The Windsor Diaries

by Alathea Fitzalan Howard


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The Windsor Diaries are the never-before-seen diaries of Alathea Fitzalan Howard, who lived alongside the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret at Windsor Castle during the Second World War. Alathea’s home life was an unhappy one. Her parents had separated and so during the war she was sent to live with her grandfather, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

There Alathea found the affection and harmony she craved as she became a close friend of the two princesses, visiting them often at Windsor Castle, enjoying parties, balls, cinema evenings, picnics and celebrations with the Royal Family and other members of the Court. Alathea’s diary became her constant companion during these years as day by day she recorded every intimate detail of life with the young Princesses, often with their governess Crawfie, or with the King and Queen. Written from the ages of sixteen to twenty-two, she captures the tight-knit, happy bonds between the Royal Family, as well as the aspirations and anxieties, sometimes extreme, of her own teenage mind.

These unique diaries give us a bird’s eye view of Royal wartime life with all of Alathea’s honest, yet affectionate judgments and observations – as well as a candid and vivid portrait of the young Princess Elizabeth, known to Alathea as ‘Lilibet’, a warm, self-contained girl, already falling for her handsome prince Philip, and facing her ultimate destiny: the Crown.

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