King Charles chose a childhood picture of him and the young Queen smiling out of a window in Balmoral during the Royal Family’s visit to their Aberdeenshire estate. The photograph was taken in September 1952, shortly before Charles’ fourth birthday and just months after the Queen ascended the throne on the death of her father, King George VI.
The photograph offers a rare glimpse of what childhood was like for the prince in his younger years, before he assumed the pressures and responsibilities that fall to the heir to the throne. In the image, Charles, wearing a camel coat, leans out of the window and off to the right, following the sightline of his mother, who is wearing a smart duck egg blue ensemble with brooch and pearls.
It was one of a number of pictures taken that day by the photographer, Lisa Sheridan, who was called upon to capture the Queen with her son and daughter, Anne. It is understood they were released to mark Prince Charles’s fourth birthday.
Another image from the set shows the Queen and her children smiling on a bench in the grounds of the sprawling property. A third paints the Queen as a hands-on, doting mother: she smiles down at Prince Charles as he drives past her with a toy on a ride-on car.
A photograph of the card was shared on Instagram by royal watcher loopycrown3, who also revealed the touching personal message within. ‘It was so very kind of you to send me such a wonderfully generous message following the death of my beloved mother,’ Charles wrote. ‘Your most thoughtful words are enormously comforting, and I cannot tell you how deeply they are appreciated at this time of immense sorrow.’
Originally published in Tatler.com