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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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... quite a lot of people actually, but not the readers of the popular (as in lower orders) press. Marion Crawford, 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, helped by the fact that a large war was going on ...

Henry James’s Christmas

P.N. Furbank, 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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... a letter to W.Morton Fullerton in 1902: ‘I would have written, if I could, like Anthony Hope and Marion Crawford.’ 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 the gullet and seems definitely ugly: I mean his ...

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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... child, unlike her dutiful elder sister. In that notorious book The Little Princesses, their nanny Marion Crawford, ‘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 royal wreath at her funeral. Margaret said ...

But You Married Him

Rosemary Hill: Princess Margaret and Lady Anne, 4 June 2020

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown 
by Anne Glenconner.
Hodder, 336 pp., £20, October 2019, 978 1 5293 5906 0
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... opportune. In the decades since Crawfie, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret’s governess Marion Crawford, was unceremoniously cut off by the royal family for publishing her recollections, The Little Princesses (1950), attitudes have not so much changed as gone into reverse. From the occasional discreet hint dropped by ‘palace sources’ to the ...

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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... 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 childhood misfortunes that marked him for life. After his ...

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