Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Signed Christmas Card to Grand Duchess Xenia Romanov of Russia 1956
Rare signed Christmas card from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (1900-2002), to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia (1875-1960), for 1956, featuring an original colour photograph of the Queen Mother's home in Scotland, Birkhall, with a gold embossed crown on the front cover. Unusually the card is signed without the customary 'R' after her name.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was Queen of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from her husband's accession in 1936 until his death in 1952, after which she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter. She was the last Empress of India.
Born into a family of British nobility, she came to prominence in 1923 when she married the Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. The couple and their daughters embodied traditional ideas of family and public service. She undertook a variety of public engagements and became known for her consistently cheerful countenance.
In 1936, her husband unexpectedly became king when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth then became queen. She accompanied her husband on diplomatic tours to France and North America before the start of the Second World War. During the war, her seemingly indomitable spirit provided moral support to the British public. In recognition of her role as an asset to British interests, Adolf Hitler described her as "the most dangerous woman in Europe". After the war, her husband's health deteriorated and she was widowed at the age of 51. Her elder daughter, aged 25, became the new queen.
From the death of Queen Mary in 1953 Elizabeth was viewed as the matriarch of the British royal family. In her later years, she was a consistently popular member of the family, even when other members were suffering from low levels of public approval. She continued an active public life until just a few months before her death at the age of 101, seven weeks after the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret.
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia was the elder daughter and fourth child of Emperor Alexander III of Russia and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia (née Princess Dagmar of Denmark) and the sister of Emperor Nicholas II. She married a cousin, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, with whom she had seven children. She was the mother-in-law of Felix Yusupov and a cousin of Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia who, together, killed Grigori Rasputin, holy healer to her nephew, the haemophiliac Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia. During her brother's reign she recorded in her diary and letters increasing concern about his rule. After the fall of the monarchy in February 1917 she fled Russia, eventually settling in the United Kingdom. King George V, who was her first cousin, allowed her to settle in Frogmore Cottage, a grace and favour house, in Windsor Great Park for which she was grateful, and remained there until her death.
Size: 19 x 18 cm approx