All her young life growing up in Scotland, Marion Crawford has dreamt of being a teacher and the scholarship she had recently won would cover most of her costs which her widowed mother could ill afford. Now, her mother cannot believe her daughter would jeopardize her chance of going to the Moray Training College for a three-month summer job as a governess in far-off London. Marion thinks the summer job would give her good experience and she vows she will be back in time.
The train journey to London in 1931 was long and tiring, so by the time Marion arrives at the Royal Lodge in Berkshire, she is exhausted. Awakened the next morning by the whispers of two little girls, Marion opens her eyes to the round faces of little Margaret and Lilibet who want her to join them for breakfast in the nursery. From that moment on, she is hooked and she is theirs forever!
It was only to be a summer job as Governess to the two little princesses; yet for the next sixteen years, Marion (affectionately called Crawfie) devotes her life and happiness to her charges from their early and delightful years, their parents becoming King and Queen of England, right through their teenage angst to Elizabeth falling in love with Prince Philip of Greece and her determination to marry him. Crawfie only wants what is best for Elizabeth even if others disagree.
To me, there is nothing more enchanting than to read a familiar story told in a fresh and authentic manner and Tessa Arlen’s latest book, IN ROYAL SERVICE TO THE QUEEN, is the quintessence expression of this ideal experience. With its focus on the lively and spirited Crawfie, the lives and life of living with the Royal family is brilliantly described through the eyes, feelings, and perspectives of this young governess who also struggles with her own personal needs and desire for love. I have followed the lives of the Royal Family since childhood and have read all the news articles, seen the newsreels, and read the books, but I still had to read late into the night just to see how things turn out for Marion. IN ROYAL SERVICE TO THE QUEEN is one of the best accounts I have ever read for truthfully expressing the various motivations and feelings of the people involved.
IN ROYAL SERVICE TO THE QUEEN is both a heartwarming and heartbreaking story of love, trust, betrayal, and deep courage. Arlen is a very gifted writer and she beautifully illustrates the joys and travails of the palace staff who are so intimately linked with various members of the Royal family as you read the “behind the scenes” accounts of many famous and well-known situations along with other lesser-known incidents. From Marion’s account, it is easy to understand why King George VI always called Margaret his “Joy” and Elizabeth “his Pride”.
If you enjoy “The Crown” or historical fiction; then, you will surely relish “the truer real stuff” that is so wonderfully integrated into Tessa Arlen’s historical fiction! So as the Brits say, “keep calm" and get your copy of this royal treat! You will be very glad you did!
The revealing story of Queen Elizabeth II's beloved governess, Marion Crawford, who spent sixteen years of her life in loyal service to the royal family and was later shunned by those she has loved and served.
Marion Crawford can remember each of the wonderful sixteen years when she was governess to the little Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose: included in their lives, confided in, needed, trusted, and loved. These memories will never dim, ever. In Marion's mind, she will always be their Crawfie.
But things become increasingly complicated as the young royals navigate adulthood. It is May 1945 and Princess Elizabeth--the heiress presumptive to the British throne--has fallen in love, and the only member of her family who is happy for her is her governess. No one in the young princess's life thinks that Prince Philip of Greece would be a suitable husband for the future Queen of England. No one that is, except for Marion Crawford.
Crawfie wholeheartedly supports Elizabeth in her determination to marry Philip. She too has fallen in love--and has convinced her fiancée, George, that they must wait for Elizabeth and Philip to receive the King's blessing before she can leave her service to the Crown.
Over the next two years Crawfie is caught between loyalty to Princess Elizabeth; running the risk of alienating her royal employer, Queen Elizabeth; and losing the man she loves. But as Crawfie prevails to marry George and stands with him in Westminster Abbey on Elizabeth and Philip's wedding day, she is unaware that her troubled relationship with Queen Elizabeth is far from over. And just around the corner is a betrayal that will sever her bond with the royal family forever.