As the royal governess, Marion Crawford played a major role in shaping the childhood and subsequent world-view of Queen Elizabeth II, but her story is largely unknown and has never been explored in much depth. The Governess brings ‘Crawfie’ to life.
The Governess tells the story of Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford, the progressive young working-class woman who, as royal governess for seventeen years, lived on the most intimate terms with Princess Margaret and the future Queen Elizabeth II. A long time member of the Windsors’ inner circle, Marion had a ringside seat to some of the most seismic events of the 20th century.
The castles and palaces may have housed a family frozen in time, but outside poverty and unemployment were breeding unrest in 1930s Britain, with Hitler’s ascent looming. If royalty was to survive, it must draw closer to the people. And so Marion took the princesses on tubes and buses, swimming at public baths, Christmas shopping at Woolworth’s.
Marion’s devotion meant personal sacrifices, and years of dedication counted for nothing once she published The Little Princesses, a loving, harmless account of life as a royal governess. It earned Marion the Windsors’ lasting fury.
This is a look into the childhood of the world’s longest reigning monarch: a story of conflict and contradiction, of state dinners and hunger marches, of a left-winger amongst the ultimate conservatives, of a modern woman in an ancient institution.