Book number: 94236 Product format: Hardback Author: PETER DOYLE

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Quiet, dutiful and shy, Princess Mary born at Sandringham on 25th April 1897, and would grow to become one of the most respected senior members of the royal family. Anyone with an interest in the Great War will surely have heard of her, and of the brass box that carries her image and her Christmas Gift Fund of 1914. Aged just 17, Mary was engaged with the London Needlework Guild, a focus of activity with her mother. A combination of her interest and empathy undoubtedly led her to desire to develop her own gift for the Sailors and Soldiers of the Empire. The book is the remarkable story of the Princess's Christmas Gift, a simple appeal to the nation which began on 16th October 1914 in the Daily Mirror the Press Notice Announcement. The appeal was designed to provide a mark of recognition of the sacrifices being made by the armed forces and some way of providing comfort to them under challenging circumstances in that first Christmas in the First World War. The contents of the gifts varied depending on the town or village who had gathered sufficient funds for the 5,481 parcels that were sent out in time for Christmas Day. Subscribers rich and poor made their donations. For example the generous parcels from the people of Nottingham contained much of value to the average man on active service. They included the inevitable Christmas plum pudding, chocolate, woollen mittens, cigarettes, booklets of greetings, plain postcards, pencils, tins of Meloids, tins of peppermints, tablets of soap, caramels, tins of boric ointment, laces, tins of dubbin, tins of Vaseline and all together no fewer than 130,844 articles were packed and despatched 'as a token of appreciation of the services of those undertaking the hardships and risking the dangers of the great conflict.' Each gift was provided with a specially produced Christmas booklet that carried the message 'With most cordial Christmas Greetings from the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire' together with portraits of the King and Queen, the Prince of Wales, and Princess Mary. Set against the backdrop of the Christmas Truce of 1914, the book is the first time the full story of the Princess's gift has been told. It is lavishly illustrated with surviving artefacts, archive records, letters and newspaper reports and the full contents of the gift and its many variants, the design and manufacturer of the gift box, as well as the meaning of the gift to many of its recipients. It also covers gifts for the Indian Army, nurses and non-smokers and a look at those in the Colonies and also casualties of 1914. Glamorous first edition, 320 glossy pages packed with colour and archive images.

Additional product information

Product Format Hardback
ISBN 9781913491536
Published Price £20

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