Tommy Lascelles is the most competent and efficient and old-fashioned secretary that Elizabeth has ever had—a stabilizing force against a world that is rapidly changing. He holds fast to what seems most important and long-lasting, namely the traditional roles within the palace grounds and the monarchy, in his desire to ensure that it lasts. In many separate instances, Elizabeth wants to move toward the future decisively through modernization, such as when she suggests changing the order of her assistants—but Tommy argues that she cannot break a chain formed by decades, and that she must obey precedent. This assistant has been with the palace longer and he should receive the position, regardless of her personal warm feelings toward a different secretary. He also outlines the facts about why she should make the decisions he advices. In one such instance, he tells her calmly that her uncle was willing to sell out his entire family to the Nazis and live in comfort, with the assumption that after all of them were dead, the Nazis would reinstate him to the throne. He points out the facts of his knowledge and doesn’t taint them with his feelings. He has a dry emotional affect and prefers to talk about protocols, procedures, and rational decision making. It baffles him why anyone would choose their feelings over the most adequate and logical course of action, and he has no problem whatsoever thwarting people from making foolish mistakes, even if it upsets them (putting roadblocks in Margaret’s way to marrying Peter). He is knowledgeable and effective enough, the current administration is still consulting him for practical advice many years after his retirement. Tommy shows no interest in ‘new fangled ideas’ and does not want to change the way anything is done.

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Tommy is very firm and gut-oriented in his decisions. He is tough and no-nonsense, but also highly principled and concerned with doing things right. He talks the queen out of promoting the wrong person to replace him as her advisor, because it would be violating protocol. When she is questioning whether to forgive her uncle and allow him to return to English politics, Tommy gives her a list of reasons why he advises against it, based on the man’s amoral attitudes during the war (his willingness to sell out his family and live in comfort, while the rest of them suffered). Tommy sees this as an unforgivable crime and under his influence, Elizabeth declines her uncle’s request to rejoin the family. He almost never becomes ruffled or shows his emotions, instead choosing to calmly state his perspective and assuming that people will go along with it because it’s the most rational conclusion.

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