Unearthed pictures of the Queen and Prince Philip 'relaxing at a picnic' with Daphne du Maurier to be sold at auction in Ely
PUBLISHED: 11:34 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:14 21 March 2019
Previously unseen snaps of a youthful Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip which were discovered in Daphne du Maurier's estate are set to go under the hammer in Ely next month.
The pictures, which are thought to have been taken by du Maurier’s husband ‘Boy’ Browning, were found in Suffolk amongst an archive made up of around 40 years of photographs.
They document the correspondence between du Maurier, who is famous for her novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, and her friend Maureen Baker-Munton.
Baker-Munton became Boy Browning’s PA in the 1940s and after the war he was invited to work for Princess Elizabeth’s household as comptroller and Maureen joined him as his assistant.
One of the unearthed images shows the Queen sitting on a picnic blanket eating sandwiches with Prince Philip. Elizabeth is wearing a tartan skirt and the prince is sporting his country attire.
The photos will be part of hundreds of lots included in the auction on Saturday, April 27 at Rowley’s auctioneers which is expected to attract interest from buyers all around the world.
Amongst the archive material is a letter written by du Maurier shortly after the Queen visited her and her husband in Cornwall in 1962.
She said in the letter: “The Queen inside, radiant, all in white. I don’t know what was talked about; I heard sounds coming from my mouth I didn’t recognise! She was very nice though.”
Roddy Lloyd, auctioneer and saleroom managing director, said: “This is a huge archive and we are still going through letters and photographs and making discoveries.
“These particular images, which show the Royal Family in an off-guard, relaxed mood highlight the circles in which du Maurier and Boy moved.
“I particularly love the photograph of the Queen Mother standing in a tartan skirt with a corgi behind her; her character shines through – it’s enchanting.”
Du Maurier, whose husband died in 1965, is said to have had affairs with both men and women. The couple had three children before Daphne died in Cornwall in 1989.
The sale coincides with the 30th anniversary of Du Maurier’s death.
Will Axon, Rowley’s senior auctioneer and valuer, said: “The archive is a fascinating record of Du Maurier’s life as well as her husband’s.
“Daphne’s wit of course weaves its way through the collection but her letters to Maureen also throw light on du Maurier’s sometimes strained relationship with her husband, who she nicknamed ‘Moper’ because of his depression and drink problems.
“We have seen a lot of references in the Du Maurier letters to her rather complicated relationships with friends, family and children as well as references to her writing.”
For more information, visit: www.rowleyfineart.com/the-du-maurier-collection