Queen Elizabeth

Queen ElizabethGetty

A WW2 era diary has shed some light on the early life of Queen Elizabeth.

Editor's note: Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-serving monarch passed away on Sept 8, 2022, aged 96. BHT takes a look back at some of the most popular stories that arose during her 70-year reign. 

Alathea Fitzalan Howard was born to privilege. Had she been a boy, she would have been known as the Duke of Norfolk.

After her parents separated, Alathea was sent to live with her grandfather in Windsor during WW2.

It was here that she struck up a friendship with none other than a young Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret.

The friendship would blossom and Alathea would go on to become a regular at Royal functions. She would regularly attend parties, picnics, and ceremonies with various members of the Royal Family.

Throughout this time she kept a diary, the details of which were published in a 2020 book titled "The Windsor Diaries: A childhood with the Princesses"

Queen Elizabeth and Pricess Margaret

Queen Elizabeth and Pricess Margaret

Here are some of the most interesting parts!

Sunday, January 21 

Lilibet [Princess Elizabeth, aged 13 and living with her family at Royal Lodge in Windsor] rang up to ask me to skate. She, [Princess] Margaret and the King picked me up in the car and we drove to the lake. Queen came down and watched. Played hockey with about six other people — policemen and chauffeurs etc from Royal Lodge. Great fun. Lilibet is so much nicer by herself than at Guides. 

Monday, May 6 

The princesses came to tea today. Nasty damp day but we went out and played in the garden till about six, then came in and did two charades, which were great fun. Friday, may 10 Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium at 3 am! 

Tuesday, December 21 

Lilibet did shortbread [at Guides], and I did bread pudding. Lilibet actually likes washing-up and does more of it than the rest of us put together! I much prefer needlework, which L hates! 

Thursday, March 6 

Lilibet, M and I set off for the Red Drawing Room, where we were joined by three Grenadier officers. then all the RAF officers filed by, shaking hands with L. Lilibet finds making conversation very difficult, like me, but she did very well, as she had to stand by herself for over an hour talking to each one in turn. She insisted on bringing the dogs in because she said they were the greatest save to the conversation when it dropped!

Wednesday, July 23 

Arrived [at the castle for a dance] and was miserable at first because everyone had long white gloves [and] I should have liked to have worn them. We all filed through into the Red Drawing Room, shaking hands with the K and Q and the princesses. there were nearly 200 there. the Q danced all the ‘funny dances’ and looked lovely in a full frock of white tulle, covered with silver sequins and the princesses wore dresses rather the same as the Q, also from Hartnell, in white lacy stuff embroidered with pale blue marguerites, and they had flowers in their hair and at their waist. No Eton boys, for which I was glad, as we then only had the dashing young ‘cavaliers’ [officers]! I was terrified I wasn’t going to dance with Hugh e but then I met him at the buffet and he said, with that great charm of his, ‘oh, Alathea, I’ve been looking for you all the evening, we must have a dance!’ it wasn’t true but still!! He asked me how many times I danced with him and said she was rather hurt because he only had the first one with her because he was asked to and then not again. We said goodbye about 3.15[am] — P Margaret [aged ten] stayed up till the very end. 

Thursday, July 31 

Lilibet said she had something to show me and when I went into her room to tidy, she took a letter out of a drawer for me to read — it was to Colonel Legh from Hugh E thanking for the dance — she said she’d stolen it and was going to keep it! He’s got nice writing.