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As a young couple, they socialised at parties, the theatre and at home with the newly married Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth. Today, aged 95, Eileen is living in a care home, supported by her family and friends. As our hired limousine glided up the wide avenue of the Mall, my husband, Mike, and I peered out at the swarming crowd cheering our progress. All of London was being drawn in the same direction. July Inside the Palace, under the sparkling chandeliers, sipping champagne, the family of cousins representing the crowned he of Europe was gathering for its biggest celebration since the downfall of Nazi Buckingham PA cheating wives.
The busy life of a Wren on a succession of Scottish naval bases had broadened my social outlook and made me better at handling my shyness, but how was one to supposed to cope with a glittering reunion of royalty? Was my hair all right?
My ballgown? It was an off-the-shoulder de in white satin from a Glasgow department store. The effect I had been aiming for was the only one possible at a time of strict postwar rationing — neat and simple. But perhaps I was looking too neat, too simple? The car drew up under a porch. A footman in state livery came forward. Mike sensed my nervousness and, with a soft word, squeezed my arm reassuringly. I adjusted the corsage of flowers at my shoulder and stepped for the first time on to the red carpet of Buckingham Palace.
In the queue waiting to be presented, I was admiring the splendour of the gilt decoration and handsome furniture when I heard our names being called and with a deep breath walked towards the Royal Family.
George VI was shorter than I had anticipated, not much taller than my own 5ft 3in. Mike had warned me not to prompt him if he ran into difficulties with his stammer, nor to speak unless spoken to first. I felt my arms and legs fail me as Mike steered me on to the empty dance floor.
Buckingham PA cheating wives we went, instinctively in step with the music, just as we had danced so many times before. Luckily, it was a foxtrot, one of my favourites. Often, we ed them on their weekly visits to a private cinema in Piccadilly at the invitation of film producer Sir Alexander Korda. Alongside the newlyweds Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth, the party would normally include the King and Queen and Princess Margaret and they took huge delight in seeing themselves in the newsreels. Princess Margaret was always very sharp-witted when it came to ing in the commentaries.
Still a teenager, she Buckingham PA cheating wives breaking the rules by propping her feet on the seat in front until reprimanded by King George, a performance she repeated week after week. This close proximity to royalty was as alien to Mike as it was to me. Born in Melbourne inthe son of a retired naval officer, he ed the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 14 and transferred to the Royal Navy when he was I grew up on the opposite coast, in the small town of Troon, and we were relatively well off, my father being a successful manufacturer of steel ropes for the Glasgow shipbuilding industry.
Some sort of Greek prince. I well remember thinking what a handsome man Philip of Greece was — tall, with piercing blue eyes and a shock of blond hair swept back from his forehead. I was not surprised to hear that every Wren on the base had her sights on him.
Later, the two of them saw action off the coasts of Burma and Sumatra and Mike would come to regard Prince Philip as his closest wartime friend. Even so, we were amazed when in Julyfollowing the announcement that he and Princess Elizabeth were engaged, he sent Mike a letter inviting him to his staff. However, he was not required to take up his post until after the royal wedding. On the night before the ceremony, Prince Philip held his stag night at the Dorchester Hotel and Mike got back to our room at about 1am, bursting to tell me about what had clearly turned into quite a boisterous affair.
In response, his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten said they could take as many as they wanted, provided they first handed their cameras over to let the guests take pictures of the photographers. Tit for tat. After taking a few shots, the camera flashbulbs were smashed on the floor, putting a dramatic full-stop to any more photography. Our seats for the wedding in Westminster Abbey the next day were only six rows from the front.
Then we saw her, radiant, the King by her side and her retinue of s keeping watch on the long train of her gown, shimmering with the thousands of seed pearls and crystals embroidered on to it. While Clarence House was being refurbished as a residence for the newlyweds, they divided their time between Buckingham Palace, where they carried out their administrative duties during the week, and Windlesham Moor, a comfortable but not imposing house in Surrey which was their country retreat.
They began staying at Windlesham at the end of January and, before long, Mike and I were invited to lunch there, along with our son, Michael, who was three by then. By coincidence, Prince Philip was at the front door when we pulled up.
The driver, eyes wide with amazement, hardly recollected himself sufficiently to ask for his fare as Prince Philip greeted us. After lunch, Mike and Prince Philip disappeared into the garden where some cricket nets had been set up and the Princess and I found common ground in chatting about our war service.
The Princess kept a bowl of sugar cubes on the coffee table and enjoyed feeding them to the dogs, who gobbled them up and wagged their tails for more. Susan was the current favourite, but one had to be careful; she was known to give an unexpected nip to the ankles if she was feeling moody.
Back in London, Mike needed me by his side, often at very short notice, should the royal couple decide on a semi-official night out. I had just stepped out of the bath.
With barely time to get into an evening dress and improvise make-up, I arrived with my hair still wet and was so flustered and out of breath that I forgot the steps of one of my favourite Scottish dances, the eightsome reel. Prince Philip tactfully guided me through by taking a strong lead and, with a certain amount of pushing and pulling, managed to steer us through safely. On other occasions, the Prince would ask Mike to book theatre tickets, again usually at the last minute.
Of course, there was never any problem getting them and the four of us would arrive just as the lights were going down, with Mike and I sitting one on either side and the royal couple between us. On these occasions, Princess Elizabeth was quick at recognising other famous people. Such occasions were a rare opportunity to converse away from the ever watchful eyes of the royal servants.
When I confided that I, too, was expecting a second child, Prince Philip took this as his cue to haul Mike off to the cricket nets again. And she was impatient to have those children. With them, she would have acquired all she really wanted — to live in the country Buckingham PA cheating wives by lots of horses and dogs and, most important, a family to raise.
Yet I pondered how much of a price any princess might be willing to pay in order to bring her children up like the rest of us. Given our modest circumstances, choosing a wedding present for the royal couple presented a particular challenge. Our dilemma over the wedding gift was a foretaste of what was to become a familiar conundrum. Usually when a present was required, Mike and I gave the Princess scent. Majie by Lancome was a favourite for a long time.
For Prince Philip, who loved any device which saved time or provided amusement, Mike would unearth some novel piece of gadgetry. We were then living in a tiny two-bedroomed flat at the top of a three-storey block in Kensington, West London.
One day, the phone rang just as I was putting supper in the oven. It was Mike, cheerfully announcing he had invited a surprise guest. I groaned. As I whipped my macaroni cheese out of the oven and fluffed it with a fork to make it look more generous, there was a knock on the door.
I opened it and there stood the Prince. Something cropped up. The rooms were in the usual chaos. Michael had only just been tucked into Buckingham PA cheating wives and his toys were strewn out everywhere. Prince Philip followed me into the kitchen, and looked around it only took five seconds then went to make himself at home while I rustled up the glasses. He sat down heavily on the chair in front of it and the shade fell on his head. He roared with laughter.
It had been snowing all day and was bitterly cold. Our only heating was a two-bar electric fire. When Mike finally arrived, the three of us huddled in front of it, thawing out with pink gins and eating my macaroni cheese off our laps. Prince Philip seemed completely at home with what must have been meagre fare compared with Buckingham Palace.
It developed into a most enjoyable evening as, once again, I recognised in our guest the affable young officer I had met in Rosyth, full of banter and naval yarning. Whatever the workload, Prince Philip and Mike were never too busy for the occasional morale-boosting prank. Once, Mike procured a load of mini-explosives that went off with a vicious bang.
He and Prince Philip used to set these off within the Palace walls until the King himself complained and gave them a mild dressing down. A few times, returning from these late-night strolls, they were locked out and Mike would have to give Prince Philip a hand to get him over the Palace wall. Once, they went swimming in the Palace pool after a late dinner and the servant in charge inadvertently locked them in.
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