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Letter revealing how Queen and Philip fell in love to be sold

Published 13/04/2016

The rare letter reveals how the Queen and Prince Philip met
The rare letter reveals how the Queen and Prince Philip met

A rare handwritten letter detailing how the Queen and Prince Philip first fell in love is to go under the hammer.

The monarch wrote the letter when she was a 21-year-old princess and recounts the early stages of their relationship including when they first met.

The two-page letter was written to the author Betty Shew in 1947 - just months before the Queen and Prince Philip were married.

Mrs Shew was writing a book called Royal Wedding as a souvenir of the marriage, and the then Princess Elizabeth agreed to share details of her relationship with the Prince of Greece and Denmark.

Over two pages, Princess Elizabeth recalls how she first met Prince Philip in 1939, describes his love of fast cars and how the couple danced at nightclubs Ciro's and Quaglino's in London.

The letter is written in ink on white paper adorned with the royal crest.

The Queen wrote: "The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1939, just before the war. (We may have met before at the coronation or the Duchess of Kent's wedding, but I don't remember).

"I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave - I suppose about twice in three years.

"Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor. Then he went to the Pacific and Far East for two years."

The letter is to go under the hammer at Chippenham Auction Rooms in Wiltshire on April 23 alongside other royal memorabilia.

Principal auctioneer Richard Edmonds said: "This is a wonderfully well-preserved letter written in the Queen's hand.

"It gives a fascinating glimpse into the life of the then Princess Elizabeth at what was such a significant time in her life.

"The price of a letter like this is very difficult to predict but it could be in the region of £800 to £1,200."

Also on sale are items of Queen Victoria's intimate apparel including her handkerchief, knickers, stockings, nightgown and a chemise.

There is also a life-size waxwork of Queen Victoria which was once displayed in Madame Tussaud's and a life-size replica of her son Prince Edward.

Other keepsakes include a replica of Queen Elizabeth II's Imperial State Crown plus replica ceremonial swords, sceptres and maces.

Many of the royal items are among the last of the lots to be sold from the former Sussex museum Yesterday's World. The items of Queen Victoria's clothing come from a private collector.

Last July, a pair of Queen Victoria's knickers sold for £12,390 at Chippenham Auction Rooms, a record-breaking price.

Mr Edmonds added: "Royal sales of this type can attract attention from all over the world as there are lots of specialist collectors, particularly in countries like Australia."

On the second page of the letter, the Queen writes: "The wedding ring will be made of Welsh gold, but not from the Craigwen mine.

"The engagement ring was made by Antrobus. Princess Alice took it in as Philip obviously couldn't but he designed the ring.

"I don't know the history of the stone, except that it is a very fine old cutting. It was given to me not long before the engagement was announced.

"Philip likes riding but as yet, has not done much racing.

"We both love dancing - we have danced at Ciro's and Quaglino's as well at parties.

"We first started seeing more of each other when Philip went for a two-year job to the R.N Petty Officers School at Corsham - before that we hardly knew each other.

"He'd spend weekends with us, and when the school was closed he spent six weeks at Balmoral - it was great luck his getting a short job first them! Elizabeth"

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