Page last updated at 03:00 GMT, Sunday, 13 September 2009 04:00 UK

Queen Mother war letter released

Queen Mother
The Queen Mother died in 2002

Buckingham Palace has released the text of a letter written by the Queen Mother in the aftermath of a Second World War bombing attack on Buckingham Palace.

The letter to Queen Mary said she was with George VI, removing an eyelash from his eye, when the bomb landed.

She recounted the scream of a bomb which exploded with a tremendous crash.

She confessed her "knees trembled a little bit for a minute or two", but ended with "PS: Dear old BP is still standing and that is the main thing".

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times during the war.

After one of these attacks, on 13 September 13, 1940, which left three workmen injured, the then Queen wrote an account of what had happened.

I saw a great column of smoke and earth thrown up into the air
Queen Mother

She was with the King when they heard what she called the unmistakeable whirr-whirr of a German plane flying at great speed.

There was then the scream of a bomb which exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle.

"I saw", the Queen Mother wrote, "a great column of smoke and earth thrown up into the air".

She confessed her knees had trembled a little bit for a moment or two and she recalled that she was "so pleased with the behaviour of our servants".

And she contrasted her own experience with those of other Londoners, who she said she visited in East and West Ham in the hours after that bomb raid.

"The damage there is ghastly. I really felt as if I was walking in a dead city.

"It does affect me seeing this terrible and senseless destruction - I think that really I mind it much more than being bombed myself.

"The people are marvellous, and full of fight. One could not imagine that life could become so terrible. We must win in the end."

The letter was written to her mother-in-law, Queen Mary, and is featured in the Queen Mother's official biography written by William Shawcross which is published later this week.

The letter was one of hundreds of letters from the royal archive used by the biographer to chronicle the life of the Queen Mother.

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