'A unique insight into the isolated childhood of the future queen and her sister' YOU MAGAZINE, THE DAILY MAIL
The touching and ground-breaking stories of the Queen and Princess Margaret's childhoods told by their nanny, Marion Crawford. With a foreword by former BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond, Marion reveals the royal family's life before The Crown.
Now, more than ever, the Royal Family's private lives are the stuff of soap opera and it seems anyone who comes into contact with them sells their story to the magazines or to the newspapers.
Marion Crawford, 'Crawfie', as she was known to the Queen and Princess Margaret, became governess to the children of the Duke and Duchess of York in the early 1930s, little suspecting she was nurturing her future Queen. Beginning at the quiet family home in Piccadilly and ending with the birth of Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 1948, Crawfie tells how she brought the princesses up to be 'Royal' whilst also exposing them to the ordinary world of underground trains, buses and swimming lessons.
THE LITTLE PRINCESSES was published in 1950 to a furore we cannot imagine today. Crawfie was demonised by the press, and the Queen Mother - who had been a great friend and who had, Crawfie maintained, given her permission to write the account - never spoke to her again.
In today's world of celebrity scandals and royal rumor, it's hard to believe that when this memoir was originally published in 1953 it caused such a stir. For 17 years, Crawford--"Crawfie"--was nanny to then-Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and taken on its own, her account is innocuous in the extreme. But Crawford was shunned by the royal family after the book's publication, as BBC Royal correspondent Bond explains in the foreword:"She was cast adrift as if she had committed treason and neither the Queen nor the two Princesses ever spoke to her again." To the contemporary jaded eye, it's far more interesting to read the book in this context rather than for its own merits. What might seem mundane becomes poignant in light of Crawford's eventual fate, such as when she fusses over her charges, describing 13-year-old Elizabeth ("Lilibet") as"an enchanting child with the loveliest hair and skin and a long, slim figure." Crawford's story is particularly sad given her degree of personal sacrifice--she delayed her marriage for years so as not to, as she saw it, abandon the king and queen. But it is possible to find repressed traces of bitterness on Crawford's part if one is so inclined, such as when she tells the queen that she would finally like to marry, and relates the queen's response:"'You must see, Crawfie, that it would not be at all convenient just now.'" There certainly aren't a lot of juicy tidbits, at least not by modern standards, but the book is interesting as an historical document, if for nothing else than to remind us how innocent scandal used to be. B&w photos not seen by PW.