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Previously unseen Royal letters held by IWM to go on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy

Posted  1 April 2016 in News  
By Kate Clements
Edward, the Prince of Wales, with his brother Prince Albert at Leugenboom, 10 December 1918. © IWM (Q 7750)

Two letters penned by two future kings, from Imperial War Museums’ collections, are to go on display for the first time.

They were written in June 1916 by HRH The Prince of Wales – the future HM King Edward VIII – and by Prince Albert – the future HM King George VI – to Captain Faussett, Equerry to their father, HM King George V.

The letters reveal the two young princes’ reflections on the Battle of Jutland of 31 May – 1 June 1916. They will feature in the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s major exhibition − 36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War – opening on 12 May 2016, to mark the centenary of the battle.

The Prince of Wales describes his pride in the naval action in his letter − ‘it does make one feel proud of the service when one hears how those ships met their end, with their guns firing as they went down’. He reveals his reaction to the news of the death of Lord Kitchener, saying it was ‘a national calamity’ and also details his ‘dull and monotonous’ life on the Western Front.

Prince Albert, was serving in HMS Collingwood during the battle and his letter
describes his experience in detail:

‘It was a great experience to have gone through and one not easily forgotten. How and why we were not hit or damaged beats me, as we were being fired at a good part of the time. The ship ahead of us was hit but it did not do any damage. We had torpedoes fired at us which we got out of the way of luckily’.

IWM is working in collaboration with the National Museum of the Royal Navy and is loaning over 80 items for the exhibition. These include never before seen letters, diaries and objects that will tell the story of the men and the ships that fought at Jutland.

Find out more about the exhibition on the National Museum of the Royal Navy‘s website.

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