Newly released letters reveal that the Queen wrote to an aide to express her feelings of ’emptiness, loneliness, and unbearable sorrow’ after her father’s passing.
Private letters sent by Her Majesty to a royal aide – which also detail the monarch’s concerns about Northern Ireland during the Troubles – are set to be be auctioned next month as part of a collection alongside never-before-seen photographs of the Firm.
Correspondence between Prince Charles and the Queen spans over 40 years and includes discussions of King George VI and Lord Mountbatten’s passings.
In another letter, Prince Charles also discussed his ‘unforgettable memories’ of school, including a mistress at the gym with ‘large legs’.
Farebrother, who passed away in 1987 at the age of 67, was posted to Windsor Castle during World War 2. He corresponded with the royals over the next 40 years, including several long handwritten letters from her.
Private letters from the Queen to a royal adviser describing the monarch’s feelings of ’emptiness, loneliness’ and concerns about Northern Ireland will be auctioned next month in a collection that includes never-before-seen photos of the Royal Family
Newly released letters reveal that Elizabeth wrote to her aide to express her feelings of ’emptiness and loneliness’ as well as ‘unbearable pain’ after her father’s passing. Elizabeth and King Georgie VI are pictured together
In one of her earliest letters to Queen Elizabeth, she expressed her sadness at her father’s death in February 1952.
After ascending to the throne, she declared with stoicism that “I have a task to do”.
She stated that her father’s death was “so much worse” for her mother and younger sister Margaret, so they could not look forward.
King George VI was just 56 when he passed away from coronary thrombosis and lung cancer in 1952.
The Queen, who was just 25, was on tour in Kenya with Prince Philip at the time.
The Royal Family was again affected by grief 27 years later when Lord Louie Mountbatten, a IRA bomber, was detonated at Mullaghmore in County Sligo, Ireland in August 1979.
In a rare act of Her Majesty breaking royal protocol in discussing politics, she expressed doubts about the resolution of the Northern Ireland troubles.
Correspondence sent by the Queen and Prince Charles, to royal aide Michael Farebrother. A former Grenadier Guard member and the Prince Of Wales’ private tutor. It spans over 40 years and includes discussions about King George VI and Lord Mountbatten’s passings.
Honest feelings: The Queen wrote to Mr Farebrother following the death of Louis Mountbatten and expressed her doubts about the resolution of the Troubles. She wrote: ‘One cannot but pray that he will not die in vain and may some good come out of this terrible act, blowing up a family vacation and shock people into doing anything about Ireland’
She wrote: “One can only hope that he will not die in vain and some good may result from this terrible act, blowing up families on holiday, and will shock people into doing things about Ireland – if their opinions weren’t so entrenched.”
After Louis Mountbatten’s death, the Queen wrote a letter in which she candidly expressed her feelings about The Troubles. She wrote: ‘One can only hope that he will not die in vain and that some good may result from this terrible act of blowing-up a family on vacation and will shock people into doing things about Ireland – but their opinions weren’t so entrenched.
The collection of personal photographs, memos and letters were kept in a cloth-bound album which is expected to fetch up to £80,000 when it goes under the hammer at Gorringes auction house in Lewes, East Sussex, on 7th December.
Her Majesty’s horses: The Queen and her beloved horse Betsy (right) In a February 10, 1957, letter (left), Queen expressed her gratitude to Mr Farebrother who sent her a photo Betsy. She joked that it looked more like an animal than a horse.
Generations of memories. In 1947, Princess Elizabeth wrote to Mr Farebrother or ‘Michael to thank him for his congratulations. After the birth of Prince William in 1982, Prince Charles signed off “Charlie”
She expressed her delight in Charles’s friendship with Mr Farebrother in notes. Charles, on the other hand, signs his letters to Mr Farebrother as ‘your erstwhile student’ and uses his nickname, “Charlie”.
The letters and photographs were kept by Mr Farebrother for the rest of their lives and made into a red cloth-bound book.
It is now being sold by a relative with Gorringe’s Auctioneers of Lewes, East Sussex, for a pre-sale estimate of between £50,000 to £80,000.
The black-and-white photos include many shots of Prince Charles, eight years old, playing in the grounds of Windsor Castle and its parapets.
One charming photo shows him wearing an oversized coat, a black bowler cap, and carrying an umbrella.
Invitation to dinner: Michael Farebrother sent this invitation to Queen and Princess Margaret to dinner at Windsor
Personal thanks: Charles was also tutored at Sandringham by the Queen during the Christmas holidays of 1956/57. She wrote (left, right): ‘It was all the difference to him. He so obviously enjoyed you being here and it was so clever you not to be best’schoolmasterish’ with him.
In a February 10, 1957 correspondence, the Queen expressed gratitude to Mr Farebrother who sent her a photo. It was a photo that Betsy looked more like a camel.
She wrote, “It was indeed kind for you to send me photographs taken at Sandringham which I am delighted to own. I’m sorry, but the camera proves Betsy is more like a camel rather than a horse. This is what I am always being told, and I never believe it!
She later thanked him for tutoring Charles at Sandringham during the Christmas holidays of 1956/57.
She wrote, “It made all his difference and he so clearly enjoyed you being there and it’s so clever of you to not be in best schoolmaster-ish’ with them and win their friendship so quickly.
Practice makes perfect! Prince Charles completed a military-themed worksheet for his handwriting lesson (left) with Mr Farebrother. Right, Princess Anne produced this sweet painting of a teddy bear for one of her lessons with the tutor
Mr Farebrother, who had spent the previous New Years with the Royal Family before returning home to his father with a letter detailing the festivities, including dancing with Queen Mother, wrote about the events in his letter.
He co-authored ‘…dinner for the Duchess de Glos. on my left, a film, hot punch, and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at night. The Queen Mum made me dance to the wireless with her, and everyone joined in. Princess Margaret performs a rock’n roll song and the children are wildly amused.
After her engagement to Prince Philip, and the births of Charles (and Prince Andrew), the Queen also wrote Mr Farebrother a thank you note.
In a letter dated November 28, 1948, 14 days after the birth Prince Charles, Princess Elizabeth stated that she was extremely proud of him.
Growing up fast! Prince Charles, wearing an oversized coat, a black bowler cap, and carrying an umbrella during a light-hearted moment at Mr Farebrother. The tutor was a schoolmaster and worked for the royal family.
Royal collector’s dreams: The album of letters and memos, as well as photographs, is steeped in Mr Farebrother’s private past
Warm thanks: Princess Anne wrote a thank you letter to Mr Farebrother in 1980. She signed it simply: “Anne”
We are also grateful that he has brought some happiness to so many others than ourselves. So much has happened since the Windsor days. It is hard for me to believe that I am married now and have a baby.
She wrote to her mother on March 6, 1960, 15 day after Prince Andrew’s birth, “Charles had the chance to be allowed off for the weekend — he and Anne are completely captivated by the baby.”
Four documents relate to the time Prince Charles was tutored by Mr Farebrother.
His drawings include a drawing of a rural English landscape, a house, and a finger signpost. Charles also used his handwriting practice to fill in the gaps for historical names and events like William II 1066.
Carefully preserved: A sample of pages kept by Mr Farebrother (left), including letters from Princess Margaret (right).
Bundle of joy: Princess Elizabeth, then Princess of Wales, wrote this thoughtful response to Mr Farebrother following the birth of Prince Charles. She wrote, “We are also glad that the he has given some happiness to so many other people than ourselves.”
One of the letters that the Prince of Wales wrote to Mr Farebrother after the death of Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones (posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross during the Falklands War) is included in the Prince Of Wales’s letters to Mr Farebrother.
Farebrother had been a teacher at St Peter’s preparatory School in Seaford, East Sussex for the British army officer and had apparently told Charles about the officer’s brave death in an earlier letter.
Charles wrote a letter of condolence to Col Jones’ widow Sara on July 30, 1982.
He said, “I didn’t know he was at your school and that you had your sons there.” I did my best to help Sara. She is a brave woman and ‘H’ is a true hero. Your account moved me deeply.
Charles signed off “with warmest wishes, happy memories of those far-off tutoring times!”
Charles wrote two years later about a memorial service to Mrs Townend, former headmistress at Hill House School in London’s Knightsbridge. He was a student there from 1956 to 1958.
Married life: Prince Charles signed his name as ‘Charlie’ in this correspondence written after his marriage to Diana in 1981
He wrote: “I will never forget these acid drops-nor for that matter the gym mistress who had large legs and shouted “commence!” He screamed loudly at the beginning of each exercise.
He signed off “from your erstwhile student.” Charles.
Charles also wrote about the ‘jolly” Christmas of 1984 at Windsor Castle, and how William had a great time following all the children until he was purple in his face!’.
Farebrother was a student at Eton College and Oxford University. He played first-class cricket for his unit. However, his sporting career was cut short during the Second World War.
He was a Grenadier Guards soldier and fought in Italy’s campaign.
After leaving the army, he became a schoolmaster. In 1956, he was appointed headmaster at St Peter’s School. He was 67 years old when he died in Seaford in September 1987.
Philip Taylor, of Gorringes said that he was privileged to be asked to sell ‘The Michael Farebrother collection of papers concerning The Queen and Her Family’. This is the first time they have been offered for sale. It is a historic and unique album of candid correspondence and previously unpublished photos and ephemera.
“It contains a large selection o manuscript letters from Prince Charles to the Queen on many matters both private and public. The collection, which has been chronologically compiled, reflects Michael Farebrother’s life and career as well as an intimate look into the daily life of the Royal household in early 1950s.
The album will be available for purchase on December 7.