Imagine you answer the door, and a postman is standing with a food parcel and a handwritten letter from Princess Elizabeth. It is certainly something that Rachel Lewis from Carmarthenshire, SW Wales, did not envisage when she woke up that morning in November 1947.
According to Rachel’s daughter, Esme Phillips, the newly-wed Princess sent the Welsh family a box of food that she received as a gift from her friends following her marriage to Prince Philip. A handwritten letter explained that Elizabeth, who was 21 at the time, felt she wanted to share the feast with her people.
Mrs Phillips told Wales Online, “My mother did considerable work for the Red Cross, so I wonder if there is a connection and whether this was the reason for her receiving the letter and the food parcel.
“I was quite young at the time, but I do remember this parcel arriving, and the postman did not have to travel far as we used to live opposite the Post Office.”
The three-sentence letter, which Esme keeps in a frame and intends to eventually donate it to a museum, read:
“Many kind friends overseas sent me gifts of food at the time of my wedding.
I want to distribute it as best I can and to share my good fortune with others.
I therefore ask you to accept this parcel with my very best wishes.
It was a thoughtful and passionate initiative by then-Her Royal Highness to think of the deprived communities at a time when Britain had just emerged from a brutal war that forced a decade of food rationing.
A typical dinner for an average British family in 1947 would include two sausages, mashed potato, half a tomato, one cube of cheese, and one slice of bread and butter. This could explain how Rachel would have felt to receive a basket of food with kind words from the most famous lady in the country.
Over the years, The Queen has shown equal generosity through maintaining strong ties with the public. She is well known for her diligence in reading and responding to correspondence from people of all ages and regions.