How young Elizabeth's life changed forever after her uncle Edward VIII's shock abdication | The Sun

AS his brother and sister-in-law welcomed their second child, Margaret, into the world, the 36-year-old playboy Prince of Wales appeared no closer to marriage.

And neither the Duke nor Duchess of York had forgotten a conversation with the King the previous year, in which Bertie had been told by his father: “You’ll see, your brother will never become King.”

From the outset, Queen Mary noted, Elizabeth had been “enchanted” by her baby sister.

Meanwhile, the Princess’s schooling had begun, with ­lessons in reading, spelling and counting from her nurse Clara Knight.

And as proof of how up-to-date the royal nursery was, a set of Linguaphone gramophone records provided Elizabeth’s instruction in French.

She also took piano lessons, and reportedly did well — although she was less successful with a miniature set of bagpipes.


Queen Elizabeth’s coffin lying in state as first of millions pay respect

First tearful mourners file past Queen’s coffin as she lies in state

Then, when ­Elizabeth was five, governess Marion “Crawfie” Crawford arrived in her life.

Crawfie’s challenge was to fit elements of a rudimentary education into the relatively small number of hours the Duchess allowed her.

Sacrosanct in Elizabeth’s days was the time mother, father and two daughters spent together: A post-breakfast romp in the Duchess’s bedroom, playing cards after tea, bathtime, nursery games including pillow fights, then bedtime with its ritual of story-reading.

But in the two-and-a-half to three hours available to her each morning, Crawfie instructed Elizabeth in history, literature and arithmetic.

Most read in The Sun


Five major supermarkets to close for up to four hours for Queen's funeral


How one million Shell Energy customers will be paid £400 energy bill rebate


Harry offers olive branch to Charles after Megxit feud with telling message


Harry looked miserable but interaction between Kate & Meg was more telling

The governess also introduced ­innovations including outdoor play, where the neat little girl and her sister would be encouraged to get messy with games of hide-and-seek, sardines and “Red Indians” in shrubberies grubby with London soot.

The Princess was blissfully unaware of the tensions that were gaining strength at the heart of the Royal Family.

By the end of 1934, the Prince of Wales, her Uncle David, was head-over-heels in love with “a jolly, plain, intelligent, quiet, unpretentious and unprepossessing little woman” by the name of Wallis Simpson. She was already married.

In the midst of these concerns, Elizabeth ­suffered her first great loss when on January 20, 1936, her grandfather George V died aged 70.

She and the King, who she dubbed “Old Man Kind”, had shared a special bond.

The pair even reputedly had an arrangement: Every morning, at an agreed time, at the nursery window of 145 Piccadilly, Elizabeth waved a white handkerchief in the direction of Buckingham Palace.

There, her grandfather would stand beside a window, watching for her greeting.

After the death of George V, the Press reminded readers that the ­little girl had taken another step closer to the throne, given the bachelorhood of David, now Edward VIII.

But the Yorks continued to shelter ­Elizabeth from speculation about her future — and about the growing disquiet over the relationship between the new King and his American mistress Mrs Simpson.

The socialite had divorced her first ­husband in 1927 and was now in the process of divorcing her second.

In November 1936, King Edward informed Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he intended to marry his lover when this divorce was finalised.

The PM pointed out that marriage after divorce was opposed by the Church of England, of which the King was the Supreme Governor. He was told his subjects would never stand for the marriage.


So rather than give up his love, on December 10 Edward VIII signed his abdication.

The relinquishment became the Windsors’ cautionary tale of private inclination overwhelming public duty.

Ten-year-old Elizabeth learned what had happened from a footman: Her father Bertie was now King, to be known as George VI.

In the nursery, Elizabeth told Margaret what had happened.

Her sister asked: “Does that mean that you will have to be the next queen?”

Elizabeth responded: “Yes, some day.”

Margaret said: “Poor you.”


Her father’s own first response to his altered state had been to weep on Queen Mary’s shoulder.

Although speech therapy had circumvented the worst of his stammer, public speaking frightened him. He lacked star quality, too.

By contrast, Elizabeth appeared to have been endowed with every quality of a princess.

She was a beautiful child, her hair still flecked with gold, with an infectious zest for life, innate dignity and, in the eyes of many, all the magnetism her father so ­conspicuously missed.

Bertie’s coronation as George VI — he had taken his father’s name to give a sense of continuity to the shaken country — took place at Westminster Abbey on May 12, 1937.

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth was in attendance and later noted how she glimpsed a “haze of wonder” covering the arches and beams of the roof at the moment of the King’s crowning.

But she also paid close attention to her father’s coronation speech on the radio, when the new King told his subjects: “The highest of distinctions is the service of others.”

Meanwhile, Queen Mary embarked on a project to educate the Princess for her future role with a programme of genealogical and dynastic history and Bible-reading.

There were also visits on Monday afternoons to historic sites such as the Royal Mint and Hampton Court Palace.

Queen Mary described these expeditions as “instructive amusements”.

Princess Margaret remembered the sisters being left “absolutely exhausted by hours on end of walking and standing in museums and galleries.”

Many years later, Elizabeth would note: “Our grandmother taught us to stand. We’re used to it.”

Their respite was always at Royal Lodge, the private retreat at Windsor where as many weekends as possible were spent.

There, the spirit of the family’s former lives could be rekindled.

Crawfie wrote: “Court etiquette was forgotten, and ceremony left behind. We were just a family again.”

But amid the fun, Elizabeth was doing her best to teach her little sister how to behave in their new positions.

Crawfie recorded Elizabeth’s solemn instructions for garden parties: “If you do see someone with a funny hat . . . you must not point at it and laugh.”

Read More on The Sun

Charles and Camilla arrive in Edinburgh for Queen’s sombre coffin procession

Harry offers olive branch to Charles after Megxit feud with telling message

Meanwhile the King had started to discuss current affairs with his daughter, especially the growing imminence of war.

He saw it as part of his training of her as heir.

    Source: Read Full Article