Prince Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela Hicks shares fascinating never-before-seen journal entries from her time as the Queen’s lady-in-waiting in a new documentary.
The 91-year-old, who is a childhood friend and confidante of the monarch, 94, was by her side for some of her most defining moments.
From witnessing the tragic moment the Duke of Edinburgh informed her of her father’s passing, to admiring the Queen’s ‘tremendous’ arm muscles as a result of non-stop waving while on tour in Australia, Lady Pamela shares her intimate memories with her daughter India Hicks, 53, in My Years With The Queen.
The ITV programme is the first of a series to mark Her Majesty’s 95th birthday on April 21.
Prince Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela Hicks shares fascinating never-before-seen journal entries from her time as the Queen’s lady-in-waiting in a new documentary (pictured with daughter India Hicks)
Lady Pamela tells how her father, Lord Mountbatten, urged her to keep a diary after being asked to accompany the Queen on the Commonwealth tour she undertook on behalf of her ailing father King George VI in February 1952.
Days after landing in Nairobi, where they were greeted by ‘men wearing swords and decorations’, the tour came to an abrupt halt when news broke the king had died.
The Queen and her party were staying at the Treetops hotel in Kenya, and Lady Pamela describes how she ‘climbed up that ladder as a Princess and then, in the morning, she came down the ladder as Queen’.
After being informed by his ‘stunned’ equerry, the Duke of Edinburgh suggested he and ‘Lillibet’ go for a walk by a trout stream.
From witnessing the tragic moment the Duke of Edinburgh informed her of her father’s passing, to admiring the Queen’s ‘tremendous’ arm muscles as a result of non-stop waving while on the coronation tour, Lady Pamela shares her intimate memories with her daughter India Hicks, 53, in My Years With The Queen (pictured: the Queen and Prince Philip waving in New Zealand on the coronation world tour in December 1953)
Lady Pamela recalls: ‘You could see the moment she’s been told, the body language. She stopped walking and slumped a bit. And one thought, how awful for her.’
Over a year later, while watching a ‘frail’ Queen at her coronation at Westminster Abbey in June 1953, Lady Pamela muses: ‘Seeing her, this young woman of 27, utterly alone, I wondered how she’ll have the strength to undertake this duty all her life.’
She also reveals her uncle Lord Brabourne wore robes borrowed from a film costume department for the occasion.
During the Queen’s subsequent six-month tour of the Commonwealth, Lady Pamela was by her side yet again and discusses the gruelling schedule and being endlessly hounded by royal fans.
Reading a journal entry from Australia, she recounts: ‘I sat with Lillibet under a tree, listening to her holding forth about being marooned on a desert island.
The Queen and her party were staying at the Treetops hotel in Kenya (pictured at a polo match days earlier), and Lady Pamela describes how she ‘climbed up that ladder as a Princess and then, in the morning, she came down the ladder as Queen’
‘But she cheered up considerably, when a boatload of trippers appeared shouting whether we had seen the Queen, where is she?
‘Lillibet, in slacks, tore down to the beach, pointed to the other side of the island and yelled, “She went that-a-way” and jumped up and down with joy as the boat disappeared around the corner.’
In another entry she tells how the Queen and Philip were required to wave non-stop, remarking: ‘[Her Majesty has] developed tremendous muscles in her arms. Sitting still in a car, being yelled at and having to wave is part of the tour that Philip loathes.’
She goes on to explain Philip’s bewilderment at constantly waking up with a cold hand, before realising he was waving ‘in his sleep’.
Lady Pamela Hicks, Queen Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter and former lady-in-waiting to the Queen, regularly shares stories of her life and regal encounters on her daughter India’s Instagram
Lady Pamela reveals how the Queen used to keep chocolates in her room to stop her ‘greedy’ family from stealing them, and also once riled her mother for querying why she needed so many new dresses.
The Queen’s ‘thrifty’ nature is further highlighted when India Hicks, who is Prince Charles’ goddaughter and was a bridesmaid at his wedding, recalls being handed down Princess Anne’s thermal underwear.
Lady Pamela says the Queen’s life has been ‘entirely dictated by her sense of duty’ and describes her as an ‘amazing person’.
‘There’s such inner strength there. And she has just remained like that throughout her life,’ she says.
‘[Duty is] a word that’s barely used and certainly not understood but duty was good. It gave you a goal.’
My Years With The Queen airs on ITV on April 1 at 9pm.