MEMBERS and guests enjoyed a fabulous afternoon (May 27th) with Lady Isabella Naylor-Leyland who shared a glimpse into the private life of our Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, during their teenage years growing up at Windsor Castle. She read extracts from 'The Windsor Diaries' during a highly-engaging and entertaining talk organised by the Association to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
"It was a brilliant start to the Jubilee celebrations," said one guest afterwards, as positive feedback continues to pour in via email and text. Preparing the diaries for publication was a real labour of love for Isabella, in memory of her late aunt Alathea Fitzalan-Howard who grew up alongside the Princesses in Windsor Great Park. She bequeathed her 64 diaries to the safe care of Isabella, crammed full of anecdotes and intimate exchanges ranging from sleepovers at the Castle to the first hints of the future Queen falling for the dashing young Prince Philip of Greece. "I have been sworn to secrecy and will never tell," she writes.
Our Platinum Jubilee Luncheon was held at Milton Golf Club, which yielded a further and unexpected royal connection through house manager and chef Richard Berry. It turns out Richard spent several years as chef to Princess Alice of Gloucester at Barnwell Manor, near Oundle. During this period he travelled to a number of royal residences assisting with banquets where a large catering team from royal households would sometimes be gathered to prepare the proverbial 'feast for a king'. No wonder our lunch today was such a treat... thank you to Richard, his wife Emma and all the staff at Milton.
The loyal toast was given by Michael Perkins, the longest-serving officer of the Association and recently-elected city councillor for Orton Longueville. Shailesh Vara MP gave the vote of thanks.
After a lively Q&A, during which Isabella was asked if she sought permission from the Queen to publish Alathea's diaries (the answer was no) she kindly signed copies of the book with a donation from each one going to Association funds. The book is priced at £25 (paperback £12.99). Afterwards, Isabella clarified that she did indeed ask, and receive permission to include photographs and personal letters between Lilibet and Alathea.
Chairman Gavin Elsey told us afterwards: "It was a joy to welcome Lady Isabella and to hear extracts from her aunt's personal diaries which give an intimate, funny and often surprising glimpse into the young woman who is now our Queen, celebrating a unique and historic milestone Jubilee. Thank you to everyone who made this event such a success and we look forward to seeing more of you next time."
Photos: David Lowndes Photography