AUGUST 3, 1950
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Yesterday, I finished the most charming book written by Marion Crawford, known affectionately by her two young people as "Crawfie". The book is called "The Little Princesses" and is the story of Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose of England. The book covers their lives from their earliest school days through to Princess Elizabeth's marriage and Princess Margaret Rose's final departure from the school room.
It is written with the hope of bringing greater understanding between the people of Great Britain and the people of the United States and certainly the telling of this charming story will increase the understanding of the people of the United States about British royalty, and the reasons why their people believe in having a king or queen at the head of their country.
The present King and Queen of England were a happy and almost carefree young couple until it became their duty to be the King and Queen. This duty came just as their country was about to enter a trial by fire. They stood up well under the ordeal, and had the complete confidence and backing of their people. They were trusted and respected, and they gave trust and respect to their people. They could have gone to live in the Dominions when they knew the threat of invasion was so close, but just as it did not occur to the people of Great Britain that they could not fight an invasion, so it did not occur either to the King and Queen that they could leave their people.
Some British children left their parents for greater safety overseas, but the little Princesses could not leave without their mother, and their mother could not leave the King, and so they were moved out of London, but not far. They saw little of their parents but still they were in the same country, and as you read this book you can well understand the gratitude the King and Queen felt for the wise care and discipline, and the good times which Miss Crawford managed to bring in to the daily lives of the children in spite of all the bombing.
You can see too, how well the royal family shared the burden of rationing and various other types of discomfort with their people.
Who knows what might have happened in Britain had they not set such a wonderful example during those long and dreary days of war. And even after hostilities ended so many of the hardships still persisted.
One of the things that struck me most in this book was a remark towards the end which indicated that after sixteen years spent in the royal household, Miss Crawford could still say she never heard doors banged in anger, or voices raised in ugly quarrels against each other. How many families anywhere can look back on happiness and good feeling of that kind, and how many parents can hand it on to their children as an example for them to follow as they start their own homes.
This is a wholesome little book which will give many of us an idea too of the difficulties that come to people whose lives are always in the public eye and who can enjoy practically no privacy. It is true there are compensations, and quite evidently Princess Elizabeth has the kind of character that will search for the compensations and find them, and the people of Great Britain may be grateful that the present King and Queen will be followed by such a well balanced and wise young heir.