The Windsor Diaries: My Childhood with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret

Atria. May 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781982169176. $30. BIOG
Alathea Fitzalan Howard (1923–2001) was the elder daughter of the last Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent and of Joyce Langdale, who later became Countess Fitzwilliam. At the start of the Second World War, Howard was sent to live with her grandfather and aunt at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Park, next door to Windsor Castle. The young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret lived at Windsor and were friends with Howard. Howard kept diaries over the years and bequeathed these to her niece Isabella Naylor-Leyland Milton, who has now published Howard’s account of the war years, 1940–45. Howard writes about her family, her friendship with the princesses, and socializing with George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The diaries finish in 1945, with celebrations of the war’s end. An afterword traces Howard’s life after the events of the diaries, including attending the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and Elizabeth’s coronation. Until her death in 2001, Howard maintained her friendship with the queen, and the two would meet for social events. Howard eventually married the Hon. Edward Ward, a son of William Ward, Earl of Dudley.
VERDICT An insider account that is essential for followers of the royal family.
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