Portrait of Princess Elizabeth aged seven, by Philip de László, 1933
In the little church at Nevern, a poem on a card caught my eye. It was one I’d never seen before and, when I got home, I looked it up and found it has its own place in British history.
The poem was published with the title God Knows in a book by Minnie Louise Haskins in 1912, but it is better known by its unofficial title, The Gate of the Year. When she was thirteen, the young Princess Elizabeth handed the poem to her father, King George VI who quoted it during his 1939 Christmas broadcast. Her mother had come across the poem and mentioned it to the king. Many years later, when the princess became Queen Elizabeth II, she had the verse engraved upon the gates of her father’s memorial chapel and later still, included in…
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