Queen Mother's private letters published
The Queen Mother was a giant figure in the Royal Family's history in a century's worth of change and upheaval around both her and the world.
We now have a glimpse inside her life and those around her with the publication this week of her private letters, from childhood through her death in 2002 at age 101.
Official royal biographer William Shawcross has edited and compiled the massive collection into a book, "Counting One's Blessings, The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother."
They reveal a queen that was, according to Shawcross, "teeming with vitality, ebullience and optimism." They also show a woman clearly devoted to her family, offering encouragement at every turn.
Here's a few examples on various subjects, as noted in the Telegraph:
During her and King George VI's 1939 tour of Canada, she wrote to her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret back home in Engalnd about a train stop in a remote region: "There are usually a large bunch of children who have probably come over a hundred miles by canoe down the lakes, as there are no roads up here.”
She went on to describe the crowd: “There are thousands & thousands of people waiting at the various stops. They are so happy to have 'the King’ with them, & sometimes I have tears in my eyes when one sees the emotion in their faces.”
To her daughter Elizabeth in 1944 shortly after the Allied invasion of Europe:
“My Darling Lilibet... This is just a note about one or two things in case I get 'done in’ by the Germans! I think that I have left all my own things to be divided by you & Margaret, but I am sure you will give her anything suitable later on... Let’s hope this won’t be needed, but I know that you will always do the right thing, & remember to keep your temper & your word & be loving – sweet – Mummy.”
To her mother-in-law Queen Mary, the day after King George VI's death, Feb. 6, 1952:
“My Darling Mama,...What can I say to you – I know that you loved Bertie dearly, and he was my whole life, and one can be deeply thankful for the utterly happy years we had together. He was so wonderfully thoughtful and loving, & I don’t believe he ever thought of himself at all...
Your very loving
To her daughter Elizabeth in February 1993, following the "annus horribilis" year where Prince Charles divored Princess Diana and Windsor Castle was struck by fire:
“My Darling Lilibet... How can I ever thank you enough for my heavenly weeks at Sandringham... I do hope that you feel rested and relaxed after all the ghastly happenings of last (& this) year. I do think that you have been marvellous, & so does everybody...
Very much love from your grateful and hopping lame
“My Darling Charles...Everyone loves you, & is proud of you, and I absolutely know that you will be able to do wonderful things for this country, not only in leadership, but by being your own kind hearted, loving and intelligent & funny self!
Lots of love darling Charles from your very devoted Granny”
To her daughter Margaret as she was deep in controversy over her engagement with a divorced man, Peter Townsend. At the time, the British Parliament would not approve the marriage:
“My Darling Margaret, I sometimes wonder whether you realise quite how much I hate having to point out the more difficult and occasionally horrid problems which arise when discussing your future... I suppose that every mother wants her child to be happy, and I know what a miserable & worrying time you are having, torn by so many difficult constitutional & moral problems. I think about it and you all the time, and because I have to talk over the horrid things does not mean that I don’t suffer with you, or that one’s love is any less...
Your very loving Mummy”