Young Queen Elizabeth's childhood Christmas drawings up for auction
Young Queen Elizabeth’s drawings feature in charming Christmas cards sent to her governess
- Princess Elizabeth created the festive cards throughout the 1930s aged six
- Read More: ‘Crawfie’ exiled by the royals for daring to write a book about them
A charming collection of hand-drawn Christmas cards by a young Queen Elizabeth II have emerged for sale for £12,000.
Princess Elizabeth created the festive correspondence throughout the 1930s from the age of about six onwards.
She gave them to her and Princess Margaret’s Scottish-born childhood tutor Marion Crawford, who they affectionately called ‘Crawfie’.
One card has a drawing by Elisabeth of a Christmas tree on the front, a horseshoe inside and the inscription ‘For Crawfie, from Lilibet’.
It is one of several cards with horse artwork, demonstrating her early love for the animals.
A charming collection of hand-drawn Christmas cards by a young Queen Elizabeth II have emerged for sale for £12,000
The card were given to Princess Elizabeth (pictured middle) and Princess Margaret ‘s (pictured right) childhood tutor Marion Crawford, who they affectionately called ‘Crawfie’ (pictured left)
Another card depicts an idyllic snow-kissed rural village, and another shows a young woman holding a Christmas pudding.
Elizabeth drew some of the cards and neatly coloured in others.
The collection of cards and photos, split into 17 lots, were left by Crawford to her solicitor in Aberdeen, following her death.
They are going under the hammer four decades on at London-based auctioneers Spink & Son.
A Spink and Son spokesperson said: ‘The cards show the close, trusting and intimate relationship between the Princesses and their governess, calling her by her nickname ‘Crawfie’.
‘Very few original items written by them to her have been available on the collectors market until these cards appeared.’
This is one of several cards with horse artwork, demonstrating her early love for the animals
The collection included a card with a picture of Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and King George VI
The princess created the festive correspondence throughout the 1930s from the age of about six onwards
Princess Elizabeth signed the wholesome Christmas card with her nickname Lilibet
Crawford served in the Royal household from 1932 to 1947. But she reportedly fell out of favour with the Royals after releasing the book ‘The Little Princesses’, which told the story of her time with the Royals, in 1950.
Neither the Queen nor any other member of the Royal Family are said to have spoken to her again. She died in 1988 aged 78 in Aberdeen.
When she died a lonely widow neither the Queen, the Queen Mother nor Princess Margaret sent a wreath to her funeral.
Yet for 17 years Crawfie occupied a unique position in the lives of the three women.
It was this unsophisticated Scottish lassie who guided the young Princesses through the trauma of the abdication of their uncle, their father’s accession to the throne and the terrors of World War II when she took refuge with them in the Windsor Castle dungeons as Luftwaffe bombers roared overhead.
A card from Princess Margaret showed a charming scene of two young children feeding the birds
Another card from Princess Margaret said ‘from your very grateful pupil Margaret
Another Christmas card showed a snowy river scene from Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret
Another card depicts an idyllic snow-kissed rural village, and another shows a young woman holding a Christmas pudding
A card with a photograph of Princess Elizabeth, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and Princess Margaret
Another sweet card showed a woman holding a pie which was given to ‘Crawfie from Lilibet and Margaret
This card depicts an idyllic snow-kissed rural village and is signed by Lilibet
A sweet Christmas card from Princess Margaret to her tutor Marion Crawford
She was there when Elizabeth met Philip at Dartmouth Naval College and was among the very first visitors when the Princess gave birth to Prince Charles who, at four days old, she described as ‘healthy and strong, and beautifully made, with a flawless, silky skin’.
Yet at the end of her service, the royals cut her off. She committed the unpardonable sin of writing a memoir — one, it must be said, of such syrupy affection and gentleness that it borders on the sycophantic.
But Crawfie was never forgiven for her book and, for generations, ‘doing a Crawfie’ became royal shorthand for an indiscretion or peddling tittle-tattle.
After her death in 1988 it was reported that she had bequeathed to the Queen her collection of mementos from those years of royal duty — she had always refused to sell them.
A card with a photograph of Princess Elizabeth recording a wartime message
The newly unearthed treasure trove offers a fascinating glimpse into a unique world of the royal servant (Pictured: Princess Elizabeth, centre, walking her dog in Hyde Park, accompanied by Crawfie, left, in 1936)
This treasure trove was said to contain photographs of the Princesses in the royal nursery, birthday and Christmas cards from both girls, as well as letters from the then Queen.
But we can reveal she did not part with everything. In her will she left the contents of her detached home to the family of her lawyer, George Smith, whose wife and three children visited her regularly after she moved into a nursing home.
Among the fragments of her life found by the Smiths was a box containing a number of hand-made Christmas cards lovingly inscribed from Elizabeth and Margaret to the tutor they adored, along with some more formal greetings cards.
Now this remarkable correspondence, which says so much about the intimacy which bound the stepdaughter of a sanitary engineer with her royal charges, is to be sold by London auctioneers Spink. The sale takes place on Thursday 26 October.
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