From Publishers Weekly
In today's world of celebrity scandals and royal rumor, it's hard to believe that when this memoir was originally published in 1953 it caused such a stir. For 17 years, Crawford-"Crawfie"-was nanny to then-Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and taken on its own, her account is innocuous in the extreme. But Crawford was shunned by the royal family after the book's publication, as BBC Royal correspondent Bond explains in the foreword: "She was cast adrift as if she had committed treason and neither the Queen nor the two Princesses ever spoke to her again." To the contemporary jaded eye, it's far more interesting to read the book in this context rather than for its own merits. What might seem mundane becomes poignant in light of Crawford's eventual fate, such as when she fusses over her charges, describing 13-year-old Elizabeth ("Lilibet") as "an enchanting child with the loveliest hair and skin and a long, slim figure." Crawford's story is particularly sad given her degree of personal sacrifice-she delayed her marriage for years so as not to, as she saw it, abandon the king and queen. But it is possible to find repressed traces of bitterness on Crawford's part if one is so inclined, such as when she tells the queen that she would finally like to marry, and relates the queen's response: "'You must see, Crawfie, that it would not be at all convenient just now.'" There certainly aren't a lot of juicy tidbits, at least not by modern standards, but the book is interesting as an historical document, if for nothing else than to remind us how innocent scandal used to be. B&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Marion Crawford, or “Crawfie,” as she was known to young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, was born in the Scottish countryside and studied teaching at the Moray House Training College in Edinburgh. In the early 1930s, she became governess to the daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York, little suspecting that she would devote the next sixteen years to nurturing her future Queen. Her account of life as a royal governess originally appeared in American magazines, but soon became a front-page sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. The first edition of The Little Princesses was published in 1950, and although it created a scandal, it was nonetheless a valuable social history and the first inside account of life at Buckingham Palace. Crawford died in 1988, having never been forgiven by the royal family for writing her book.
Jennie Bond has been following the Royal Family as the BBC’s Royal correspondent for thirteen years. In that time, she has covered many momentous events---among them, three marriage breakdowns, Camillagate, the Queen’s annus horribilis, and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Bond has written two other books: Elizabeth: Fifty Glorious Years and Reporting Royalty: Behind the Scenes with the BBC’s Royal Correspondent.