News | June 14, 2023

Childhood Drawings of ‘Mummy’ and ‘Papa’ by King Charles III at Hansons


Lot 272: Portraits of his mother Queen Elizabeth II and father Prince Philip produced by a very young Charles c. 1953-55

Childhood drawings by King Charles III of his parents in grand attire have been discovered in a major collection of royal memorabilia.

The crayon and pencil portraits depict his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and father, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. The queen wears a striped dress with purple tiara, red earrings and handbag while Prince Philip is shown in dinner suit and bow tie.

The poignant sketches, inscribed ‘Mummy’ and ‘Papa’, were produced by a very young Charles when he was five years old. They will be offered by Hansons Auctioneers on June 16 with a guide price of £5,000-£10,000.  

They are part of an ‘extraordinary royal memorabilia collection’ which includes 10 early drawings by the King plus royal letters, family photos, Christmas cards and a 1937 Buckingham Palace manuscript menu diary. All were amassed mostly between the 1950s-1970s by author, journalist and former royal correspondent Henry Ramsay Maule (1915-1981).

Maule, from Reading, Berkshire, was the author of several books and worked as British correspondent at the New York Daily News for 21 years specialising in royal stories. He also wrote, under a pseudonym, All The Queen’s Children, an authoritative book about Queen Elizabeth II’s offspring.  

He was a friend of royal photographer Marcus Adams and enjoyed a long working friendship with members of the Royal Household. Maule gained Palace approval to write a biography of Price Philip and was in the process of collating information for this with the ‘downstairs’ help of long-standing royal servant Charlie. Sadly, Maule passed away before this could be completed. The items, which were given to him to assist with his work, were inherited by his family on his death in 1981.    

Other early drawings by King Charles include:

  •  a pair of carmine bee-eater birds, signed ‘Charles’, £2,000-£4,000 (lot 265)
  • a delivery van in Harrod’s-style livery stating ‘Happybright, Mr Charles’s Shop’, £2,000-£3,000 (lot 269)
  • a rabbit, circa 1953-1955, £1,000-£1,500 (lot 267)
  • an owl, deer and squirrels, £2,000-£3,000 (lot 264) 
  • an Easter card featuring a bunny, £1,000-£2,000 (lot 271)

Another touching item is a cartoon illustration, circa 1954-56, by Charles for his father. It depicts a master sailor receiving a tot of ‘Hair Restorer’ from an urn labelled ‘Lilac Flavour’, together with a note, dated March 25, 1954: ‘Dear Papa, I am longing to see you in the ship, Love from Charles’.

Handmade cards by a very young Princess Anne for her father, featuring a yacht, house and balloons, are also set for auction £300-£600 (lot 254) along with spontaneous and candid photos depicting members of the Royal Family at leisure. One set of images, circa 1957-61, includes a young King Charles, Princess Anne, the late Princess Margaret, the late King George VI, and the late Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mother, £400-£500 (lot 230).  

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “This is an extraordinarily touching collection. These poignant childhood drawings remind us that away from the pomp, pageantry and demands of serving the nation, our royals treasure the ordinary, every-day moments of family life. Given a crayon and pencil, nearly every child’s first drawings depict their family. Our King was no different. This collection will help people relate to him even more in his role as our monarch."

The same sale includes an important collection of royal letters from an earlier period, including many by Queen Charlotte, whose story is currently dominating the ratings on Netflix.  This collection has come to auction by descent of Sir Herbert Taylor, the very first private secretary to a sovereign. The letters are entirely personal family correspondence sent between George III, Queen Charlotte, Prince Regent, Duke of York and William IV. The collection even includes a copy of Queen Charlotte’s will.