First of all, a bit more context would help on question 1. Without the rest of the sentence it's hard to be sure what the writer's intention was.
For question 2, "She presided" places this in the past, so from her point of view "now" is our past. At the time she might say "the children are grey with age", but from the reader's point of view, some time later, this is all in the past, so the children "were" grey with age - at that time.
Question 3 suffers from same problem as question 1. Without the surrounding text, it's hard to say what the writer's intention was.