Upstate New York Woman Fondly Remembers Letter From Buckingham Palace
Today, as the world grieves the tremendous loss of Queen Elizabeth II of England, I'm reminded of a special moment in my childhood when I received correspondence directly from Buckingham Palace.
I was only one year younger than my own son is now when I wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth II and received a response.
It was the day after my sixth birthday, February 15, 1986, that my little self wrote a letter in little kid penmanship to Queen Elizabeth and convinced my mother that she must send it out in the mail. Not only did my mother send out my letter, but before doing so, she transcribed it and saved a copy of what I wrote. It read,
Dear Queen of England, I wonder if someday I could be a Queen. What I would like to know first is how to be a Queen. And then I would like to know how to get into a castle. Also, how would I live in a castle? Can friends come play in a castle, and my family? I want to be a Queen because I like to make decisions. I am already six years old and I need to get started. Thank you for reading my letter. Please write to me when you have time. If you want me to be your friend, I will. I love Jesus. Do you?
To our surprise, in July of 1986, I received a response to my letter to the Queen of England. Not from her personally, of course. Instead, the letter came from one of Queen Elizabeth's Ladies in Waiting.
While somewhat generic in nature, the reply letter I received arrived on letterhead emblazoned with the logo of Buckingham Palace and a hand-signed signature. The letter read,
I am commanded by The Queen to write and thank you for your letter. Her Majesty was interested to hear from you and I am enclosing some information which I hope you will find useful. I am to thank you once again for your thought in writing.
Enclosed in the envelope was an explanation of the monarchy as well as a breakdown of the Queen's daily life including her day-to-day activities as written by Sir Michael Adeane when he was the Private Secretary to the Queen.
The note and the inserts are things that I treasure and I hope one day future generations will understand their significance. The monarchy is not what it was when I was a child, just 36 years ago, and I believe in my heart that I will live to see the day when the monarchy is completely dissolved, which makes my correspondence all the more special because they are pieces of history.
I have been fascinated with the monarchy since I was a small child but as I grew older, my interest swiveled to other things - until I married my husband and began to dig into his family ancestry where I found some huge surprises.
One of my husband's ancestors was Baron Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse. Not only was Sir Wentworth a leading adviser of England’s King Charles I (unfortunately, that ended badly for him as he was executed) but he was also the owner of Wentworth Woodhouse which was the single largest privately owned residence in the United Kingdom, spanning twice the length of Buckingham Palace. Many believe that Jane Austen modeled her character Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice after Sir Wentworth.
It's interesting to me that a little girl who was enthralled with the royal family would one day marry a man whose ancestors had direct daily contact with them (and he didn't even know until I started to do some digging).