"There were, says William Shawcross, literally thousands of letters. Chatty ones, romantic ones, acerbic ones, letters full of the terrible heartbreak, from when she was a little girl to when she was well into her nineties. Given that she only ever gave two newspaper interviews in her life, on her engagement to the Duke of York, the archive of letters both to and from the Queen Mother to which her official biographer was given access offer an invaluable insight into the life of a woman who was much cherished, much written about but often much misunderstood.
"Her letter-writing was fantastic, from the age of 6 to the end of her life, says Shawcross. She was still writing to her friends and family until virtually before she died. From her childhood onward they were very joyous and very free. There was an extraordinary exuberance about them."