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The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen's Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford
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The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen's Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  373 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Once upon a time, in 1930s England, there were two little princesses named Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Their father was the Duke of York, the second son of King George V, and their Uncle David was the future King of England.

We all know how the fairy tale ended: When King George died, “Uncle David” became King Edward VIII---who abdicated less than a year later to marry the
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 10th 2003 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1950)
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Aug 05, 2009 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This book caused quite a scandal when it was published 50 years ago. It was the first real expose on the royal family. I enjoyed reading about little Queen Elizabeth's upbringing, especially how the royal family coped during WWII. Marion was her nanny up until Elizabeth's wedding day, but she was banished forever from the royal family after she wrote this book, which was sometime after Prince Charles was born. She was able to witness extraordinary events in Britain's history and I think this doc ...more
Nov 13, 2015 Rosemary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An inside look at the upbringing of the Princesses Elizabeth (current Queen of England) and Margaret Rose by their governess. This is a charming and intimate narrative of the life of England's royal family both before and after George VII became king, with an emphasis on the warm relationship between the parents and children. The abdication of Edward VIII, the transition to Buckingham Palace, the coronation of George VII, the difficulty of the war years, Elizabeth's engagement to Philip, and oth ...more
3.5 stars. This was really interesting to hear about queen Elizabeth from her teacher. The writing was a bit repetitive because it was adapted from a journal. Recommend!
Jamie Collins
In 1933 Marion Crawford was hired by the Duke and Duchess of York to be a governess for their children, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Crawford served the royal family for 17 years and after she retired, beloved by the royals but apparently not enriched by them, she wrote this memoir. They responded by shunning her for the rest of her life.

The book is undoubtedly a breach of their privacy, but a mild one by today's standards. There's nothing scandalous in it. Crawford appears to have been fo
Mary Playford
Mar 24, 2016 Mary Playford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful insight into Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret’s childhood. It was sad to see how cold they were towards their governess in the end. Her account about their upbringing was beautifully written. If this book was frown upon, I guess, the hint about Princess Margaret not being as smart as her sister is what the royals don’t want us to know. I don’t think that is a big deal.

I liked the bit during the war. I am not from that time period, so it was great to take a ride with
Feb 01, 2013 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible book. I had no idea of how "royalty" lived and this tells the tale. It is hugely adoring yet still the author was ostracized for it. That is also amazing. Details like castles being cold without central heat, for example, are fascinating. And the courtship of Elizabeth by Philip. Or Margaret's tempestuous personality. Just fascinating.
Mar 28, 2010 Leigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't believe it when I heard that Marion Crawford was shunned by the Royal Family after writing this is nothing if not a beautifully written, complimentary and loving portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose as children and of their family. I enjoyed it immensely.
Jun 27, 2009 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!!! I couldn't stop reading it (i read it in 1 evening), it was so interesting. It is written by the Queen's nanny and gives an insight into the Queen's childhood. I loved the close relationship between the Queen, her sister and her parent's.
Jan 31, 2017 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look into royal childhood life. A bit too "politically correct" to not offend the royals - wish it were more realistic and less perfect.
Feb 24, 2017 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Louise Culmer
Nov 22, 2011 Louise Culmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Marion Crawford was governess to Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret throughout their childhood and up until the time of Elizabeth's marriage. In 1950, she published this account of her years working for the royal family.

It is a charming book, full of interesting details about the family life of the royal family, and the characters of the two princesses. There are endearing pictures of the princesses at play, and enjoying a quiet and happy childhood with their parents when they were still j
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
I thoroughly enjoyed this gem. First published in 1950, it is the story of Marion Crawford, who was the nanny to Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Princess Margaret. It begins in 1932 when Marion, called Crawfie by Princess Elizabeth, joined the royal household of the, then, Duke and Duchess of York. Crawfie was 24, and came to be the princesses' teacher. She stayed with the royal family until the time of Prince Charles' birth in 1948.

The story is tender and revealing. The Duke and Duchess relis
Marika Alexander
This was quite an interesting read, written by the governess of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Marion Crawford first became governess when Elizabeth (or Lilibet, as she was called by her family) was 6 years old and Margaret 2. She stayed with the family until Elizabeth's marriage to Prince Phillip, including 5 years at Windsor Castle during World War I when the King and Queen resided at Buckingham Palace. They would join the children at Windsor on the weekends whenever possible.

As Elizabeth
Mary Ann
Mar 01, 2014 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Written with love and devotion for her two charges, the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, Marion Crawford - "Crawfie" - wrote a wonderful social commentary on their sweet childhood in Buckingham Palace. As their nanny and teacher she shares in the most enchanting way what life was really like for these two beautiful little girls - one to become Queen Elizabeth II. After so many exposes on the scandals, tribulations and trials of the Royals today, it seems unfathomable that when released in 1950 ...more
Jun 26, 2012 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a lovely little book written by the governess of the current Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret when they were wee small until Princess Elizabeth was married and a mother herself. The governess, Marion Crawford, was a sturdy Scottish lass who's greatest endeavor was to educate two little girls who would live public lives without conferring any special treatment or sense of superiority. Obviously, as Miss Crawford worked for the royal family for seventeen years, this is a v ...more
Leslie Goddard
May 29, 2016 Leslie Goddard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remains a delightful read and essential for understanding Elizabeth II's childhood. I found myself rushing to get back to this book whenever I had to leave it. Very enjoyable -- she's a great storyteller. What makes this book so compelling is that in telling engaging stories, she's revealing a lot about who Elizabeth (and Margaret) were. The royals did not treat Marion Crawford well after this book came out, and it was their great loss. Elizabeth's parents emerge as mostly unpretentious and quit ...more
Uco Library
Mar 12, 2013 Uco Library rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anita-hill
Such a fabulous book! Marion Crawford, at the age of 22, was hired to be the governess in charge of the education for Princesses Elizabeth, age 5 and Margaret Rose, age 1. At that time, their father, the Duke of York, being the second son of King George and Queen Mary was content with his position in the Royal family as it was his older brother, David that would one day become King. But when King David abdicated his throne to marry divorcee’ Mrs. Wallace Simpson, the Duke and Duchess of York wer ...more
Oct 02, 2013 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A beautiful memoir, but...
My great enjoyment of this book was marred when I found out details of its publication. The author, Marion Crawford, wrote and published it against the will of the royal family. She made a great deal of money, but lost the trust and friendship of those she'd been so close to. What a tragic situation!

Ironically, the memoir they didn't authorize made me feel unparalleled admiration and sympathy for Queen Elizabeth II and her family. When I read it to my girls someday, I'
Apr 13, 2016 Nate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, nonfiction
Marion Crawford's reminiscences about her time with the Queen and Princess Margaret caused a huge scandal after its publication. Honestly, I do not see why it caused so big of one. Yes, it was a breach of privacy never done before, but it was basic and so underwhelming that I feel it got more publicity after the royals reacted. The memories are very unharmful, talking about their life. No big revelations or secrets. Elizabeth was organized and Margaret was comical. The book was plain dull. They ...more
Christina Baehr
Dec 26, 2014 Christina Baehr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This vintage memoir by the governess of the future Queen and her sister was a wonderful way to introduce my young daughters to a lot of big concepts. They learned a lot of 20th century history through the experiences of these two little girls, to whom anything 'normal' was a rare treat - like a ride on the underground, swimming lessons, and being allowed into the celebratory crowds on VE Day. I was very surprised by many of the anecdotes. Elizabeth deer-stalking in her father's clothes due to cl ...more
Amy Isham
The first 'tell all' exclusive about the royal family was very tasteful and not at all salacious. The governess of the then Princess 'Lillibet' and Princess Margaret reveals the life in the fishbowl of royal children. I was interested in what sort of education a future queen of England receives and this didn't disappoint, as well as a cautious revelation of the little girls' characters. Also fascinating was the war time life of royalty, although referred to as 'frugal' by the governess as they m ...more
Jan 02, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read from my childhood that I picked up again after seeing 'The King's Speech' this week. I loved this memoir growing up and it's given me a life-long interest in the doings of the British royal family. Reading it again as an adult, it's easier to read between the lines and see how the two princesses' characters differed from an early age and how far the royal family was removed from average lives. It's also impossible to read it without wondering in Marion Crawford really understoo ...more
Apr 12, 2012 Lili rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gentle insight into the lives of two young children, who happened to be royal princesses, written by their much loved former governess and containing some lovely photographs. This was a childhood read and it enthralled me at the time.

I've re-read it again recently and of course years later I now know how Marion Crawford was treated by the Royal Family following the release of the book and I am no longer enthralled, as I once was, by the princesses. Instead as I re-read the book it left me won
May 06, 2016 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a biography written by the former governess of the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.It is probably more of a memoir, as it is written about her experiences with the princesses. She became governess to the girls when they were five and two and their parents were still the Duke and Duchess of York. The Duke, of course, goes on to become King George VI. Ms. Crawford tried to bring some "normality" to the girls: they had swimming lessons and were girl guides for a time. the information abou ...more
Sugary sweet expose of princess Elizabeth and her sister by their former governess. This book was never sanctioned by the royal family, and even though it seems nothing but kind tales about them I could see why they never spoke to Crawfy again after this was published. All in all, it was a quick read. The book, however, felt scattered and patched together with short stories and thoughts about her time with the family. Even the last page ended so abruptly that it seemed like she decided she neede ...more
Nov 09, 2008 Lotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have any interest in British royalty (me!), you will enjoy this firsthand account of the childhood years of Princesses Elizabeth (now Queen) and Margaret. Published in 1950, this book written by the girls' governess soon after leaving the royal employ, caused ties to be completely cut between the royal family and their former governess. She had lived with them for 16 years and her betrayal was felt deeply. My intrigue was somewhat dampened by the voyeuristic feel of the book - seems painf ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once upon a time, before there was Queen Elizabeth II, lived two princesses, Lilibet and Margaret. They lived in houses, and castles, and palaces; their grandfather was the King, then their uncle, then their own father. There was a world war, with bombings and rationing. There were travels with their parents and lessons with their governess, the author of this book. Lilibet grows up and meets a prince of her own, and there is a royal wedding and a baby prince. Published in 1950, this little slic ...more
I think this book is just SO sweet, romantic, harmless, exceedingly polite . . . and very interesting in that I couldn't help but wonder what Marion Crawford was REALLY thinking and feeling about the royal family and her role in their daily lives for so many years. But then again, I don't think I would want to know. Part of me understands why the family was upset with her Story -- it wasn't so much what she said, but just the fact that she said it. But, in any event, there's much here on the sur ...more
Sheila Hansberger
The author, Marion Crawford, writes of her years as governess to English princesses, Margaret and Elizabeth. In this true account, she provides insights as to how the royal family lived day to day. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that it is sweetly, delicately written, the royal family turned their backs on Crawford as though she had betrayed them when the book was first published in 1950.

But times have changed. In today's world of paparazzi and tell-alls by the hired help, this story seems
Jan 16, 2013 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, written by Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood nanny is a near and dear favorite of mine. I re-read it in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and the glimpses into HM’s upbringing (at the same time revealing and respectful) never fail to endear me to her further. Sadly, the author was ostracized from the Royal Family for what was seen as a violation of their trust and invasion of their privacy. I would venture to guess that HM views its publication much more kindly in light of al ...more
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Teacher, governess, and author. After Crawford graduated from Edinburgh University she became an English teacher and governess to children of the British aristocracy. From 1933 to 1950 she worked for the British royal family as governess of Princess Elizabeth, future Queen of England, and her sister Princess Margaret. Crawford's best-selling book about the experience, The Little Princesses, was di ...more
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