Sensational collection of Christmas cards sent by Royal family reveal poignant moments throughout life at Buckingham Palace
A poignant collection of Royal Family Christmas cards has come to light and documents the dramatic and turbulent changes in their lives over the years.
The official cards were from Charles and Diana and the Queen and Prince Philip to a member of staff at Buckingham Palace from 1981 to 1998.
The photos inside the cards show the Prince and Princess of Wales from happy newlyweds to young parents with their growing family.
Brave face: A show of unity for the Royals – with Diana and Sarah Ferguson notable by their absence – in a 1998 festive missive. Diana had died the year before in 1997, while Fergie and Andrew separated in 1996
Calm before the storm: The Queen and Prince Philip were photographed alone for their 1995 card, while their two sons” marriages were in the process of breaking down. Charles and Andrew split from Diana and Sarah in the following year
Smiling: The 1997 missive
Alone again: The Queen and Philip sent a photograph of themselves on a blustery hill in the Western Isles as their 1996 card – the year both sons finally separated from their wives
Happier times: Festive greetings from Prince Philip and the Queen in 1994
Personal: The Queen and Prince Philip with one of the royal corgis on a card from 1990, and right, from 1991 – smiling with no idea that the year that followed – 1992 – would be declared an “annus horribilis”
There are pictures of Prince William as an adorable baby and one of him a year later being cradled by Diana on a swing with Charles stood next to them.
Another Christmas card photo shows William and new-born Harry with their proud parents and then as young boys sat astride a donkey.
One card from 1987 shows the Queen and Prince Philip with their four grandchildren; Peter and Zara Phillips and William and Harry.
A later group shot of the extended family, sent as a card in 1998, shows the two princes a year after their mother was killed in a Paris car crash.
The same picture accidentally captures a youthful Zara Phillips posing with her eyes shut.
Other cards highlight the Queen and Prince Philip in a variety of poses, at home and out in the countryside with their corgis.
Jolly holidays: The Royal two in 1989
Stately: The Queen on horseback on her 1986 card
Family snap: The Queen and Prince Philip pose with their grandchildren (l-r) William, Harry and Zara in a warm portrait sent out for Christmas 1987
Thecollection of 17 cards is now being sold by the unnamed former member of staff at Dukes auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, with a conservativeestimate of 600.
“Auctioneer Rupert Perry-Warnes said: “It”s a fascinating collection and includes quite intimate pictures of the Royal family.
“You can see how they progress through the years, and how their lives change.
“The cards were collected by a lady who used to work at Buckingham Palace and I understand they were all given to her as a member of staff.
“I believe she has kept them safely at home all these years, and has now chosen to sell part of the collection.
“They are all from either Charles and Diana or the Queen and Prince Phillip, and there is one from the Queen Mother.
“Mostpeople don”t get to see these images and they give a really interestinginsight into the lives of the Royal Family as they grow older.
“They are all hand-signed and should be of great interest to anyone who likes the Royal family.”
The auction takes place on December 13 at Duke”s auctioneers, Dorchester, Dorset.
Full of optimism: The newly married couple in 1987
Contented: Happy with Wills and baby Harry in 1985, and right, with a one-year-old William in 1983
All smiles in 1986: Ten years before Charles and Diana split
New parents: A year after the wedding, Charles and Diana welcomed William into the world, and sent a family photograph out for their 1982 festive greetings
Fond memories: A card from the Queen Mother, posed at the Castle of Mey with her beloved corgis in 1986