The Royal Governess: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth II's Childhood (Hardcover)
“A beautifully woven and exquisitely detailed story of strong upstairs/downstairs women.”—Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Sunday Times bestselling author Wendy Holden brings to life the unknown childhood years of one of the world’s most famous figures, Queen Elizabeth II, and reveals the spirited young governess who made her the icon we love today.
In 1933, twenty-two-year-old Marion Crawford accepts the role of a lifetime, tutoring the little Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Her one stipulation to their parents the Duke and Duchess of York is that she bring some doses of normalcy into their sheltered and privileged lives.
At Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral, Marion defies stuffy protocol to take the princesses on tube trains, swimming at public baths, and on joyful Christmas shopping trips at Woolworth’s. From her ringside seat at the heart of the British monarchy she witnesses twentieth-century history’s most seismic events. The trauma of the Abdication, the glamour of the Coronation, the onset of World War II. She steers the little girls through it all, as close as a mother.
During Britain’s darkest hour, as Hitler’s planes fly over Windsor, she shelters her charges in the castle dungeons (not far from where the Crown Jewels are hidden in a biscuit tin). Afterwards, she is present when Elizabeth first sets eyes on Philip.
But being beloved confidante to the Windsors comes at huge personal cost. Marriage, children, her own views: all are compromised by proximity to royal glory. In this majestic story of love, sacrifice and allegiance, bestselling novelist Holden shines a captivating light into the years before Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.
About the Author
Wendy Holden is a British novelist of comedies of manners. She's authored ten Sunday Times top ten bestsellers and has sold over three million copies worldwide.
"A beautifully woven and exquisitely detailed story of strong upstairs/downstairs women whose lives entwine during some of the most significant periods of modern British history. . . a novel that will stand the test of time. I loved it."—Heather Morris, New York Times bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, on The Royal Governess
"An intimate view of the royal family at a time of great uncertainty and change, The Royal Governess is a beautifully written and richly detailed piece of historical fiction. Marion Crawford's dedication to her charges, as well as her passion for education and reform, shines through the pages. Through her eyes, the reader is transported back in time and thoroughly immersed in the lives of the British royal family. A delightful read!"—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to Key West
“Wendy Holden absolutely delivers in this perfect blend of story and history. The Royal Governess is a fabulous read for not only devotees of period fiction and the British Royals, but anyone with a hunger for a well-crafted tale. Lovers of The Crown will adore this!”—Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War
“A moving, gorgeously written page-turner. We peek behind the Windsors’ swagged silk curtains--the insider details are a total delight--but the story's beating heart belongs to the devoted royal governess, Crawfie. Holden takes the reader on a glittering, unforgettable journey.”—Eve Chase, author of The Daughters of Foxcote Manor
"This is a warm and often witty work of biographical historical fiction that deftly weaves fact with imagination into an engaging tale of life behind the palace walls. Fans of the genre and of the British royals will find it absolutely delightful."—Booklist