A letter Queen Elizabeth wrote to her midwife following the birth of Prince Edward has been unearthed and the details of her baby’s first months in the world paint an incredibly sweet picture of the monarch as a mother.
Whether you’re expecting your first child, preparing yourself by buying all the newborn essentials and picking out a unique baby name, or you’re waiting for the arrival of a second, third, or fourth child, midwives are always on hand to help calm the nerves that come with pregnancy.
Following a baby’s birth, the help they offer is invaluable. A midwife can grow to feel like an extended family member, someone who can offer both a helping hand and a loving shoulder whenever it’s needed.
This is something that everyone can understand and appreciate. Even the late Queen Elizabeth II who had nannies on call and a large family unit in the form of The Firm to help her out relied heavily on her midwife, Sister Helen ‘Rowie’ Rowe. In fact, Rowie grew to be one of the Queen’s closest friends and their friendship has now been laid bare for all to see in an unearthed letter the monarch sent to her friend following the birth of her third child, Prince Edward, who sits 14th in the royal line of succession.
The late Queen sent a two-page note to Sister Rowie, who had helped her throughout all of her previous pregnancies too, gushing over the five-month-old Prince Edward and how ‘wonderful’ he was.
The letter was sent on the fifth of August 1964 and detailed how Edward was growing up as well as briefly mentioning the then-15-year-old Prince Charles’ battle with pneumonia, an illness he caught while camping with his boarding school class.
As reported by HELLO! Magazine, the letter reads, “Dear Rowie, I am terribly sorry we never got in touch with you before you left London. Mabel [royal nanny Mabel Anderson] was ill in bed when you wrote, and I confess I misread your letter in a great hurry and remembered the wrong day you put down, and when I was away at Arundel [Arundel Castle, West Sussex] last week, I suddenly was reminded of your letter and of course it was too late by then!
"The baby [Prince Edward] is wonderful – good as gold, trying to sit up and weighing 15 lbs.12! He smiles and giggles at everyone, and makes everyone happy!
"Charles, I’m thankful to say, is better but very frail as yet. I hope we see you when we return in October. Yours sincerely Elizabeth R."
Prince Edward is Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's youngest son and was born on 10 March 1964, 12 years after the Queen ascended to the throne. He experienced life in a vastly different way to his two oldest siblings, King Charles III and Princess Anne, as, by the time Edward came onto the scene, his mother had settled down into her role as Queen and could better balance her work load with her family life.
It has previously been reported that the Queen did not ‘have as much time as she might have wished’ to spend with Charles and Anne when they were younger but tried to rectify this with her two youngest children, Princes Andrew and Edward.
Speaking about the late Queen’s journey to the throne in ITV’s documentary The Queen Unseen, royal biographer Hugo Vickers revealed, "I think it must have been difficult for her to take on all the responsibilities of being Queen and have as much time as she might have wished for Prince Charles and Princess Anne."
But while she may have struggled to navigate the balance at the beginning of her reign, when she welcomed her and Philip’s fourth and final child twelve years after taking to the throne, Queen Elizabeth was determined to be more assertive about making time for family and adopted a far more hands-on parenting style.
Royal biographer Jane Ridley told ITV, "When Edward is born The Queen does things like altering the time of her regular weekly Tuesday meeting with the Prime Minister, so that she will have time to go and play with the babies and put them to bed.
"This was something she wouldn't have dreamt of doing at the time she became Queen but her confidence in her role allows her to give more priority to her children.”
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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for Goodto.com. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.
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