Formal education – or the lack of it – was a notable aspect of Princess Elizabeth’s early life.
The future Queen never enrolled at school.
Instead she was taught at home by tutors – a decision taken by her father, then the Duke of York, and approved by George V and the Baldwin Cabinet.
In the first half of the 20th century, a home-based education for upper-class girls was the norm rather than exceptional.
At first, Elizabeth had lessons in a boudoir, off the main drawing room of her parents’ London home at 145 Piccadilly, under the supervision of her Scottish governess, Marion “Crawfie” Crawford.
Most time was spent on English, French and history.
The young princess was said to dislike arithmetic.
According to Elizabeth’s biographer, Ben Pimlott, her parents were determined, in the best traditions of the British royal family and aristocracy, that their children should not be intellectual.
Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary, the most serious member of the royal family, took an interest in her education after the abdication when the princess became the heiress presumptive at the age of 10.
Tuition in French, French literature and European history followed under the Vicomtesse de Bellaigue, who also taught Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret.
But there remained the desire to fashion a “practical” rather than “intellectual” princess.
It was announced that Elizabeth was taking cooking lessons in the Royal Lodge kitchens at Windsor, and had learnt to sweep and scrub and to polish furniture.
Neither university nor finishing school was considered as a possibility as she reached her late teens.
Instead, Elizabeth was gradually introduced to royal duties – she was the “apprentice queen”, learning the job by doing it.
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