Childhood Memories Friday: A Letter From Princess Diana

Childhood Memories FridayYesterday’s post about receiving a thank you note from Prince William and Kate reminded me of another royal letter I’d sent off. Travel back with me to 1984. I’m in my first year at college, and I can just imagine myself getting the itch to write to Princess Diana. By this time, she’s been on the scene a few years. She has married Prince Charles and has a toddler son, Prince William. I thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and hey — since I’d written to all the Presidents since my birth, why not write to someone of real significance?

How thrilled I was, when, a few months later, this arrived in the mail:

letter from Princess Diana Hazel West

I just loved the Prince of Wales feathers logo at the top of the stationery. I’m sure it was a real hardship for Diana to dictate this letter to her lady-in-waiting, rather than simply pick up the pen and write it herself, but ah — the life of a princess has its difficulties.

I looked up a bit about this lady-in-waiting, Hazel West. She was born May23, 1944, and her parents were Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Thomas Cook and Gweneth Margaret Jone. She was married to a Lieutenant-Colonel George Arthur West (great-grandson of the 1st Duke of Westminster), so she was not exactly out feeding the pigeons prior to working for Diana. Buckingham Palace announced her appointment on September 25, 1981. It was published in The London Gazette of October 6, 1981.

Interestingly, her handwriting looks a lot like Diana’s:

Princess Diana autograph signature

(Or perhaps that’s just a common “look” for British upper-crust handwriting?)

A decade or so later, I wrote to Diana again. This time, I’d read several books about her, and knew that she had a lot of mail of a more personal nature sent to her at her favorite restaurant, San Lorenzo (perhaps to avoid any prying eyes seeing it first?) I knew that she would really enjoy reading my letter, filled as it was with my tales of allegiance to her, and so I researched the address of this restaurant (no easy task in pre-internet days). I sent it off … waited … and never got a reply.

Oh, well. Thirty years later, I still treasure my reply from her — or at least, from the Palace.

Have you ever written to someone famous? Did you ever hear from them?

5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: A Letter From Princess Diana

  1. The best I can recall was that I strongly encouraged my children to write to each President while he was in office.

  2. You are amazing with your research and letter writing! I have never written or heard from royalty, but I received Christmas cards for many years from Dan Quayle and family. He grew up in Huntington, IN and was in my brother’s class in high school. I have also heard from George W. and Laura Bush on a few occasions.

  3. What a neat memento! And a great idea to write each president. I think one of my sons wrote to Ronald Reagan once during his presidency and got a reply.

  4. I don’t believe I’ve ever written to royalty. I’m impressed you got a reply back from Diana’s lady in waiting.

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