An intriguing glimpse into the personal life of the late Queen Elizabeth II has been revealed through a recently discovered handwritten letter. This two-page note, adorned with the late Queen’s coat of arms, was sent to her midwife and close friend, Sister Helen “Rowie” Rowe on 5 August 1964, just five months after the birth of Elizabeth’s youngest child, Prince Edward. It offers a touching portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II as a loving and attentive mother.
Sister Helen played an integral role in the Queen’s journey through motherhood, aiding in the delivery of all four of her children. Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward were all born at Buckingham Palace, while Princess Anne arrived at Clarence House. The midwife’s expertise and close bond with the royal family made her an irreplaceable presence during the most pivotal moments of Queen Elizabeth II’s life.
Tragically, Sister Helen passed away just two years after Edward’s birth. However, her memory lives on through the treasured correspondence she shared with the Queen.
A Mother’s Admiration
The letter from Queen Elizabeth II to Sister Helen showcases the Queen’s adoration for her youngest child, Prince Edward. Even at the tender age of five months, Edward was already hitting significant milestones. Elizabeth describes him as “wonderful,” emphasizing his efforts to sit up and his joyful interactions with those around him. The baby’s infectious smiles and giggles brought immense happiness to the Queen and those in her vicinity.
The handwritten note also contains a heartfelt apology from Queen Elizabeth II to Sister Helen. The Queen expresses remorse for not being able to communicate with her midwife before her departure from London. Due to the illness of royal nanny Mabel Anderson and a misinterpretation of the letter’s date, the opportunity to connect was tragically missed. Despite this, Elizabeth acknowledges the irreplaceable role Sister Helen played in her life and expresses hope for a reunion upon her return in October.
Within the letter, Queen Elizabeth II reveals her concerns about her eldest son, Charles, who had recently recovered from pneumonia. At just 15 years old, the future King fell ill while camping with classmates from Gordonstoun School at the Balmoral estate. The Queen’s genuine worry for Charles reflects her role as both a monarch and a caring mother.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip became parents for the first time in 1948, welcoming Prince Charles into the world. Princess Anne followed two years later, marking the growth of the young family. However, tragedy struck in 1952 when King George VI passed away, and Elizabeth ascended the throne, forever altering her role as a mother. Eight years after her coronation, the royal couple celebrated the birth of Prince Andrew, and finally, in 1964, Prince Edward completed the Queen’s family.
A Legacy Continues
Earlier this year, on his 59th birthday, Prince Edward assumed the title of Duke of Edinburgh, honoring his late father, Prince Philip. Alongside his wife, Sophie, the Duke of Edinburgh now leads a fulfilling life as a parent to Lady Louise Windsor, 19, and James, Earl of Wessex, 15. The love and care displayed by Queen Elizabeth II continue to shape generations within the royal family.
The unearthed letter offers a tender glimpse into the private life of Queen Elizabeth II, shedding light on her unwavering devotion as a mother. Through the letter’s words, we witness the Queen’s deep admiration for her children and her heartfelt gratitude for the exceptional support provided by Sister Helen Rowe. This letter stands as a testament to the Queen’s profound love for her family and the lasting impact she has had both as a monarch and a doting mother.