Secret diary of the Queen's first confidante Alathea Fitzalan Howard

Alathea Fitzalan Howard ecame a close friend of Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret, visiting them often at Windsor Castle, and enjoying parties, balls, picnics and celebrations with the Royal Family and other members of the Court

Alathea Fitzalan Howard ecame a close friend of Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret, visiting them often at Windsor Castle, and enjoying parties, balls, picnics and celebrations with the Royal Family and other members of the Court

Alathea Fitzalan Howard was sent to live with her grandfather, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, at Cumberland lodge in Windsor Great Park during World War II after her parents separated. 

There she became a close friend of Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret, visiting them often at Windsor Castle, and enjoying parties, balls, picnics and celebrations with the Royal Family and other members of the Court. 

1940 

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. 

Wednesday March 20 

[At] Royal Lodge we all dragged an old garden cart down to the rubbish heap below the vicarage and filled it with old iron etc and dragged it back to the garden (the detective helping)! then we played charades indoors. Margaret’s rather silly but she’s very sweet. Lilibet’s stopped wearing socks. Crawfie [governess Marion Crawford] kissed me goodbye! Heavenly day. 

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 3am! 

Tuesday, May 14 

The princesses have moved to Windsor [Castle] for greater safety. Somehow it does feel lonely to know they’re not next door.  

Friday, June 7 

Lilibet and Margaret and Crawfie met me at the door and we walked down to the guardroom for tea with some officers. enormous tea — cakes galore, ices, cherries, with which we had competitions. once Lilibet and I looked at each other and nearly laughed. Lilibet and Margaret for the first time (that I've seen) weren’t dressed alike. 

Monday, June 17 

Heard that France has given in, so now we are left to face Germany alone. Naturally if we are beaten we must all hope for death as our only release. 

Tuesday, July 2 

I went to the York Hall for a rehearsal of the concert on Saturday. Lilibet will tap dance in ‘An Apple For the teacher’ (she’s the teacher). Margaret is in it too. they both play the piano on the stage and then Margaret is the Dormouse in the Mad Hatter’s tea Party. it’s very good, but everyone I’ve met says it’s making them much too cheap. they really shouldn’t do it. they ought to get up little plays of their own with their friends but not dance with all the evacuees like this. 

Saturday, July 13 

Crawfie was in a bad mood. I think she’s rather cross because I borrowed her purse last week for the programme money and now can’t remember what i have done with it. the princesses were rather cross too, because Lilibet played the piano badly and the curtain fell on Margaret’s head!

Thursday, August 15 

We all drew outside. Afterwards, i tidied as usual in Lilibet’s room and she told me her silk stockings cost eight and six. typical! 

Sunday, August 25 

I went to bed about ten and was in the middle of praying when three terrible explosions shook my windows. We all went down to the cellar amid more bombs and guns. 

Tuesday, August 27 

Biked to the Castle with hiking things. We were divided into two [Guides] groups with Lilibet and me in charge. We made a fire and cooked sausages on sticks. 

Monday, September 23 

Biked to the Castle for tea. We all listened to the King’s speech on the wireless in the nursery and knitted. 

Tuesday, October 1 

At nine o’clock [a] time bomb went off [nearby]. I lay in speechless horror watching my walls rock violently from side to side. i know that people in the future will read about this war and look upon it in horror as comparable only to the French or Russian Revolutions and they will pity the generation whose youth was wasted by it. 

Princess Elizabeth (pictured left) reads to her sister Princess Margaret and Jane the corgi by a window in Windsor Castle. Princess Elizabeth is the future Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Princess Elizabeth (pictured left) reads to her sister Princess Margaret and Jane the corgi by a window in Windsor Castle. Princess Elizabeth is the future Queen Elizabeth II of England.

Saturday, November 9

[Alathea was staying at the castle for the weekend.] I played a French game with L and M and Monty [French governess Mrs Montaudon-Smith], then we all had lunch with the K and Q and household. then L and M, Crawfie and I went out in the rain and messed about till the Queen joined us, when we gave some scarves to some soldiers, then unblocked a stream. M pushed me into some barbed wire, tearing my good stocking! us three had tea with the K and Q and afterwards played [card game] Racing Demon with the Queen. At seven L and i went to our baths. L and i had supper in our night things in the nursery. At about eight, L and I and Bobo [nursery maid Margaret MacDonald] walked down to their shelter, miles away. L and M sleep on two bunks on top of each other (M on top) and Mrs Knight [nanny] on a bed in the same room. I was put in an adjoining room. M made us laugh a lot. The K and Q looked in on me to say good night. 

Sunday, November 10 

Came up from the shelter at a quarter to eight and dressed. Lunch 1.15. Two Eton boys came, the Spencer boy [later Earl Spencer, father of Princess Diana] and another. L and I had to make conversation to [sic] them! Afterwards L, M and I went for a long walk in the Home Park with the K and Q and ran into the Archbishop of Canterbury. tea with them and cards with the Q again after. She was very chatty to me. I simply love her. bath then supper. Marched down to the shelter again complete with apples, clocks, books, etc! I left the door open to talk and I went into [the princesses’] room twice to get something and they came into mine when an emergency [light] came on in my room. M made me die with laughter by asking me if I thought L and her and myself were pretty! We went to sleep after the news, about 9.15, as we bring the wireless down. 

Monday, November 11 

We Got up soon after 7.30 and went upstairs through miles of icy cold corridors and staircases. Lovely cheerful nursery breakfast. In that Castle, with its gilded rooms and red corridors, there is an atmosphere of happy family life that I myself have never known. 

Sunday, November 17 

I do want more than anything in the world to be a lady-in-waiting when i grow up, but I should like always to be Lilibet’s friend whatever happens. 

Tuesday, December 3 

Lilibet’s hair is worse now that it is curled than before, I think, because she’s got it in little flat curls close to her head all round the back, very tight in front. 

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! 

Alathea Fitzalan Howard documents her life after was sent to live with her grandfather, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, at Cumberland lodge in Windsor Great Park during World War II

Alathea Fitzalan Howard documents her life after was sent to live with her grandfather, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, at Cumberland lodge in Windsor Great Park during World War II

1941 

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!

sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more

Sunday, March 9 

L turned her hair under and asked me if i liked it and I said no. We played cards till lunch, then went outside. We laughed a great deal and had great fun spitting over a bridge into a stream, trying to hit leaves as they floated by! Crawfie is such fun; I don’t think Monty would approve of spitting! Didn’t get back till 4.30 and we got very giggly and silly at the end because we were so exhausted! Crawfie and I were walking slowly arm-in-arm down the steep slope from the terrace and L pushed us and we hurtled down and collapsed into a bush and laughed so much we couldn’t get up. 

Saturday, March 15 AnnabeL [daughter of Sir Cecil Newman] thinks Lilibet has an enormous chest! It is a great pity as it’ll be awful one day. 

Saturday, March 22 

We had dressed crab that the King and Queen had brought back live from Plymouth. Ate chocolates with the Queen afterwards, then we went out with Crawfie before tea with the K and Q. He asked me if I was ‘hair conscious’ too, as Lilibet is always fiddling about with her hair now. So i said, ‘Yes!’ the Queen asked me if i powdered my face. She is so sweet and kind and without being beautiful she has such irresistible charm one could not help loving her. She has won my unswerving adoration — oh, if only I had a mother like that. 

Thursday, April 3 Last lesson for this term [Alathea was sharing weekly drawing lessons with the princesses at Windsor Castle]. Afterwards, we played cards till tea. they said something about Philip, so I said, ‘Who’s Philip?’ Lilibet [aged 14] said, ‘He’s called Prince Philip of Greece’ and then they both burst out laughing. I asked why, knowing quite well! Margaret [ten] said, ‘We can’t tell you,’ but L said, ‘Yes, we can. Can you keep a secret?’ then she said that P was her ‘boy’. Monty asked me if i had one, and in the end, I told them it was Robert Cecil

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Chile surpasses 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases
NEXT Troubled girl, 16, takes her own life on school grounds