THE Queen keeps a secret diary and orders staff to destroy the blotting paper used to absorb the ink each day to ensure the upmost privacy, a palace insider has revealed.
She is said to trust only Prince Philip with any confidences about her true feelings but has recorded where she has been, family news and her views on those she’s met, as well as her thoughts on them, in her diary since she was 15.
A Palace insider told Fabulous Digital: “She uses a pad of blotting paper after completing her entry and each morning one of the first duties of her personal Page is to destroy the blotting paper, so nobody can ever the tempted to try and read a reverse impression of what she has written.”
Each night, the staff are instructed to leave her undisturbed while she writes unless, as one flunkey puts it: “There’s something of world-shattering importance, like a nuclear war.”
“The diary is taken with her wherever she is staying, “ the insider continues, “whether it be Windsor or Sandringham or Balmoral, and is kept in a black leather case – a smaller version of one of the red despatch boxes containing Government papers.
“But, there are only two keys – the spare one is kept strictly as an emergency back-up by her private secretary.
“Her diaries have never gone missing, probably because they are deemed almost as valuable to her as the Crown Jewels – if it was ever lost by say, some unfortunate footman, he’d probably end up in the Tower!”
This insight into HM’s habits comes from the newly-knighted actor Michael Palin, 76, who heard it when he was invited for a night at Windsor Castle, and was chosen to sit next to the Queen at dinner.
Sir Michael said: “We were talking about diaries after I had mentioned that I kept a nightly journal of where I’d been and the people I encountered, she said she did too, the difference being that while mine may have been for publication hers were definitely not.
“She commented that she found it quite difficult because it always made her a bit woozy and said, ‘I usually manage to write for about 15 minutes before my head goes bump’, and then she did an imitation of her head hitting the table, as if she had fallen asleep.”
Palin says that after his dinner at Windsor he and his wife Helen, plus a handful of other guests, were taken to the royal library, where the Queen pointed out King George V’s diary.
“It had entries like ‘Had to see Churchill – again!’” recounts Palin.
A former member of the royal household told The Sun that the Queen writes her diary with a fountain pen using black ink – never a biro – in a series of booklets bound in soft calves’ leather.
He said: “Each diary is marked with her cypher (E11R) and numbered with a Roman numeral. There are no dates on the covers; only the Queen will know which number marks which year.
Writing the journal will be the last thing Her Majesty does every night, no matter how late the hour or how weary she may be
Former member of the royal household
“Writing the journal will be the last thing Her Majesty does every night, no matter how late the hour or how weary she may be. It is an unmissable duty, and she writes at a desk, never in bed.”
Royal author and historian Hugo Vickers says the Queen probably began keeping her own journal after watching her father, King George V1, write his diary towards the end of each day.
“She definitely keeps one,” says Vickers, “in fact she was once asked by a visiting bishop ‘Do you write it in your own hand?’ And she riposted: ‘I can’t really write it in anyone else’s’.”
“But I doubt she will give much away in the diary, because she has a lifetime of training in not saying things.
“When answering a controversial letter she might say ‘He did go on a bit’ without saying to whom she is referring – so anyone finding the letter would have no idea what she was talking about. If she finds a question awkward, she smiles.”
As for previous monarchs who have kept personal accounts of their day, Vickers notes that while Queen Victoria’s diary was very full, George V’s were rather dull.
“After referring to the incident when a bomb went off at the King of Spain’s wedding in 1906, George V ended ‘We did not get lunch until 4pm’.
“As a naval man, he mostly recorded the weather.”
As for the likelihood of the present Queen’s diary ever being seen by the public, a precedent was set by her great-great grandmother, Victoria, who authorised that extracts from her private diary could be published after her death in 1901.
Before she died Victoria had requested that her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice edit her journals before selected entries were allowed to be published.
As the Queen had been keeping a journal since her early teens, the task was enormous and Beatrice spent the next thirty years editing her mother’s jottings.
She followed Victoria’s strict instructions to remove anything that might cause “pain to persons mentioned or to our dear relatives.”
So Beatrice was assiduous in excising any mention of her mother’s feelings for her Scottish ghillie John Brown, or her tenderness towards her Indian servant Abdul Karim.
The Princess transcribed the text in her own handwriting and burned the originals, finally completing the epic task in 1931.
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The 111 volumes of Queen Victoria’s edited journals are now kept in the library at Windsor Castle, where most private royal documents are archived.
Asked by The Sun to confirm that the Queen kept a daily personal diary, a royal spokeswoman said it that it was not a matter on which Buckingham Palace would comment.
In other royal news, we told you how fans won’t see Archie Harrison christened as Meghan and Harry have “demanded a private baptism.”
And the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have spent £5,000 on a copper bath as part of their £2.4 million refurbishment on Frogmore Cottage.