NOVEMBER 3, 1954
EN ROUTE TO LOS ANGELES, Tuesday—I had a busy day in New York on Monday but got away in the late afternoon and reached Hyde Park in time for a long night's sleep.
Early Tuesday morning I went to the polls to vote and returned home to receive the Queen Mother Elizabeth and her party when they arrived to lunch with me at my cottage.
Many things that the Queen Mother does here must have some sadness connected with them, but I am sure this visit to Hyde Park, so different from the one when she came with the King in 1939, must have a particular undertone of sadness. I deeply appreciate Her Majesty's willingness to come and give me this opportunity to see her since, of course, I realize only too well how full every minute of her time has been.
Coming to visit me is a sign of loyalty to the past but the Queen Mother and I both know that one must live in the present. She has taken up her duties since her husband died and gone on with all the dedication members of the British royal family have so long shown in their obligations to their country. Queen Mary in her long life gave every member of her family a remarkable example to follow. She never seemed to falter in her duty to the nation.
It was a great personal pleasure for me to see the Queen Mother again. She has such winning charm and sweetness and in spite of all the necessary hedging-in that must exist where royalty are concerned, she manages to be a real person with all the normal interests and much more understanding of the life of the ordinary human being than is expected by those who approach her with considerable awe.
I once heard someone, who had had the pleasure of being received by Her Majesty in England, say:
"She was so understanding. She seemed to know exactly how to make us feel at ease." Since the speaker was a representative from a foreign country it was a real tribute, and I have found over and over again that this gift of making people from other lands feel at ease is a very remarkable achievement. When you are in a foreign land, where habits and customs are different, it takes real warmth and understanding on the part of your hosts to make the atmosphere an easy and pleasant one.
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I have just finished reading a book called "The Dark Child," by Camara Laye. It is the story of a young boy's life in Africa and his final departure for further education in a foreign land. It is a very moving story, and one, I think, which people who are not acquainted with African peoples should read.