Leeds nostalgia: July 1947: Rumours of a Royal engagement

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This WEEK in 1947, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported the news that a royal betrothal was imminent between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, the ex-Prince Philip of Greece.

Princess Elizabeth was 21, the elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and she was presumptive heir to the throne. Prince Philip, a cousin of King George, was 26.

Under the headline, ‘She will be England’s Fourth Elizabeth’, the YEP ran a rather gossipy column, which began: “What is she really like? Does she honestly like Gary Cooper? Is she allowed to choose her own friends? Does she like swing records? Those four questions, chosen at random [are] frequently heard in Yorkshire... They reveal how simple and yet sincere is the interest in the Queen of to-morrow.”

It went on to describe her as “a lovely, lively girl”, with a “natural, vivacious and carefree manner.”

It also recounts how, at the beginning of the war, she was a Sea Ranger and “leant how to tie knots, make a fire in the rain, just like any other girl in blue...”

At 16, she signed on at the Labour Exchange and at 19, joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service “delving deep into the innards of internal combustion engines, repairing punctures and driving in convoy.”

It also goes on to recall that she was fondly known as ‘Lillibet’ as a small child and “charmed and delighted everyone” with her behaviour.

Going back to the ‘fourth of her name’ line, the YEP of the day does not go into much detail about it.

Aside from Elizabeth I, there was also the Queen Mother (also Elizabeth), who was royal consort from 1936-52.

Could the other be the wife of Henry VII (1485-1509), Elizabeth of York, whose face has adorned playing cards for the last 500 years?

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