I was 13 and he was 18: Queen Elizabeth's rare love letter to go under the hammer in UK

London: A rare letter in which Queen Elizabeth II has talked about how she and husband Prince Philip fell in love will go under the hammer in the UK next week.

The British monarch in 1947, when she was a 21-year-old princess, wrote the two-page letter to author Betty Spencer Shew a few months before she and Prince Philip were married.

Shew was writing a book called 'Royal Wedding' as a souvenir of the marriage and Princess Elizabeth agreed to share details of her relationship, The Times reports.

The letter is to be sold at Chippenham Auction Rooms in Wiltshire, southwest England, on April 23 and is expected to fetch up to 1,200 pounds in the auction.

Over two pages, the Queen recalls how she met Prince Philip in 1939 and how the couple danced at the nightclubs Ciro's and Quaglino's in London.


Queen Elizabeth II with husband Prince Philip. AFP

In the letter, written at Balmoral in ink on white paper adorned with the royal crest, she wrote: "The first time I remember (underlined) 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."

She describes how it simply became inevitable that they would marry, although it had to be delayed until after her visit to South Africa in 1947.

"We had thought about getting married, but we couldn't and didn't do anything about it till after the South African visit — partly because of going abroad, and partly because I wasn't 21. When we did return home, I can't really remember, but I don't think anybody thought much about 'consent' — it was inevitable," she said.

She writes of their love of dancing and the Duke of Edinburgh's love of driving.

"Philip enjoys driving and does it fast! He has his own tiny MG, which he is very proud of — he has taken me about in it, once up to London, which was great fun, only it was like sitting on the road, and the wheels were almost as high as one's head! On that one and only occasion we were chased by a photographer which was disappointing."

Richard Edmonds, the principal auctioneer of the letter, said: "It gives a fascinating glimpse into the life of the then Princess Elizabeth at what was such a significant time in her life."

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Updated Date: Apr 14, 2016 22:12:25 IST

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