession of a truly wicked sense of humour, Billy entered royal service at the age of fifteen and, over the next fifty years, became one of the most torious figures, and most remarkable characters, ever to have graced the royal household. Although a servant, over time Billy became one of the late Queen Mother's most trusted friends and confidants. While others came and went, Billy was the one servant the Queen Mother just could t do without. She adored him, and he her, perhaps because of his high camp style or his witty and provocative remarks about the well-born equerries, royal press people and advisers. Sometimes scandalous, often shocking, always entertaining, Backstairs Billy is the fascinating life story of the man who spent more than half a century working for one of the world's most elusive institutions, giving us a rare glimpse of what life in the British royal family is really like.
Tom Quinn is the author of London's Strangest Tales, Cocoa at Midnight: The Real Life Story of My Time as a Housekeeper, The Cook's Tale: Life Below Stairs as it Really Was and most recently More London's Strangest Tales