A letter has recently come to light that was sent by the then Princess Elizabeth in 1945 about a young man that she and her sister apparently had a crush on.
The letter was sent to cousin, Diana Bowes-Lyon, and is signed ‘Lilibet’, the Queen’s nickname from her family; it talks of a ‘’devastatingly attractive’’ Scotsman called Roddy MacLeod and is described by the young Princess as a ‘young giant’ who was ‘great fun’.
In 1945 after 5 years as a prisoner of war in Poland and Germany, the 6 ft 4 Captain was part of the Royal Guard at Balmoral, and became somewhat of an escort for the 19 year old Princess Elizabeth; he had piercing blue eyes, hero status from war and set the hearts of both Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, aflutter. MacLeod taught both the Princesses Highland dancing, which is still a tradition in Balmoral, and there are pictures of the Captain and Princess Elizabeth leaving what appears to be a theatre.
An Eton educated man, he earned the Distinguished Service Order for leadership in the Korean War in the 1950s and went on to study at Cambridge. Just 2 years later, Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN, and Roddy would marry his beau Daphne in 1950.
The sons of Captain MacLeod, Jamie and Simon, purchased the letter at auction for £5970, after another bidder kindly withdrew after finding out the letter was about their father. Simon said: ‘To have the letter means so much to us and makes us very proud of our father.’
Roddy’s son Jamie has also had brushes with royalty, as an aide-de-camp to Princess Grace of Monaco, and as the CEO of Raleigh International, with which Prince William travelled to Chile on his Gap Year.
Roddy battled with cancer and received a letter from Princess Margaret wishing him well; he died in 1989. Such letters give an insight to our present Queen when she was a younger unmarried woman, showing a playful side that the public don’t often get to see.