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We visit some prestigious locations on the Antiques Roadshow,
from grand country estates
to iconic institutions like Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club.
But, you know, it's not every day
we get an invitation to a Royal palace,
so tonight you're in for a treat
as we set up our cameras at Kensington Palace
for a special Diamond Jubilee edition of the Antiques Roadshow
to celebrate 60 years of our Queen on the throne.
Last year we appealed to you for Royal stories,
intimate glimpses into the life of the Queen.
Well, we had more responses than we could ever have hoped for -
hundreds of eye-witness accounts
of special moments in the life of Elizabeth II.
Tonight we can share a handful with you, spanning the Queen's life
from childhood to the present day - a kind of This is Your Life, Ma'am.
Our venue today is Kensington Palace,
home to Royal residents since the late 1600s
and most significantly it was the birthplace and childhood home
of the only other British monarch to celebrate 60 years on the throne.
Queen Victoria held her first cabinet meeting in Kensington Palace
on the 20th June 1837, aged just 18,
a few hours after learning she was the monarch.
Victoria reigned for 63 years,
and like her great-great-granddaughter,
her reign spanned periods of great change.
You can stroll through many of Victoria's State Apartments here,
in a new exhibition which charts the story of her life.
Festivities for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
took place across the nation,
echoed 115 years later by the recent celebrations for our current Queen.
And that's our cue to begin this special edition,
as experts Hilary Kay, Clive Farahar, Judith Miller,
Marc Allum and Philip Mould
meet viewers with their own special stories
celebrating the life of the Queen.
Our first story is about a birthday gift from the people of Wales.
I'm so lucky to be able to start the programme
talking about Princess Elizabeth, aged 6,
and the little Welsh cottage that was built
two-fifths scale - not this one,
which is a doll's house version -
but two-fifths scale Welsh cottage built for her
at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, and there's a lovely picture here.
We've got the Duchess and the Duke and Elizabeth here
and Margaret Rose, surrounded by dogs of assorted types and,
you know, lovely family scene.
Now, what's your story and your link to it?
Well, my father was foreman
when the cottage was transported to the grounds of the Royal Lodge
and he was responsible for building the walls
and making sure the bay windows were in correctly,
siting the cottage and all the finishing touches.
Brilliant, and there's a lovely photographic record, isn't it?
Presumably, this is your Pa down here, is it?
Yes, yes, it is here,
and here is standing in the doorway of the completed cottage.
Great, and this one here,
which gives a lovely indication of the scale,
because there's your dad. He was sort of normal dad height, was he?
That's right, that's right, yes.
And you can see he's way taller than the little front door,
and the little Welsh house.
Now I'm going to try and say it in Welsh. Y Bwthyn...
Y Bwthyn Bach gwae-aeth.
There'll be letters! But it's the best I can do.
So, from his point of view, it was something he saw as a high point in his career.
Absolutely, especially when he was working and the Duchess -
she was the Duchess of York then - she would come round
and just see how work was going and chat to him, quite regularly, so.
Well, one hears a lot about the Duchess -
the Queen Mother as she went on to be - she was incredibly warm.
So you have made it your business
to collect around the little Welsh cottage
and have other things to do with it,
and I notice here there's a lovely card based on a watercolour,
but what is great is it's a very early card because inside -
it's a Christmas card - "To Mary",
and it's signed, in her hand, "From Lilibet".
-As, of course, Her Majesty called herself
and as her close friends still call her.
And do you know who Lady Mary is?
Lady Mary Cambridge went on to be
one of her bridesmaids at her wedding.
So that's that connection.
So the other accessories that we have here -
the little house - that came later?
Or is that something you purchased or...?
We found it and we just wanted to buy it,
-simply because it was a replica of the cottage.
But I would say the most valuable piece that you've brought along here
is actually the little signed Christmas card from Lilibet,
because today, a retail price for that would be about £750.
So...a lovely remembrance of a little girl
who just so loved what your father had created for her.
So, not many people can say
that their mother actually played with the Queen.
It sounds like a dance song, doesn't it?
But not many people can say that.
-No, that's true.
-And so how does your mother know the Queen?
Well, our grandfather was the head gamekeeper to the Earl of Strathmore,
the Queen Mother's father,
and our grandmother was the head cook.
-So here they are, your grandfather and your grandmother.
-She was the Mrs Bridges, was she?
-And who's this at the top?
-That's my mother with Zena.
-And who is that?
-And that's me.
-Oh, that's you?
-As a little girl.
-Haven't you grown?
Oh, that's lovely! Anyway these are the Strathmore family here,
all looking very dour, I suppose, and the Queen Mother.
-Looking rather lovely on the end, and this photograph,
a wonderful one of all the people from the kitchen,
-with your grandmother over there.
-That's correct, yes.
So tell me about this playing. How did it occur?
Well, the Queen used to be brought by her nanny to play on the farm,
when she was a little girl, about five or six, and my mother
and the Queen and Princess Margaret were one day playing
near the farm duck pond and the Queen used to take charge of the games.
Oh, she was in charge?
Yes, that's right, and one day they were playing a naval game
and they were making little boats out of twigs and leaves
and floating them on the duck pond and they scribed a little channel
to a harbour that they'd constructed out of the mud in a nearby pond
and then they went off to their lunch - they were called away.
And then, sometime later in the afternoon,
there was a big commotion outside,
and my mother went outside to find her father very angry
because the pond had been emptied, all the water
had drained out of it, by this little channel that they'd scribed.
So the whole thing had been sort of scuppered.
-That's right, yes, and flooded the lane.
-So who got into trouble?
My mother, because of being one year older than the others,
went to bed for her sins and when the nanny got to hear about this...
-Who was the nanny?
-Clara Knight, she was known by the Princesses as Alla.
-I think it's because they couldn't say "Clara".
And so she sent down a book that had belonged to the Queen.
So this book here? This book here, this lovely Aesop's Fables.
-With illustrations by Edward Detmold.
-They are the most wonderful illustrations,
typically Edwardian I suppose, very strong, very bright, very brilliant.
But you know what I'm going to say about this book, don't you?
It's not in good condition.
It's been enjoyed far too much.
-By the Princesses, by your mother.
A fine copy would make around £500-£600.
Your poor copy here would make less than a hundred,
probably about £20-£30 or something but,
with the Royal connection,
that would go for considerably more than a fine copy.
-Thank you, thank you.
-You're welcome. Thank you.
Royal duty started early. At the tender of age of 14,
Princess Elizabeth - as she was then - made her first state broadcast.
-And it was with your father, wasn't it?
With, of course, the very famous Uncle Mac of Children's Hour.
-And did he talk to you about it?
Well, he was very excited afterwards.
I don't remember beforehand. I guess he was quite nervous.
-Because you were very small then.
-I was seven, yes.
I can just about remember.
It must have been a very important moment for him.
I think it was probably the highlight of his career, I would think.
And, of course, Children's Hour
broadcast to the nation, across the Empire.
And what were his opening words?
-"Hello, children, everywhere".
This is the princesses here.
-Princess Elizabeth brought her sister to listen.
Yes, and in the speech she says at the very end,
"Now, come along, Margaret, come and say good night"
She says, "Goodnight, children." as well.
-Now, we've got the broadcast here on a 78.
-We have, yes.
By the magic of technology we have got it now on a slightly more
-high-tech version, and we can listen to it.
So this is your father, Uncle Mac, starting off,
and the Queen just 14 years old.
RECORD PLAYS: Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth.
In wishing you all good evening,
I feel that I am speaking to friends and companions
who have shared with my sister and myself,
many a happy Children's Hour.
Thousands of you in this country
have had to leave your homes
and be separated from your fathers and mothers.
It's just adorable, isn't it, hearing her voice so young?
Of course, this was 1940 when she made this speech,
so children being evacuated and this was her speech to comfort
-the children of the nation and of the empire.
-So here you are, this is you two, presumably?
-It is, yes.
-With Uncle Mac, with Dad.
Did your father tell you anything about when he met the princesses and what they were like?
Well, the fact they were two sisters.
And somebody asked me this question
and I think he was used to having two girls
and it was just two little girls, more or less the same age as his own.
And presumably the broadcast, even with Princess Elizabeth,
ended with the words that he always ended with.
Let's hear it from you two.
"Good night, children, everywhere."
Come on, Margaret.
Good night, children.
Good night and good luck to you all.
We're used to thinking of our Queen in very regal attire
but when she was Princess Elizabeth, during the Second World War,
she wore something quite different. How do you know about this?
Well, during the war she actually wore military uniform
because she attended a course at Camberley,
all to do with motor transport and driving, and Highway Code,
and she was in the ATS, which is the Auxiliary Territorial Service,
and one of the other people on this course was my mother.
This is the Queen and that's my mother.
And this was very unusual for a member of the Royal Family,
particularly a female, to attend a public course.
And this is your mum's diary?
Yes, she wrote a day-by-day diary and if I just read some of it.
"The Commandant told us that we had the honour to be picked
"to attend a cadre course with the Princess Elizabeth for three weeks."
So what did the course involve?
Well, everything to do with motor transport.
How to change a tyre, how to change the plugs.
I believe at one point she went home and told her father,
the King, that she could now decoke an engine which I think is probably
a little exuberant, but anyway, you know,
but by the end of it she could change a wheel with the best of them.
Obviously the Queen held this period in her life with great affection
-because we have a lovely photograph here.
There was an advert in one of the magazines saying,
"If you attended this course please would you write in."
So my mother did and they were invited up to...
I think it was Eaton Square.
They arrived and then a big black car pulled up,
the Queen got out and they had a really good chinwag
and bun fight and what-have-you and thoroughly enjoyed it.
And of course this is the Queen and your mum.
My mother is the one in blue.
The one in blue, so very fond memories obviously of that time
and the Queen kept in touch.
Yes, my mother was taken ill, oh, what, three or four years ago,
and somehow the Queen heard about it
and we received this lovely letter.
And she says, "Her Majesty thinks about those times in war
"when you were both serving together at Camberley." A lovely touch.
These are great memories and here we have to put a value on things.
And obviously this is much more a sentiment than anything else,
but certainly some of these photographs...
and I know you have about 30 of the photographs of Princess Elizabeth,
these would be worth at least £100 each but, of course,
to you, the story of your mother's involvement is much more important.
I'm proud of my mother.
A 21st birthday is a very important birthday.
Princess Elizabeth spent her 21st birthday on HMS Vanguard in 1947.
What was she doing on HMS Vanguard in 1947?
Well, the Royal Family were doing a cruise to South Africa.
I think it was probably a last attempt
to try to keep South Africa within the Commonwealth.
But she happened to have her 21st birthday
while we were actually in Cape Town.
So explain your connection with HMS Vanguard to me.
Well, I was Senior Sub-Lieutenant. I was "Sub of the Gun Rooms".
How did that work?
With the King, the Queen and two princesses walking round the decks?
Yes, well, they kept very much to their own part of the ship.
Because they didn't want to embarrass all of us at our work,
but I mean they mixed very freely
and talked very freely with ship's company.
Well, I can see that from your album
because here are some photographs
and this is the crossing the line ceremony, isn't it?
Yes, that's right.
You have this kind of ceremonial shaving as you cross the equator
and here is the Princess herself undergoing that ritual.
Now how far did that ceremony go?
Well, yes, Princess Elizabeth got blasted with it and shaved
-and jumped into the pool.
That's quite amazing. Also there's what appears to be
a kind of a cake decoration, can you explain to me what that is?
Yes, well, that came off her 21st birthday cake
and I sucked all the icing off the stalk
but, I mean, it's...
I've kept it stuck in an album ever since.
So there you were eating a bit of birthday cake,
were you with a few of your colleagues?
Well, it was a huge party and, of course,
I was just one of hundreds of people who were there.
I think you're hiding your light under a bushel a bit,
to be honest, because there's a wonderful letter that says,
"Dear Mr Davidson," - of course that's you -
"It is most kind of you to invite us
"to come to the gun room on Saturday
"and we shall look forward very much indeed to our visit.
"I am yours, very sincerely, Elizabeth R."
What in fact was the gun room?
The gun room was the mess for the Sub-Lieutenants and Midshipmen.
-They had a nice little drink and they actually organised
some of the Midshipmen into a choir, a Russian choir.
Right. Sounds like such a fun time.
Yeah, well, they were very entertaining and full of fun.
Well, I think given the plethora of material in here,
given that very lovely little signed letter,
I have no hesitation in saying that probably,
for insurance purposes, it should be around about the £800 mark.
Mm, oh, well, I'd better do something about it.
-Thank you very much, Marc.
Take a look at this photograph.
This is the first time, captured on film, that Elizabeth met Philip.
Now, this was when Princess Elizabeth was just 13,
and there's Philip of course - the future Prince Philip -
who was at Dartmouth Royal Naval College
when Princess Elizabeth and her family were paying a visit.
And this is the moment,
according to Royal folklore anyway, where the romance began.
And our story moves now to their wedding
and Hilary Kay has with her a visitor
who played a very special role on that day.
I'm sitting here with somebody
who actually had a hand in stitching Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress.
Now, you were working at Norman Hartnell, presumably?
One should explain that Norman Hartnell was THE name
-as a society dressmaker and couturier, wasn't he?
-Oh, he was.
-He was the royal dressmaker.
-You were a mere slip of a girl.
Tell me how you got involved on the wedding dress.
Well, I was bring trained under Norman Hartnell's senior hand,
and I remember Norman Hartnell coming to our workroom,
coming to our table, with the sketch
that Princess Elizabeth had chosen for her wedding dress,
and he said to Miss Holiday, "Would you please make her wedding dress?"
Miss Holiday hesitated and we said,
"Oh, please, please!" So she said,
-"Yes, I will. I will take it on"
And I had to do the buttonholes, make the buttonholes.
Now, you've got a wonderful scrapbook here,
and I swear that I saw amongst these, some buttonholes, here.
Now, how many of these buttonholes did you have to do
on the finished garment? Were there dozens?
Well, there were 20 down the back because her dress fastened that way.
-And I had never worked with buttonholes before,
so Miss Holiday said, "Well, you sit there and you practise."
And they were two of the practice buttonholes.
And I made the buttons as well.
And you covered the... they're self-covered buttons.
Yes, they are the same material, yes, as the wedding dress.
Fabulous! Now, skimming on in this wonderful album of yours, there is this fabulous photograph.
-Now, this is presumably Hartnell's workroom.
And, look, there's a circle, a blue circle round somebody here.
Could this be you, Betty?
And how many of your fellow seamstresses,
who worked on the dress, are still around and telling the story?
We can't get in touch with anyone else. I don't know. I have tried.
So you're the last living treasure, are you?
I'm the last, yes. The last one alive and kicking I would think.
And then, did you see it on the day?
I did, and we did have a lovely position to see
the Royal procession and I remember seeing Princess Elizabeth
wearing that dress that I'd worked on,
and she looked absolutely wonderful
in her tiara, sitting next to her father - the King.
It was lovely, it was lovely.
Well, I mean it's difficult to put a value on a collection like this,
because after all, they are just little snippets.
-Altogether, we're talking about a figure of between perhaps £500
-Oh, that sounds very nice!
Which is very nice but it's fabulous, Betty.
Thank you for telling your story
and as the last living treasure
to have stitched this dress in Norman Hartnell's workroom.
-It's been an absolute joy.
-A pleasure talking to you, thank you.
Is this really a piece of the Queen's wedding cake?
Yes, it really, really is a piece of the Queen's wedding cake.
My granddad, Cyril Edwards,
was part of the Guard of Honour for the Queen's wedding.
I can see we've got a couple of photographs of him here in uniform.
How did he get chosen to be in that Guard of Honour?
We're not a hundred per cent sure.
We know that he was on a ship with the Duke of Edinburgh
and we don't actually know whether he was invited
whilst he was still on active service, or whether it was after,
but there's a group of petty officers, the Guard of Honour there.
It's interesting, isn't it, to think
that there's a piece of cake in there
-that is well over 60 years old.
-60 years old, yeah.
This particular cake was rather interesting
because it almost didn't happen.
Just post-war, of course,
rationing was still in force.
There was an interesting solution to that.
I think when this became a little bit of an issue,
the ingredients came from somewhere else.
Do you know where they came from?
-I don't, no.
-Well, they came from Australia.
-And the Girl Guides of Australia
sent all the ingredients over
for the wedding cake.
It was known as the 10,000 mile wedding cake.
It was nine foot tall and weighed over 500lbs.
Let's have a look at your piece
because it'll only be a little piece.
Here it is, in its original wrapping.
we open it up - got some tissue - look at the tissue,
and we've even got some decorations from the top of the cake.
-How wonderful, look at that.
-So you can sort of get an idea.
I think silver and green mainly was the colour scheme.
Yeah, obviously very delicate.
I'll be very careful with that.
If we go a little bit lower, we've got a cake mat in the top.
-And then we get to the actual cake
and I can see there are some rather kind of mummified-looking raisins
-hanging around in there.
I'm not going further than this.
-I suspect that it's rather fragile.
So whose decision was it not to eat the cake?
My Nan was actually a very staunch Royalist.
She wouldn't have eaten the cake.
She was so proud of my granddad actually taking part
in this big royal event
and she used to make quite a big thing
of showing it to visitors and people,
just general people that she knew,
that maybe didn't know that my granddad had been
in the Guard of Honour and she would,
"Ooh, look, see what I've got in my display case."
And would get the cake out and would show it to various people.
Well, as it turns out, it was a pretty wise decision.
A piece just like this sold fairly recently for £1,000.
Really?! A thousand pounds?
I don't think that had better go back up in the loft, do you?
So you're here today to tell me a story about your Godmother,
but some people watching the programme
might recognise your voice as Brian Aldridge of The Archers.
Well, indeed they might, but I am here to talk about my Godmother
and this is her here,
Adria, who was married to the private secretary
of the Governor General of Kenya in 1952.
So in February 1952 what should have been a really joyous occasion
for Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip,
a holiday in Kenya, turned out to have tragic overtones.
Yeah, it was joyous to start with
and particularly joyous to my Godmother.
They were so excited having this young couple.
In fact, she wrote some wonderful letters back to her mother
which you've got there.
Yes, I've got one. I've got one here.
She says that, "She's very slim with Heavenly clothes."
And that "Heavenly" with a capital "H"
and, "He is much taller than I expected and really delightful,
"enjoys everything and misses nothing,
"always has the right thing to say
"at the right moment, to the right person."
Well, there you are, what a surprise!
And how he's kept that up over the last 50 or 60 years, I think(!)
-Well known for it!
I love the little thing at the end where she says,
"They have just phoned from the lodge to say all is well,
"except they have no tea strainer".
-Oh, my dear! Poor things.
-I wonder who forgot to pack the tea strainer.
A couple of days later she wrote another letter to her mother
with more wonderful stuff about the food they were eating and all that
and, of course, four days after that, wrote the letter which is so tragic.
-Which of course her father had died and she was the Queen.
I must just get this letter which is, which is quite fun,
because at the very, very top she writes
"PS: They had 74 pieces of luggage,
"not counting jewel cases etc."
Well, it so happened that the Royal household
knew that the King was likely to die and had sent,
amongst the 74 items of luggage,
had sent one case full of mourning clothes.
To their horror, when they opened it,
they found there were no long black gloves for the young Queen to wear.
So my Godmother stood up and said,
"Well, why don't you have mine, Ma'am?"
And my Godmother was very proud and she said,
"And I'd like you to know, dear,
"that when you saw that wonderful photograph of the young Queen
"sadly coming down the steps on the BOAC jet at Heathrow,
"they are my long black gloves she's wearing."
And then she paused and she said, "But I have to tell you,
"I've always been rather miffed that I never got them back".
In terms of value, they're not going to be very valuable
but it's because of the momentous occasion that this...
I think there would be historical value in them
and I think for all your things, I think we'd probably be talking £100.
Oh, I'd be amazed they're worth that.
But the story is fabulous.
Good, yes. Imagine how much the gloves would be worth though!
In June 1953, the nation witnessed
the first televised Coronation, of course of Elizabeth II,
and I'm here in the dress stores at Kensington Palace.
Alexandra, you're the curator here,
and you've got some remarkable pieces from that day.
Absolutely. One of the things we've got is a beautiful embroidery sample,
made by Norman Hartnell to really display
the wonderful floral symbols that he was including in the Queen's dress.
She was very insistent she wanted all Commonwealth countries represented,
and that's something which has been very dear to her throughout her life,
and it's lovely that it was there on this really important day in 1953.
And do you have any of Hartnell's original designs?
Well, we do, actually.
What we've got are some of the designs for some of the other dresses
because he was also responsible
for most of the dresses worn by
the really important other women at the Coronation.
So, for example, Princess Margaret's beautiful embroidered dress
and here we have an early design for that
with the beautiful floral embroidery.
You can just imagine how this would have glistened
and glimmered as she walked down.
That is beautiful, look at that.
Absolutely. And he designed for the Queen Mother,
for the Duchess of Kent
and also for the Maids of Honour,
the six women who accompanied the Queen as she walked the aisle.
So here we have a variety of designs allowing Hartnell to show everyone
and again for the Queen to make choices
about exactly what she wanted on the day.
And of course extra pressure
because it was the first time a Coronation had been televised.
Absolutely and I think. in that way,
Norman Hartnell was perhaps a perfect choice
because he wasn't just a fashion designer,
he had a background in the theatre,
and so, of course, well used to thinking about staging everything
and the way in which it would look visually as a whole set piece.
So it wasn't just television that communicated the Coronation
to the nation but artists as well
and you have a print here
by Terence Cuneo of the Coronation,
together with a preparatory drawing for this great painting.
-It's actually rather compelling, looking into this, isn't it?
It's the detail of it that I find phenomenal -
so many people and so much work in it -
and unmistakably that is a snapshot from history.
You could see it from 100 metres away and go, "I know what that is".
And of course the moment is when Prince Philip is, fittingly,
paying homage to his wife, the Queen.
But what is so interesting about it is, yes, you have the print,
but you have beneath it a drawing of none other than Prince Charles.
How old is he in that?
He was four years old when that was done, as a study for...
he appears just in the bottom here - as a study for the picture above.
And I think the artist, Terence Cuneo, went to the palace
and spent a few hours sketching away
to try and get the right image.
What I love about this sketch is the information, not only facially
that it contains, but the notes on top,
one of which I think is particularly revealing.
"Golden light" it says, pointing to Charles' head,
and in the final picture,
sure enough, a sort of divine glow around his head.
So this is a little glimpse - a window -
into the huge amount of work that must have taken place.
But what I think is lovely about this for an artist
who we associate with the jigsaw puzzle
and the tablemat and other types of sort of pub decoration,
he was a very swift draughtsman of kids.
I think it's an unusually good drawing,
let alone the fact that it's of Prince Charles,
and who knows, possibly the earliest portrait of him.
So did you acquire these recently?
I bought them about a year ago.
We were lucky enough to buy another oil painting by Terence Cuneo
and a dealer near where we live rang me up
and said he had this and it was a one-off and unique.
Went to see it, deliberated,
because it's not his normal thing as you so rightly pointed out,
and decided the two must go together. So, yes,
we bought them both together about a year ago.
And may I be so bold as to ask you what you paid?
Yes, of course, including all the framing
and all the other things that go with it, it was £4,000 for the pair.
Well, do you know I think you've done very well.
I mean, I would value this print, of which there are many examples,
in fact you can see that it's numbered down there 349,
at probably £200-£300
but I think what you have here is a wriggling image
of the young Prince Charles.
I think it's a Royal peach
and I would put a value of £6,000-£8,000 on it.
Thank you very much.
That was you at the Coronation, singing, "O Taste and See".
I just don't know how you did it.
As an old chorister myself from Westminster Abbey,
you had done this ten years earlier
and we all held you up as the greatest thing there was,
the greatest soloist ever.
Oh, I don't think so!
Well, I believe it was quite an experience.
It was an incredible experience, and how old were you?
13 and a half.
13 and a half and you were about to sing a solo
in front of your Queen, the rest of the world, and television cameras.
What did it feel like?
-I was used to singing solos.
And we'd practised hard and long and so when the great day came itself,
it was, dare I say, just another service in that sense of the word.
Now, there were supposed to be three people singing that -
three senior choristers singing that "O Taste and See", weren't there?
-And it came, and what happened?
I came in.
And what happened to the rest?
Um...they'll probably kill me for saying so,
but they came in on the second part.
They came in on the second. So that was just entirely you.
And what did you feel? You'd been let down by the other two?
Did you feel anything? Did you think, "Oh, my God!"
Yeah, I think I probably did.
So here we are, so many years later. What does it feel like?
I suppose now, at a much more advanced age,
one is able to appreciate just how important it was.
And for your grandchildren.
-That's important too. I see you've got a medal for it.
-Yes, I got a...
-So you fought in that war.
And, of course, you've got the wonderful...
I would say the script but it is the service.
The service, the order of service, yes.
And you got it signed, I noticed.
Yes, we've got, er...
Osborne Peasgood, who was sub-organist at the Abbey.
The sub-organist, yes.
-And Harry Gabb, sub-organist at the Chapel Royal.
-Who wrote "O Taste and See"
Yes, Herbert Howells.
And Herbert Howells who also wrote pieces for it.
-Somewhere is Sir William Walton as well.
-Sir William Walton
and then I notice on the back here, which is, I think, very nice.
All the boys in the choir, there they all are.
It's absolutely tremendous. How can I value this?
An old chorister of Westminster Abbey.
Well, unless anybody knew that it was the chap who sang the solo,
-they wouldn't know anything about it.
But for an old chorister, like myself,
I would consider that a great treasure
to find that in an antique shop.
But this, of course, I think is the best thing.
An ordinary one like that you can pick them up today.
What do they cost?
£25-£35 but yours, with the signatures,
we're talking about £400 or £500 at least.
It's tremendous stuff.
Well, thank you for sharing those wonderful memories with us.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
As I said, they'll all go to my granddaughter eventually.
No, you can't sell them!
Earlier I was looking at those wonderful dress designs
by Norman Hartnell for the Queen's Coronation
and with me is Lady Jane Rayne and, Lady Jane Rayne,
you wore one of those dresses because you were a Maid of Honour.
Now, I assume you would be a close friend of the Queen
to be one of the Maids of Honour but in fact you hardly knew her.
I only met the Queen just once.
I shook her by the hand when my parents took my sister and I
to a tea at Buckingham Palace when we were about seven and five.
-So here you are. This is you here looking magnificent.
And so you think you were chosen, what, because of your heights?
Well, I think that had something to do with it, because we had to
be uniform and the Queen is very small so we would have dwarfed her.
It must have been quite a day and quite an honour.
It was SUCH an honour.
I don't think... Well, I've never forgotten it. I never will.
It was the proudest day of my life.
And what was your role, as Maid of Honour?
The Maids of Honour had to watch
every move of the Queen, follow everything.
If she got up, you got up. If she turned left, you turned left,
You just could never let go of the train,
which was quite heavy even with six people carrying it.
And to make things easier for her.
Because when the official pictures were taken...
This is you here sort of tucking her train in.
-Yes, straightening it.
-And the Queen looking very thoughtful.
Yes, she does look thoughtful there.
What about the Queen herself?
Because of course it must have been very nerve-wracking for her.
Well, if it was, it didn't show.
She was so serene and calm
and smiling some of the time
and so natural,
because when we all got in line
with everybody in their places holding the train,
she said... She looked round and then she said, "Shall we go, girls?"
And off we went.
Tell me about the smelling salts.
Well, you see these gloves that go almost up to the top of the arm?
The only way you could get your hand in was through this
little opening here with six little pearl buttons
and inside the pearl buttons, underneath,
was a little glass phial of smelling salts.
And thank goodness we had them
because when you stand for a long time - we hadn't eaten -
one of them felt very faint
and I suddenly felt something push against my back
and I sensed she was falling to the ground
and, luckily, the person on her right
whipped out - great presence of mind -
she whipped out, opened the glove, took out the little bottle,
opened it and pushed it into her nose
and she took a big sniff
and somehow got through the rest of it all right, poor thing.
And what was the atmosphere like afterwards,
when these pictures were taken?
-I mean, it must have been some relief.
-Well, it was.
It was lovely because we could all just sort of have a good chat
and enjoy ourselves.
And could you have thought?
I mean, here we are, 60 years on,
but could you have imagined, all this time on,
-that she would still be on the throne?
And you'd be here talking about it!
I know, that's what's so remarkable.
And...but it doesn't seem like 60 years to me,
it just seems like the other day. It's extraordinary.
And you can see more of these remarkable photographs
in the V&A's touring exhibition
"Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton".
Throughout history, we know that royalty have had an affinity
for certain breeds of dogs -
none more so than the Queen and her corgis.
This is a wonderful story about a corgi called Susan.
-Tell me about Susan.
-Well, we only know that
from my father, who was a veterinary surgeon in Kings Lynn in Norfolk.
When the Queen used to come to Sandringham he and his colleagues
were in charge of looking after the small animals.
And one day a footman came into the practice
and asked my father, could he have a look at this particular dog.
And my father obviously needed some information.
The footman said, "Well, I'm not really sure that I know the answers."
So my father, on a scruffy piece of paper,
wrote down some questions.
Right. The first question is,
which of course he addressed to the Queen, was,
"How long getting bigger?" and what happened?
A note came back with hand-pencilled answers,
and who's written those? Of course, the Queen.
Was that something that he expected?
-No, he did not.
-No, especially on the piece of paper.
Especially on the scruffy...
Let's look at the answer that the Queen wrote.
It says, "No idea, she's always been fat."
It's a lovely, lovely little kind of... Yes, I know Susan.
Susan was given to her on her 18th birthday
and of course we know thereafter
that all the corgis that the Queen has had
have been descended from Susan.
And I think what happens is that this little note
brings us very close to the way that she felt about Susan.
There's a poignant side to this story as well
because we also have another letter here.
I have to read this letter because it says, "Dear Mr Swan,"
-obviously Mr Swan being your father.
"I would like to thank you for all you did for my dear old Susan
"when she became ill
"and for the immense amount of trouble you took in getting her
"sent to Cambridge and for all the care she had while she was there.
"Perhaps you could express my thanks to your colleagues.
"I had always dreaded losing her,
"but I am so thankful that her suffering was so mercifully short.
"She was very happily beating for us at our shooting the Friday before.
"With renewed thanks, yours sincerely, Elizabeth R."
My father was so delighted to get this letter, you know,
for her to actually write to him personally to say thank you.
Did you talk to him and discuss how he felt about this?
No, he was very private about it.
-And, being professional, he didn't disclose it too much,
but obviously, yes, we did hear about it.
I mean, it's very difficult putting values
on things like this, for the simple reason
that these are very personal to you and I feel they're probably worth
in the region of about £400-£600.
-I would never sell them anyway.
-But thank you.
Now, it's not often that I can look at somebody
who has not only seen the Queen,
but also seen The Beatles in the same nanosecond, but here you are,
-And what was the occasion?
It was an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
My father had been awarded the OBE for services in the military.
He was in the Territorial Army.
The day we went was the same day that The Beatles went to get their MBE.
Now, there are some pictures here.
Yes, that I took, yes.
-That you took on your instamatic or something?
-Box Brownie or whatever.
So tell me the scene
-because this scene does not look like a normal investiture.
When we got there, we went in a taxi
and we went through the gates of the palace
and there were thousands of screaming girls, mainly.
You didn't think they were all there for you?
It would have been nice, but no.
OK, so you were ushered in.
Yeah, a large hall
and we took our place up one side of the main hall.
My father was sent into a different ante-room,
where all the different people
who were receiving honours were held, including The Beatles.
And my father realised at the time,
that if he didn't get The Beatles' autographs on that occasion,
he wouldn't have been well liked by his two sons,
so he managed to get across the hall where they were being held
and he managed to get The Beatles' autographs.
Hang on, I've got this picture of this military gentleman
sort of running across and vaulting over chairs and...
-That's right, that's right.
-Is that the scene he painted for you?
-Yes, I think that was for us.
-And he got them signed on what?
Well, this is the letter
that commanded him to come to the investiture,
and that was the only piece of paper that he had,
that he could get the autographs on,
and on the reverse are The Beatles' autographs.
Isn't that fantastic?
I mean, the great thing is,
-that your dad had a pen on him to mark the occasion.
-Now, he was well prepared.
-He had a pen.
Fabulous. And there's a great... Going to give that back to you.
..there's a great write-up, isn't there? Here in the paper.
Yeah, that was the local paper, the Chorley Guardian, I think.
We were living near Chorley at the time.
And it does, it mentions quite a lot about The Beatles at the top
and then just at the bottom it mentions the fact
that Colonel Smith, who was the local bank manager,
also was at the palace getting his OBE,
I don't think they were quite as interested in him as The Beatles.
And I like this! Paul McCartney said,
"She was just like a mum to us."
You can just imagine!
John said, "She asked me if I'd been working hard lately
"and I couldn't think what we'd been doing,
"so I said, 'No, no, we've been having a holiday'."
Well, now, what you've got here actually, obviously,
huge sentimental value to have your dad's...
-That's this. That's the OBE he got on that day.
-The OBE he got on the day.
But I have to say that these also have a financial value too.
The signed letter is just what Beatle fans want.
There is no question about its authenticity,
it was a very elite group of people who were there.
-So these signed investiture letters, they're not unique by any means.
They fetch between about £3,000 and £4,000.
So that's a nice little memento to have,
but I would say that the other important thing from this day,
from 26th October 1965, is maybe it was the first time
that the kings of the music industry met the Queen.
The Queen IS the most photographed person in the entire world,
I would expect, wouldn't you say that?
I would think so, yes, she's got such a wonderful smile
and she always looks so composed.
Absolutely, and your father was Court Photographer.
He was indeed, yes.
And this is a wonderful picture of him. What was his name?
It's so period, isn't it?
-That is absolutely wonderful.
Now tell me about this photograph here.
There's the Queen and the Princess here
all trying to outdo the chandeliers
but who is this person here?
-This is Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg.
-Ah, yes, yes.
And it's a very unusual photograph because at the time Marie-Astrid
was considered to be a possible future bride for Prince Charles
and the Queen would normally not have allowed herself to be photographed
with someone in that position,
so as not to show any favouritism.
Any favour, so, yes.
-She was Roman Catholic.
-Ah, so I suppose that's it!
But you've got some wonderful other photographs here,
piles of photographs! We can hardly show them all. I love this one here.
Yes, the Queen really didn't like wearing hard hats
and very often she'd be given one
before she was taken on a tour of some building site, or whatever,
and she had a habit of carrying it under her arm,
while still maintaining her royal hat.
Of course nobody was going to tell her to put it on.
I think the caption to this is,
"Haven't you got a blue one?" or something like that.
-Or "A size six!" perhaps.
-"Can you change it?"
I love it!
And this one here of the Duke of Edinburgh.
-I'm sure none of these have ever been published, have they?
I have absolutely no idea what someone said. I think that's his detective behind him.
Yeah, sort of listening to the plumbing or something.
I think there's something very strange going on there.
I love that. And another one which obviously is this one.
I'm sorry to trivialise these
but they're not trivial at all, they're wonderful photographs.
This one here which is almost one
-you'd see on the front of Private Eye.
I've no idea what the Queen's saying but....
-"How much is this reception costing?"
-She looks absolutely shocked!
-"Are we paying?"
Yes. Tremendous, I love that,
and so he went along with her on Royal visits all over the world?
Absolutely. He went on 19 Royal tours in total in the 1970s.
-Particular memories...one of the early ones to Zambia,
where the local police were, if anything, a little over-exuberant
and my father was pushed into a rose bush
seconds before the Queen's arrival
but he's lying there, spread-eagled on this rose bush,
as the Queen walked past
and she just looked down at him and smiled and nodded and then walked on,
assuming he could take care of himself.
Oh, that's wonderful, I'd love to have seen a photograph of that.
-Yes, I don't think that was recorded.
-No, I'm sure not.
This is tremendous and it's a lovely sight of the Royal family,
The Queen's love and association with racing
and horses and so on, is well known.
What's not so well known is her association with racing pigeons.
Now, you know all about that, don't you? Tell me how you know.
Well, I know a little about it.
I moved with my family from Staffordshire to Norfolk
and met this gentleman,
-who became Keeper of the Royal Lofts in Sandringham.
-And there's a lovely picture here.
Is this you in the middle here, with Len here?
-Yes. A long time ago, yes.
-So he became part of your extended family?
Well, sort of, yes, sort of, yes.
And there's a wonderful picture here of Len
with a sort of pigeon carrier on a butcher's bike.
-A butcher's bike, yeah.
-Why didn't he put it in the car?
Well, he never drove, couldn't drive,
and he used to go to Sandringham twice a day on his bike
and as he got older -
and he used to play football so his knees played up -
and Her Majesty suggested,
would he like to have the lofts taken to his garden,
which was quite a large one, although it was only a small semi.
-Is this it?
-Yes, that's it, yes.
Now, you say that you knew him well.
I mean, did you know...?
Looking at these photographs here the Queen used to visit him?
Yes, about twice a year I think.
Amazing! There's the Queen
in her sort of country outfit,
-this is presumably Len here, greeting her.
It's just extraordinary, isn't it?
Well, it's what she does, in her private life.
Exactly, so the Queen used to come round, what, for tea, to Len's?
Well, it was normally a cup of coffee.
I don't know what time of day but she had coffee, yes.
And I did say to Len, you know, "What do you give it her in?"
and he said he'd got two china cups and saucers
specially kept for her and the Lady in Waiting,
but he had a piece of cotton tied round the handle
of the cup that he gave the Queen,
so that no-one else drank from it, only the Queen.
And I jokingly said to him,
"I hope you take the cotton off before you serve the Queen coffee!"
And he said, "No, of course not, I'd get them muddled up
"and I wouldn't know which was which".
So Her Majesty, if she watches this programme,
she'll know now why the cotton was round the handle!
What did Len think? I mean, did Len think of it as a great honour
when the Queen came to visit?
Well, oh, absolutely, yes, yes.
He always took it as a great honour
but he treated her as an ordinary person.
I mean, he was gracious to her, as she was to him,
but, you know, he wasn't rude or anything,
but it was just his boss coming to see him.
Well, it's a great story and I suppose there's one image
which I think probably sums up Len
and his relationship there with the Royal flight, I suppose,
there he is releasing a pigeon
-outside the gates of Sandringham.
It's often people that work for the Royal Family
that know far more about them than we do.
Now, your partner's father worked
for Princess Elizabeth and then the Queen for how long?
Over 30 years.
From, I believe, 1949 up to 1977, when he retired.
And what was his job?
He was her personal page.
The official title was The Page of the Back Stairs.
And just checking in this picture here, which one is he?
When she knighted Chichester,
Henry was this gentleman here
and you can see him holding the handbag that she gave to him
because she hadn't anywhere to put it down.
And of course we've got a fabulous picture of her and him behind her.
He looked after her every need, really.
Yes, whatever she wanted, he was there on hand,
like a right-hand man.
If you met him, he was unassuming,
he was quiet and you could see exactly why she chose him,
because he was the soul of discretion.
But he obviously had tremendous access to the Royal Family
and there are wonderful photographs he's taken
of the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne
and I think this is funny,
this birthday card with him
with a tray of gin and tonic.
I think he was known in the palace as a joker
and they'd done that for him, yes.
Because they do say the Queen Mum quite liked her G&T.
I think she does, yes. And I think the Queen likes a gin and tonic too.
So one of his more pleasurable tasks.
She was known to say, after visiting a certain Prime Minister,
"I need that, thank you, Bennett."
Oh, you see, you've got all these little stories you see!
I think those stories, and people like Bennett,
show us a different side to the Queen.
Oh, certainly, yes. I mean, she's got a...
Underneath it all, she has got a wicked sense of humour.
Give me an example.
Well, people used to come to dinner parties
and she was on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
She considered that as her home.
It was the only place that she'd furnished herself how she wanted
and apparently they used to check what to wear for dinner
because they never knew who was going to come aboard
and this particular night she'd said,
"Oh, Mufti." And so all of them are sat there waiting for her.
She's not normally late
and when she turned up, she turned up in full regalia.
"Gotcha!" She says.
It's a fascinating collection and in terms of valuation,
I mean, it's several hundreds of pounds
for all the things you have,
and it's such a fascinating collection.
I'm standing in front of one of my favourite images of Elizabeth II
and you, Michael Noakes, are the portrait painter who produced this.
Well, I did, absolutely.
It was a study for a big picture with lots of figures in it.
So we're talking 1971-2.
Er, two, three, that sort of time.
As a professional portrait painter, many people have said to you,
"Is the Queen a good sitter?"
Well, she talks a lot, which is enormous fun.
I must say every session I've had with her,
I emerged thinking, "I really enjoyed that".
So what is the Michael Noakes interpretation of Her Majesty?
Because it's very distinctive.
I have to say I love it, I don't know quite why I like it so much,
because I think it's both regal and also human.
Oh, well, thank you.
What would you say you've brought to the Queen?
Well, I'd like to feel that I'm not particularly over-awed
by the people I sometimes paint, including the Queen.
I mean, I feel that we're all... we're all creatures on Earth,
however elevated she is and however significant she is.
If you worry about that too much,
you worry about what other people are going to make of it,
and I wanted to do something
which had a sort of serious element in it,
because it is a very serious operation that she carries out.
I imagine you're probably very good at keeping the patter going.
Well, it's quite difficult, actually, chatting and trying to paint.
I mean, because the Queen is looking out of the window a lot
and running a commentary on what she sees.
I mean, there was a time when a taxi got hit by a car
and the drama of it -
she got quite excited about it -
she said, "Oh, I wonder if there's going to be a fight now!"
Let's talk about the picture.
I think, you know, as images of the Queen go,
I think this is terrific.
I think you've got quite a lot of her humanity.
I love the way she stands centrally, gazing,
in a way that's not quite your normal woman subject.
I can tell there's a bit of a queen about this.
Before I do a valuation on Her Majesty,
I see we have one of the Queen Mother as well.
-Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
-You've been busy with Royals.
Well, that was painted, I suppose, about 1978-79.
She was happy with it, I think,
and I shouldn't say this about my own picture,
but I actually rather like it.
I think it says something about her
which is not pompous and which is lively. Yes.
So when it comes to valuation, my goodness me, this is difficult.
With me here, especially. What's he going to say?
Thank you for being so sympathetic.
Well, look, let's start with the Queen Mother.
It's one of a number of versions
but I have to say it's a beautiful crisp rendering.
I would say... Oh, I don't know, £15,000-£20,000.
Her Majesty, well, £30,000-£40,000 I should think.
But who knows what could happen
if you had a group of well-heeled Royalists
who'd had a few drinks at a charity auction.
I could see this going up and up.
I think you've given the Queen the X-Factor.
I hope you've enjoyed this
Diamond Jubilee edition of The Antiques Roadshow.
We've had fascinating insights into the 60 years of the Queen's reign
and the years leading up to that.
Our thanks to Kensington Palace
and to all the guests who provided us with so many wonderful stories.
She said, "Shall we go, girls?" and off we went.
She'll know now why the cotton
was round the handle!
My sister is by my side and we are both going to say good night to you.
-Come on, Margaret.
-Good night, children.
Good night and good luck to you all.
From the whole team on The Antiques Roadshow
and this special Diamond Jubilee celebration,
until next time, bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd