Queen Elizabeth's childhood governess wrote a smash-hit memoir. It wrecked her relationship with the royal family.
The nursery secrets she revealed were hardly earth-shattering, but she crossed a line. Soon, she was at the edge of a nervous breakdown.
In 1949, Marion Crawford retired after 16 years’ service with the royal family as governess to the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. That year Crawfie, as she was called by the family, was approached by an American mass-circulation magazine, the Ladies’ Home Journal, with an offer for her memoirs of between $6,500 and $85,000, depending on whom you believe. Her husband, a bank manager who was always happy to make capital from her royal connections, urged her to take up the offer, but she went to Queen Elizabeth for advice.