Queen 'wants Christmas back at Sandringham' says expert
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The correspondence from Her Majesty, 96, and her eldest son Charles, Prince of Wales, 72, provides an “intimate glimpse” into life in the Royal household and covers all sorts of private subjects over 40 years.
The recipient of the letters was Michael Farebrother, a former Grenadier Guard who patrolled Windsor Castle and later, as a schoolmaster, became Prince Charles’ private tutor.
The Monarch’s letters touch upon light topics such as rock and roll music and a former gym mistress with large thighs.
Likewise, they also address the deaths of members of the Royal Family, including that of her father, King George VI, in 1952, and that of Prince Philip’s maternal uncle Lord Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the IRA in 1979.
In an electronically printed letter from November 1948, two weeks after the birth of Prince Charles, the Queen wrote to Michael: “We were delighted to receive the message of congratulations and good wishes which you sent from yourself and the boys of your school.”
In handwriting, it continued: “The baby is very sweet, and we are enormously proud of him.”
As well as numerous letters sent from Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Sandringham, the archive contains 26 candid photographs Mr Farebrother took of the Royal family, mostly in the Fifties.
One letter, from February 10, 1957, reads: “It was indeed kind of you to send me the photographs which you took at Sandringham and which I am delighted to have.”
Speaking about her horse Betsy, the Queen added: “I am only sorry that the camera (which doesn’t lie?) makes that my dear Betsy is much more like a camel than a horse, which is what I am always being told and never believe!”
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In another letter, Her Majesty tells Michael, “I do want you to know how very grateful I am,” and apologises for a slow answer, saying, “we were very busy during the past fortnight up in Scotland, and it was almost impossible”.
The archive is set to be auctioned on Tuesday, December 7 by Gorringe’s Auctioneers.
The auction house described the collection as “a unique and historically significant album of candid correspondence, hitherto unpublished photographs, (with negatives) and ephemera, to include a large selection of manuscript letters” from the Queen and Prince Charles.
The archive, Gorringe’s emphasised, unveils “matters of private and public life”.
Managing Partner Philip Taylor added: “Chronologically collated, the collection reflects the life and career of Michael. H. Farebrother, former officer in the Grenadier Guards, joint headmaster of St. Peter’s school, Seaford, East Sussex and private tutor to The Prince of Wales through the Prince’s early life.”
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