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”.
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