What was it like to be Queen Mum?

We have a very special Royal Roundup for you this week: a glimpse at the Queen Mother’s moving and cheerful thoughts about her life at the heart of the British Establishment. Extracts from ‘Counting One’s Blessings’ – private letters and journals from all 10 decades of her life – were published this week to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

British royals (from left foreground) Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and King George VI after his coronation in 1937.

Via The Daily Telegraph.

The letters reveal her dilemma over whether to marry the Duke of York, who later became king. In January 1923, following a three-year courtship by the Duke, the then Elizabeth Bowes Lyon wrote to one of her closest friends of feeling “terrified” at the prospect of marrying into the Royal family, having finally accepted the Duke’s proposal.

They also reveal her subsequent blissful enjoyment of marriage and motherhood, including many letters in which she writes affectionately of her young daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.

In a letter to Anne Beevers, her midwife and maternity nurse, written in October 1926 when Princess Elizabeth was six months old, she described her firstborn daughter as “sharp as a needle”.

Another letter to her mother, Lady Strathmore, written the same month, said: “She is going to be very wicked, and she is very quick I think …”

In 1936, following her sudden elevation to Queen Consort after Edward VIII abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson, Queen Elizabeth wrote to her brother-in-law that she and her husband were “overcome with misery” at being unexpectedly thrust on to the throne.

The letters also convey her heartbreak at the untimely death of her husband in February 1952, following a battle with lung cancer. In a letter to her mother-in-law, Queen Mary, she wrote of her devastation at losing “Bertie”, who she described as “my whole life”.

Read More Here.

Is there a ROYAL MOLE??!?

Scandal! Three days after James Bond’s 50th Anniversary, it seems someone in Buckingham Palace could be taking a leaf from the book of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, one of Bond’s arch-nemeses. Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry allegedly have been warned that someone close to them may be leaking information to the media.

Surely the solution here is staring the Windsors in the face: feed false news stories to different members of the palace corps, and see what turns up in the tabloids! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might be getting a royal cat; Prince Harry’s been eschewing polo for darts; maybe the Queen has an actual role in the next Bond film! We’re just spitballing, but if one thing’s for sure: the royal family could probably use 007’s help tracking down the dodgy double agent at this difficult time.

Here’s the full story, via Gather.com:

Kate Middleton has a serious pest problem. A mole is suspected to be running amuck inside the palace walls and Prince William and Kate are its prime target. Will and Kate are the unwitting victims of an inside operation.

“It’s been years since the Palace had to deal with a situation like this,” says a source. “But there 
are suspicions because some things have come out regarding Kate, Wills and Harry that very few people knew about.”

Now Kate is being warned to watch her back and not talk to or confide in anybody. Hopefully the mole is ferreted out, and Kate Middleton and Prince William can get on with their lives without fear of intimate details being passed along to the press.

Queen Liz is a Lovely Lady!

The Queen has generously invited Team GB Olympic and Paralympic athletes to a star-studded event at Buckingham Palace in late October. Tracksuits are reportedly allowed at the reception, held to say thanks for a golden summer that surpassed all of our expections.

To celebrate this (and in the hopes of one day getting our own Royal invitation!) we thought we’d share with you a few lovely pins of Her Maj, from our Pinterest account. You can follow all of our boards here.

Peek a boo! A game of hide-and-go-seek will not be on the itinerary.


QEII in 2007. And she hasn’t aged a bit!


Annie Leibovitz portrait. Bet you thought it was only rock gods and Hollywood A-listers who get their photos taken by her!


And how could we forget her acting debut alongside James Bond at the Olympics opening ceremony? God save the Queen!

Kate Middleton is a Glamorous Guest at a Friend’s Wedding

In her first appearance since returning from a tour of Asia with Prince William, The Duchess of Cambridge was on her best behaviour this weekend… trying not to upstage another bride at a wedding!

Kate Middleton was all smiles on Saturday as she attended the wedding of her family friend Thierry Kelaart at the glamorous St Bartholomew’s Church in Oxfordshire, England. The Duchess of Cambridge was there with her sister Pippa and mother and father. Michael Middleton even walked the bride down the aisle, whose own father sadly passed away in 1992.

Prince William was an absentee due to his duties with the RAF (Royal Air Force). He is currently based in North Wales, where he serves as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot. Kate looked happy with her family though, and guests thoroughly enjoyed the hour-long ceremony and low-key reception, at the bride’s nearby family home.

Media outlets picked up on the fact Kate was wearing the same long-sleeved Erdem dress that she first wore at festivities to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June. But if anything, it should make a nice change for the Duchess of Cambridge to be recognised for wearing any sort of clothes!

The Queen’s Official Handwasher

We thought we knew it all when it came to our dear HRH. But what keeps us fascinated in the royal family, is the complexity of customs that come from their thousand-plus year history. Especially after we learned this week that the Queen’s official handwasher has kicked the bucket.

Official handwasher?! In his capacity of Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands, a certain Peter Houison Craufurd, had to offer his services – and have “a silver ewer, bowl and salver holding a linen towel on permanent standby” – whenever her maj visited Hollyroodhouse. Over to The Daily Telegraph for all the details. After weeks of public Royal laundry washing, we certainly welcome this good, clean regal titbit.

The Queen loses her hand washer

Peter Houison Craufurd, the Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands, dies at the age of 82.

Tim Walker. Edited by Richard Eden

7:30AM BST 22 Sep 2012


It is one of the more unusual roles occupied by the Queen’s courtiers, but Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands is a post that must now be filled.

Mandrake learns that the holder of the title, Peter Houison Craufurd, died on Monday, at the age of 82. He always had a silver ewer, bowl and salver holding a linen towel on permanent standby.

“We used to have to write to Buckingham Palace to offer to wash the monarch’s hands every time they were in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse,” said Houison Craufurd.

“In his day, my father had to make that offer virtually every year, although it was very seldom accepted.

“More recently, we have been told by the Queen’s office that, as we have already washed her hands once, that is all she requires us to do. So now we have to wait until Prince Charles takes the throne before we do it again.”

Read more here.

Prince Harry Sex Tape?

Could we see the below hitting the shelves soon? Rumors are rife that the photos of the young prince in the buff may soon be followed by grainy cell phone footage. As ever, our thoughts go out to dear old Queeny!

This is, of course, only a mock-up. While rumors are doing the rounds online, the existence of a sex tape featuring the prince is in no way confirmed.

Prince Harry Nude in Las Vegas: Tea & Sympathy’s Nicky on NBC Channel 4 News

So, guess what’s been top of the agenda here in Little Britain the last few days. Our ever-continuing search for the finest British fare has been put on hold as attention turns to…. Prince Harry’s bum! Yes, thanks to TMZ, we now know what a royal ass looks like. And we’re not talking about Prince Phillip. NBC Channel 4 were quick stopped by to get Nicky’s appraisal of events for the 5 ‘o’ clock news and we think she summed it up perfectly: we’re all having a good giggle about it, but we’re pretty sure Her Majesty ain’t!

This is, of course, a mock-up. If you find the actual footage, please send it our way!

We came across a couple of interesting depictions of the event, in which Harry played billiards naked in a Vegas hotel room. First up, is the front page of The Sun. The British media are very cautious when it comes to offending the royals, and none of the papers have given air to the images. But that didn’t stop Britain’s widest read tabloid from getting a poor old journalist to strip down and pose for these reconstruction shots.

Next up, a bizarre painting of P Hazza playing “pancake billiards”. Top marks for response time, but can anyone explain the pancake? While we’re all for the culinary reference, we don’t quite understand it? And as we go to print, this stunner has only made it up to $21 on eBay so splash out and this beauty could be pride of place on your bedroom wall…

And if you’re after the pictures themselves, well you’re looking in the wrong place. Don’t get us wrong, definitely take a look, and have a good chuckle like we did, over on TMZ.

Prince Harry and Ryan Lochte partying in a Las Vegas swimming pool. We wonder if his highness challenged the Olympian to a race to impress the ladies? Hope not!

And Hazza, next time you’ve got your kegs down, why not give us a glimpse of the crown jewels as well!

Prince Phillip: A Life in Photos

There’s bittersweet news today as Prince Phillip was discharged from hospital. It follows a number of recent check-ins for the husband of The Queen that leave all at Tea & Sympathy concerned for his general well-being. However, our thoughts are with him, and we’d like to celebrate the good innings he’s had to date with these superb photos taken throughout his life. Chin up Phil, show us that stiff upper lip!

Newlyweds. Prince Phillip & The Queen on their wedding day, 20 November 1947.

Family man. With a young Prince Charles & Princes Anne and The Queen.

All hail The Queen… and her husband! Coronation day, 2 June 1953.

Proud father. On the way to the wedding of Prince Charles & Princess Diana.

Heads up! Inspecting an RAF flyover aboard HMS Britannia.

A sad day. Inspecting flowers following the death of Princess Diana.

Sharing a joke with Pippa Middleton at Prince William & Kate’s wedding.

It’s Prince Phillip to you Mr President. With the Obamas, 2009.

With the family!

Ageing gracefully. Attending a state banquet last year at Dublin Castle.

Kate Middleton Dress Code Colour Chart

We’ve posted one of these for the dear old Queen before. Someone had the bright idea of putting one together for Kate, which we’re very pleased about. But which color do you think she suits the best? We’re quite keen on the red, but classic black might just pip it; especially the lace number!