Rambles Around Knitting Today and Yesterday

Rambles Around Knitting Today and Yesterday

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Knitting for Heros – our diamond Queen at home during the Second World War

Princess Elizabeth knitting

Last weeks anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth to the throne reminded me of the collection of books about Royalty which have been gathering dust at the top of the stairs for a few years since I accidentally acquired them in a huge job lot of books I brought at an auction sale.

Taking five minutes off to have a little browse and picking up on one volume with a very striking cover, The Royal Family in Wartime, I came across this lovely picture of the Royal Family at home. Princess Elizabeth is looking so relaxed as she stands, knitting in hand, right by the fire.

In our house she would have been accused of hogging the heat, but perhaps the Palace was just as draughty as our place used to be - so I wouldn’t blame her!

Home tonight telegram 1945
As I got further into the book I started coming across little pieces of wartime ephemera. The front of a charming Christmas card, newspaper cuttings of children’s colouring pictures, hand written recipes for Eggless Cake, and Sponge Parkin came fluttering out.  But my heart nearly stopped when a page opened to reveal a telegraphic envelope. Dreading the thought that it had born bad news, it was a relief to find it was in fact to herald a soldier’s homecoming in December 1945.

The young Princess may well have been knitting socks for the troops or even prisoners of war,  it looks like she is knitting on double pointers. And I guess there is a double point to all of this in how closely the Royal Family did stand by the people during the devastation of the war and just how spectacularly something as simple as a little  bit of knitting contributed by many individuals can create a significant difference where it is needed.

The Royal Family in Wartime, Odhams Press Ltd., London 1945

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