SHAWVILLE, QUE. –
Shawville, Que. sketch artist Leah Beardsley-Chamberlain received one of the most meaningful letters of her life recently, and it almost ended up in the trash with the junk mail.
She had been sent a letter from Queen Elizabeth II at the end of August after gifting a hand drawn portrait of the Queen back in April.
“I was inspired by her Platinum Jubilee as well as her 96th birthday,” said Beardsley-Chamberlain. “She was the same age as my grandmother, and I just decided that I would send her a gift.”
The portrait was a pencil drawing of the Queen that Beardsley-Chamberlain sketched on her porch. She said it took almost nine hours.
She said she was surprised to receive the letter back as she thought the Queen normally does not accept gifts.
The timing of the letter was even more significant to Beardsley-Chamberlain.
“It was dated (August) 23rd but I got it the 31st,” she says, “which is exactly, I think, one week before her passing.”
“He just said thank you so much for this gift. She was touched by it.”
Upset by the Queen’s passing, Beardsley-Chamberlain also took notice of the letterhead. She had mailed the portrait to Buckingham Palace, but the return letter bore the heading of Balmoral Castle, where the Queen’s final days were spent.
“It was very special that she took the time to see it, look at it, and respond in the way she did.”
Having previously sketched Prince Phillip, Beardsley-Chamberlain’s latest pencil portrait was also inspired by her grandmother’s chance run-in with the Queen at the Aberdeen Pavilion in 1997.
“I just remember her mentioning the time she met with the Queen,” she recalls. “It was in Ottawa. She just met her in passing, shaking hands.”
“She remembered what she wore and it was special to her.”