For 44 years, he was the man who, with his height approaching 1 meter and 95 centimeters, never left the Queen’s side for a moment. He was proudly placed in front of her coffin this week. The Queen always told his the most nasty jokes.
Even on a day of historical significance, it was one of the most striking images to emerge from Wednesday’s extraordinary parade from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. Tall and erect, like the ceremonial guards around him, stood out for the flawless figure of the Queen’s most loyal, devoted, and longest-serving aide.
Even in the last moments of her life, by the side of the Queen, the balding and multi-medaled Paul Whybrew was a picture of iron determination. He clasped his hands, looking neither to the right nor to the left, focusing only ahead as he walked step by step in front of the chariot carrying her Queen’s coffin.
He was one of three male staff members invited to join Her Majesty’s funeral procession – but his placement in the middle of the crowd underlined not only his seniority but also his unique position in the Queen’s life.
To put it bluntly, the Queen could manage without needing anyone but the man she addressed as “Paul the Tall.” His decades of uninterrupted service were proof of that.
EVERYONE LEFT, HE STATED
With his height approaching 1 meter and 95 centimeters, of course, it was difficult not to notice him. But it was not, of course, that made him so indispensable. On the contrary, through all the internal crises, the storms in the family, and the petty quarrels between the staff and the courtiers, he was never drawn into the mess and escaped “unscathed,” so to speak.
Indeed, he was said to have only friends and no enemies in the Royal Family, where he had served since the age of 19.
It was Paul who was going to pass the phone to the Queen for those sad calls from Prince Harry from California. Again, it was Paul who thoughtfully reminded her of the times of her favorite television shows. And when she quit, it was Paul, of course, who replaced her usual drink with apple juice.
The bank manager’s son had been with the Queen for 44 years, and the same was true for Paul when Queen Elizabeth II was recorded as the longest reigning monarch.
A year ago, he became the Queen’s longest-serving member at Buckingham Palace, awarded silver and gold medals and rewarded for long and faithful service.
In addition, Long Paul has a comfortably furnished living area, which he personally pays for the renovations. When the calendar leaves 2006 and the Queen turns 80, she had decided to spend more time at Windsor Castle and asked him to move as well.
He gave up his modest flat above the old stables in Kensington Palace for a house near Albert Lodge in Windsor Great Park.
“The Queen told him to decorate it to his own taste and send her the bill. She wanted to make Paul comfortable,” says a friend. This act was a pivotal moment in his service to the Crown. It was the only time in years he stopped to think about his dedication. Inevitably, it remained.
Paul, who will be 64 years old next year, devoted his entire working life to the monarch. Unlike many other servants who roamed the houses, Paul remained immutable with the Queen.
And, of course, Paul was featured accompanying the Queen and James Bond star Daniel Craig as part of the magical parody that opened the London Olympics.
He was also key in one of the most notorious cases in 1982, when an intruder broke into the Palace unnoticed and broke into the sleeping Queen’s bedroom.
When the alarm was set, it was Whybrew who cold-blooded the trespasser into the butler’s pantry, poured him a glass of whiskey, and detained him until the police arrived.