Over the years, Her Majesty the Queen never ceased to amaze us with her compassionate side that, although rarely shown in public, continues to be related by those who had a direct experience of that empathy.
The latest of stories on the sovereign’s humane side comes from Dr David Nott, who, for two decades, risked his life to rescue those wounded in areas of conflicts and wars. The surgeon recalls a healing chat with the Queen over a lunch at Buckingham Palace back in 2014, 10 days after he returned from Syria’s war-torn city of Aleppo, where he volunteered to operate children victimised in the atrocities.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the war zone doctor described how the Queen was quick to detect his struggle to express himself in front of her.
“If you consider where I had just come back from, the hospital was being blown up, everything around me was being shelled and I’d been coping with children who were really badly damaged.
“She must have detected something significant because I didn’t know what to say to her. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to speak to her I just couldn’t. So she picked all this up.
“She said: ‘Well, shall I help you? I thought: How on earth can the Queen help me?’”
Looking to ease his psychological discomfort, the monarch instantly called for her corgis to be brought, broke a piece of biscuits into two and asked him if he wanted to help her feed them beneath the table- a gesture that the vascular surgeon realised was meant to alleviate his post-traumatic stress.
‘’For 20 minutes the Queen and I, during this lunch, just fed the dogs. She did it because she knew I was seriously traumatised.
‘’The humanity of what she was doing was unbelievable.’’
Dr Nott acknowledged that the experience massively helped him overcome his trauma, adding that he will never forget how warm and wonderful the Queen was.
The Manchester University graduate has worked Medecins Sans Frontieres and the International Committee of the Red Cross for over twenty years, covering conflict zones that included Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.