NO MONARCH, since William the Conqueror first built a stockade on the chalk hill overlook ing the River Thames, has had closer
associations with Windsor from childhood than our present Queen.
She loves Windsor in a very special way. From a little girl she regarded it as her home, and has always taken a personal interest in everything which goes on in and around the town.
The Queen and Prince Philip will be taking part in Windsor's celebrations not in their official royal capacity, but as residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
I was, I suppose, the first journalist to write regular articles on the Queen when she was a baby being wheeled round the gardens of Windsor Castle or Royal Lodge by her nanny. At weekends I took my Irish setter, Paul, with me on my pilgrimages to Royal Lodge, and on one sunny Sunday morning on the roadway leading from Bishops Gate to Royal Lodge we encountered the baby Princess in her pram. Paul, like all dogs do, went over to have a closer look, and the nurse stopped and tippped the pram saying "There's a lovely dog" — to which the royal baby made the approved gurgles and cooings. The Queen's earliest recollections as a child must be of playing with her sister Princess Margaret in the playroom of Royal Lodge, and these happenings were all faithfully reported by me. Before these days of nursery fun and games the Queen had spent her first birthdays at Windsor Castle, and these early birthdays afforded the national Press with much material.
There were vivid descriptions of the birthday parties in the Oak Room, overlooking ,the Grand Quadrangle, and also of presents she found at the bottom of her bed when she woke up in her apartment in the Victoria Tower — now called the Queen's Tower — overlooking the East Terrace, every April 21. riding expeditions, usually with her sister Margaret, and often with her father, afforded me much newspaper material.
It was in the Park near Cumberland Lodge that the Princess first took her pony over miniature jumps which her father built for her.
One day she and Margaret were deep in theyorest, not far from Cranbourne Tower, when a thunderstorm burst over them, and after sheltering under a giant oak tree for a time they decided to ride through the torrential rain and seek shelter in the Lodge at Cranbourne Tower — an old royal hunting lodge. A telephone message was put through to the Castle and one of the royal cars sent up to rescue the soaking wet royal riders.
The regular Easter and birthday visits to King George V and Queen Mary were greatly enjoyed by the Princesses, and once Elizabeth said: "Perhaps one day I will have a wonderful Castle like this." Little did she know!