Monday, 13 March 2017 06:08

Resident appreciates letters from the Queen

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Swift Current resident Ethel Holderbein has even more admiration for the Queen after receiving three letters from the British monarch’s office.


These written responses came in reply to her letters to the Queen during the past few years.
She has framed all three letters from the Queen as well as a thank you card with a photograph of the Queen that came with the second letter.
“I’m very proud and very happy of those letters,” she said. “They mean a lot to me.”
The most recent letter from the Queen’s office arrived in Holderbein’s mail box during February. She was very excited to see the envelope marked with the Royal stamp.
“I was so happy, I cried,” she said.
She wrote her first letter to inform the Queen about her Royal doll collection. She is an avid doll collector and she created a new collection of the Royal wedding party after the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
“Everybody was encouraging me because they thought she would appreciate the Royal wedding clothes I made for my doll collection,” Holderbein explained.
The first Royal reply, dated July 30, 2015, was written on behalf of the Queen by her Lady-in-Waiting Mary Morrison. The official letterhead on the letter indicates it was written at Buckingham Palace.
“Her Majesty was glad to hear from you, and was touched to learn of your lifelong loyalty to The Queen and her family, and of the pleasure you have derived from collecting Royal souvenirs and pictures since you were a young child,” the letter states.
The letter then refers to Holderbein’s project to create the outfits of the members of the Royal wedding.
“It was kind of you to describe the careful research and attention to detail involved in creating these miniature replicas of the wedding gowns, dresses and uniforms, and The Queen was so pleased to hear that this project has proved to be so rewarding to you,” the letter mentions.
Holderbein wrote a letter in response to express her gratitude for the Queen’s reply and to congratulate her on her 90th birthday. Holderbein also mentioned the recent passing of her husband.
She then received a second letter from the Queen’s office, dated Aug. 25, 2016. It is signed by the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting Susan Hussey and it has the letterhead of Balmoral Castle. The letter includes a message of condolence on Holderbein’s husband’s death, which was really heartwarming for the Swift Current resident to read.
This letter also included an official Royal card with a photograph of the Queen along with a printed message of thanks for wishing her well on her 90th birthday.
Holderbein was inspired to write a third letter to the Queen. This was quite a lengthy four-page letter in which she spoke about her husband’s family roots in England as well as her own war-time experience as a young women, when she worked at No. 34 Elementary Flying Training School near Assiniboia.
The Queen was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War and she trained as a driver and mechanic. Due to her own contributions during the war, Holderbein feels proud to have this war service in common with the Queen.
It took a while before she received the third letter from the Queen’s office. This one is dated Feb. 3, 2017 and was signed by Lady-in-Waiting Annabel Whitehead. It was written on the letterhead of Sandringham House.
“Her Majesty thought it is so kind of you to write to her, and The Queen was interested to learn about the time you spent working at an Elementary Flying Training School during World War II,” the letter states.
The letter expresses appreciation for Holderbein’s continuing support for the Queen and it also refers to the reason for the delayed reply.
“Her Majesty trust you will understand that, owing to the enormous number of letters, cards and messages she has received in the last few months, it has not been possible to reply to yours until now,” the letter notes.
According to the Royal Family website, the Queen takes a keen interest in the letters she receives and she is shown almost all of her correspondence on a daily basis. Although the Royal letters were written by a lady-in-waiting, Holderbein is convinced her letters were seen by the Queen.
“It just seems that she does read the letter, because the answers that come back are so precise to what I mentioned,” she said.
She has not yet decided if she will write another letter to the Queen.
“I have some thoughts in my mind, but I’m not sure. When the spirit moves me...”

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Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer

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