Hodder & Stoughton to publish unseen diaries of Princess Elizabeth's close friend

Hodder & Stoughton to publish unseen diaries of Princess Elizabeth's close friend

Previously unseen diaries of Alathea Fitzalan Howard, who spent the war years alongside the Royal family at Windsor, are to be published by Hodder & Stoughton. 

Publisher Rowena Webb and editorial consultant Tom Perrin acquired world rights to The Windsor Diaries which will be published on 8th October 2020. 

The diaries have been acquired directly from Howard's family. As a widow, Howard grew close to her nephew Philip Naylor-Leyland and his wife, Isabella, and when she died in 2001 she left her personal archives to Isabella, including the 64 diaries, letters, invitations and photographs. 

In 1940, at the age of 16, Howard was sent out of London to live with her widowed grandfather, a distinguished statesman, Viscount Fitzalan of Derwent, at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. During her time there, she spent "a lot" of time with then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret who had also been sent to Windsor. Howard had also spent time with Princess Elizabeth in London before the war, as they attended Guides and dance classes at Buckingham Palace.

The Windsor Diaries record the author's daily life with the royal family. The diaries are said to shed a new light on the princesses and contain detail which is "not to be found in royal biographies." Depicting regular Saturday films at the castle, balls, parties for Canadian soldiers, pantomimes with local school children and evacuees and lessons with their governess, Crawfie. 

The Queen Mother also features in the diaries and her "legendary charm is very evident." The King is shown as a family man, Howard and the princesses dance with him, and the new diaries are said to "shed new light on the Queen's enduring love for her father."

Isabella Naylor-Leyland said: "The diaries are full of details of life with the princesses at Windsor but also tell Alathea’s own story, which can be both harrowing and occasionally very funny. The diaries were her refuge and show that she loved writing. I hope that by publishing I am honouring her wish."