Christmas cards sent by Queen and Prince Philip to married couple on Balmoral ...

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A series of Christmas cards sent by the Royal Family over 25 years to a married couple on their staff are going under the hammer.

The cards will be up for auction on December 7, with most of them sent by the Queen and Prince Philip, and they show the changing face of the monarchy from the black-and-white post war world to the colourful 1970s.

They were sent to the married couple who worked at Balmoral, the wife working in the house and the husband on the estate.

The first from 1947 is signed by King George VI and the Queen Mother and includes a photo of them at a piano with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret playing. Although George died in February 1952, the Queen had taken over many of her father's Royal duties months before and the 1951 card is the first to be signed by her and Philip. 

Roddy Lloyd, from Rowleys, said: 'These were consigned by the daughter of a couple who both worked at Balmoral.

'She worked in service at the house and the husband was an estate worker. The Royal family must have regarded the couple in high esteem and each is signed in ink - 'Elizabeth R' and 'Philip' - part from the earliest which is signed by King George.

'This really is a wonderful piece of history, showing as it does the growth of the Royal family - you can see the children grow up through these photographs. It also shows them smiling and enjoying themselves just like any other family. They will appeal to collectors of royal memorabilia.' 

1947: King George and the Queen Mother with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. This is the first Christmas card in the collection. Princess Elizabeth, later the Queen, married Philip in November 1947, who became the Duke of Edinburgh. The Christmas cards were sent to a married couple who worked at Balmoral, the wife in the house and the husband on the estate

1947: King George and the Queen Mother with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. This is the first Christmas card in the collection. Princess Elizabeth, later the Queen, married Philip in November 1947, who became the Duke of Edinburgh. The Christmas cards were sent to a married couple who worked at Balmoral, the wife in the house and the husband on the estate

1950: A distant view of Windsor Castle. Elizabeth, then still a Princess, has her second child with Philip. Princess Anne, the couple's only daughter, was born on August 15. The photos are being sold at Rowley's auction house in Ely, Cambridgeshire, with estimates of between £100 and £150 per card

1950: A distant view of Windsor Castle. Elizabeth, then still a Princess, has her second child with Philip. Princess Anne, the couple's only daughter, was born on August 15. The photos are being sold at Rowley's auction house in Ely, Cambridgeshire, with estimates of between £100 and £150 per card

1951: Although King George died in February 1952, the Queen had taken over many of her father's Royal duties months before and the 1951 card is the first to be signed by her and Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth went on a tour of Canada in the autumn of 1951. Their Christmas card used this photo of adoring crowds cheering on the royal couple

1951: Although King George died in February 1952, the Queen had taken over many of her father's Royal duties months before and the 1951 card is the first to be signed by her and Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth went on a tour of Canada in the autumn of 1951. Their Christmas card used this photo of adoring crowds cheering on the royal couple

1952: This Christmas card saw the first appearance of Charles and Anne. 1952 was a tumultuous year for the royal family. In February, Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, set out on a tour of Africa and Asia in place of her ailing father King George VI. George died on February 6

1952: This Christmas card saw the first appearance of Charles and Anne. 1952 was a tumultuous year for the royal family. In February, Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, set out on a tour of Africa and Asia in place of her ailing father King George VI. George died on February 6

1954: This picture shows Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with Charles and Anne on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The year before, Queen Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey in the first televised coronation service

1954: This picture shows Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with Charles and Anne on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The year before, Queen Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey in the first televised coronation service

1955: Back to Balmoral with Charles and Anne. This photo is believed to have been taken in the summer and shows the royal family enjoying their summer vacation at Balmoral. Talking about the collection, Roddy Lloyd, from Rowleys, said: 'These were consigned by the daughter of a couple who both worked at Balmoral'

1955: Back to Balmoral with Charles and Anne. This photo is believed to have been taken in the summer and shows the royal family enjoying their summer vacation at Balmoral. Talking about the collection, Roddy Lloyd, from Rowleys, said: 'These were consigned by the daughter of a couple who both worked at Balmoral'

1956: The royal family posing happily on royal yacht, the Britannia. On Christmas Day in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh was away from home on a voyage around the Commonwealth on the Britannia. Prince Philip spoke on the radio from the Royal yacht before The Queen made her Christmas broadcast live from her study in Sandringham, Norfolk

1956: The royal family posing happily on royal yacht, the Britannia. On Christmas Day in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh was away from home on a voyage around the Commonwealth on the Britannia. Prince Philip spoke on the radio from the Royal yacht before The Queen made her Christmas broadcast live from her study in Sandringham, Norfolk

1957: The first Christmas card to be in colour, it shows the royal family outdoors, enjoying the sunshine. A young Prince Charles is pictured playing with the Queen's beloved dogs. They seem to be Dorgis, a mix between her famous Welsh Pembroke Corgis and a Dachshund. The Queen's 1957 Christmas Broadcast was an historic event, as it was the first to be televised. It was also the 25th anniversary of the first Christmas Broadcast on the radio

1957: The first Christmas card to be in colour, it shows the royal family outdoors, enjoying the sunshine. A young Prince Charles is pictured playing with the Queen's beloved dogs. They seem to be Dorgis, a mix between her famous Welsh Pembroke Corgis and a Dachshund. The Queen's 1957 Christmas Broadcast was an historic event, as it was the first to be televised. It was also the 25th anniversary of the first Christmas Broadcast on the radio

1958: Instead of a photo of the royal family, they shared a religious art scene in the 1958 Christmas card. The Holy Family with Saint Elizabeth, Saint John the Baptist and an Angel, painted by Sebastiano Ricci was the painting included. This biblical scene is most likely to be the 'Return from Egypt', when according to legend, the meeting of the Holy Family with St. John the Baptist took place. It was acquired by George III in 1762

1958: Instead of a photo of the royal family, they shared a religious art scene in the 1958 Christmas card. The Holy Family with Saint Elizabeth, Saint John the Baptist and an Angel, painted by Sebastiano Ricci was the painting included. This biblical scene is most likely to be the 'Return from Egypt', when according to legend, the meeting of the Holy Family with St. John the Baptist took place. It was acquired by George III in 1762

1959: Despite switching to colour in previous years, the black and white made a return in 1959, with the Christmas card depicting Charles and Anne with the Queen and Prince Philip. The Queen's Christmas Broadcast in 1959 took the form of a prerecorded radio message instead of a television broadcast. The Queen was pregnant with her third child, Prince Andrew, at the time, who was born the following February

1959: Despite switching to colour in previous years, the black and white made a return in 1959, with the Christmas card depicting Charles and Anne with the Queen and Prince Philip. The Queen's Christmas Broadcast in 1959 took the form of a prerecorded radio message instead of a

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