A letter written by The Queen, describing the early days of her love affair with Prince Phillip, has smashed its estimate at auction.
Dating from 1947, just a few months before the royal couple were married, the letter was sent to author Betty Shew, who was preparing a special book to commemorate the forthcoming Royal wedding.
In it, the Queen – then a 21-year-old Princess – gives a personal account of how they first met:
"The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1939, just before the war. (We may have met before at the coronation or the Duchess of Kent’s wedding, but I don’t remember).
"I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave – I suppose about twice in three years.
"Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor. Then he went to the Pacific and Far East for two years as everyone there will know.
"We first started seeing more of each other when Philip went for a two-year job to the R.N. Petty Officers School at Corsham – before that we hardly knew each other."
The letter also offered a unique glimpse into the young lives of The Queen and Prince Phillip. The Queen mentions speeding through the street of London in Phillip’s sports car, avoiding press photographers, and writes "We both love dancing – we have danced at Ciro’s and Quaglino’s as well as at parties."
The letter was initially offered with an estimate of up to £1,200, but international media coverage of the sale sparked a bidding war and it soared to a final price of £14,400 (including buyer’s premium).
"This is a fantastic result," said auctioneer Richard Edmonds. "It was quite an honour to be able to sell such an important document, particularly as the country is celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday.
"The bidding was both online and over eight phone lines. It was pretty fast and furious. At times our internet connection looked like it was lighting up."