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It’s Mummie

Jenny Diski

16 December 1993
TheLittle Princesses 
by Marion Crawford, introduced by A.N. Wilson.
Duckworth, 128 pp., £14.99, November 1993, 0 7156 2497 0
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... dereliction of duty in favour of love (or whatever it was) until a week before the Abdication? Well, quite a lot of people actually, but not the readers of the popular (as in lower orders) press. MarionCrawford, governess to Lilibet and Margaret Rose, started the rot by ratting on her employers in 1950. Which means that, like liberated and consequence-free sex, the period of royal mystery was brief ...
19 July 1984
Henry James Letters. Vol. IV: 1895-1915 
edited by Leon Edel.
Harvard, 835 pp., £24, April 1984, 9780674387836
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... Shaw’s – yet he frankly also longed for a popular following and declared only half-jokingly in a letter to W.Morton Fullerton in 1902: ‘I would have written, if I could, like Anthony Hope and MarionCrawford.’ Public position, and an intense preoccupation with public opinion, are also the key to the one incident, in the life of this affectionate and (on the whole) generous man, that sticks in ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret

4 January 2018
Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... to their diaries to confide afterwards how awful she had been. She had been a wilful and mischievous child, unlike her dutiful elder sister. In that notorious book The Little Princesses, their nanny MarionCrawford, ‘Crawfie’, who looked after them for 15 years, described how she would mimic Lilibet’s methodical preparations for going to bed. Crawfie was never forgiven for the book. There was no ...

Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter

6 October 2011
The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... London is full of chickens on electric spits, Cooking in windows where the public pass. This, say the chickens, is their Auschwitz, And all poultry eaters are psychopaths. Porter’s mother, Marion, died suddenly when he was nine. An only child, born after his mother had had five miscarriages, he alluded to this trauma in poems written over at least five decades and saw it as the root of the ...

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