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Queen's letter detailing first meetings with Philip sells for £14k

The two page note was sent to author Better Shew who was writing a book on the royal couple.

A rare handwritten letter by the Queen describing her courtship with the Duke of Edinburgh has sold for £14,400 at auction.

The two-page account details the early stages of the relationship to author Betty Shew, who was writing a book on the upcoming Royal Wedding as a souvenir of their marriage.

It was sold to a private collector from the UK at a sale in Chippenham - and far exceeded the £800-£1200 estimate.

In it, the young Elizabeth recounts how the pair met when she was just 13 at the the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth:

"I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave - I suppose about twice in three years.

"Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor. Then he went to the Pacific and Far East for two years as everyone there will know...

"We both love dancing - we have danced at Ciro's and Quaglino's as well at parties.

"We first started seeing more of each other when Philip went for a two-year job to the R.N Petty Officers School at Corsham - before that we hardly knew each other.

"He'd spend weekends with us, and when the school was closed he spent six weeks at Balmoral - it was great luck his getting a short job first them! Elizabeth"

– Letter from the Queen describing her courtship with the Duke of Edinburgh
It sold for much higher than the predicted £1,200

Beacons 'unite Britain' in appreciation of The Queen

Beacons were lit across the region on Thursday night to mark the Queen's 90th birthday.

Crowds came to Dyrham Park near Bath to see a brazier lit celebrating the occasion.

Prince Charles said they were uniting Britain in appreciation of the Queen's lifetime of service:

Credit: ITV News
Credit: ITV News
Credit: ITV News

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Beacons to be lit to celebrate Queen's 90th birthday

Dozen of beacons will be lit across West to celebrate The Queen’s 90th birthday.

As the sun goes down, they'll be lit at churches, farms, country parks, village greens and country estates - lighting up the sky from Glastonbury Tor in Somerset to the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire.

Beacons will be lit to celebrate Queen's 90th birthday Credit: ITV West Country

There is a long tradition of celebrating special royal occasions such as jubilees, coronations and birthdays with the lighting of beacons.

The last celebration was in 2012 for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The beacons will be specially built gas-fuelled structures, traditional bonfires or braziers on top of a tall wooden post.

ASK ELLIE: When will ITV be broadcasting the Queen's 90th birthday?

Sylvia got in touch with Ask Ellie about the Queen's 90th birthday Credit: ITV News

I understand that ITV will record the pageant at Windsor Castle in May to mark H.M.Queen's 90th birthday ready for future showing. Local communities are asked to arrange their own celebrations for the official birthday weekend June 11th & 12th. I would like to know a.s.a.p When ITV will show the recording because we will build our plans around the showing, possibly on a big screen with an evening meal, like we do for the last night of the Proms, or afternoon picnic, etc depending on timing. It is now urgent that we book the venue & date, other entertainments etc but cannot until the details are announced. All arrangements for celebrations are very vague and I don't want to make plans that cannot be changed nearer the time I would be so grateful for any help and advice you can give, Kind Regards Sylvia Gilson for Chulmleigh Jubilee Committee

– Sylvia via Ask Ellie email
Thank you Sylvia for getting in touch Credit: ITV News

Thank you so much Sylvia for getting in touch with Ask Ellie. I have been in touch with the ITV Press Centre. This is what they say....

Hi Ellie We won't be able to release TX information at the moment but it will be sometime later this year... However, once we can let you know more information we will. Thanks

– ITV

So Sylvia we will keep you posted as soon as we know more. Thank you again for getting in touch. Ellie

Duchess of Cornwall to visit new Prospect Hospice centre

The Duchess of Cornwall will visit the new outreach centre of a hospice providing vital services to local communities Credit: PA: Anthony Harvey

The Duchess of Cornwall will visit the new outreach centre of a hospice providing vital services to local communities.

Camilla will tour Prospect Hospice's new facility at Savernake Hospital in the Wiltshire market town of Marlborough, which gives care and support to patients, carers and families dealing with terminal illness.

The local community rallied together and raised the target total of £260,000 in under four months and the centre's doors were opened in October last year.

During the visit the Duchess, who is the hospice's president, will meet some of the fundraisers who supported the campaign as well as staff, patients, carers and families who are now using the new facilities.

Camilla will also visit Forest and Sandridge Church of England Primary School, in the nearby town of Melksham to officially open its new building.

Work on the new school began in October 2014 and was completed last September, in time for the start of the new school year.

The Duchess will tour the new facilities, meeting staff and students along the way and her visit will end with Camilla attending a school assembly.

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Prince Harry joins injured servicemen at Invictus Games try outs

The Prince meets wheelchair tennis players Credit: ITV West Country

Prince Harry joined injured servicemen, women and veterans as they competed for places on the UK's Invictus Games team.

The athletes have been training hard for the three-day trials which could earn them selection for the Games - now just 100 days away.

Credit: ITV West Country

Harry has been the driving force behind the Games, first staged in the UK in 2014. They aim to challenge wounded, sick or injured service personnel, and those who have left the Armed Forces, to strive for sporting excellence.

Prince Harry visits athletes on the track Credit: ITV West Country

The trials at the University of Bath Sports Training Village will select the UK's team for the upcoming game, held in Orlando in May.

They're are being run by Help for Heroes with support from the Ministry of Defence and The Royal British Legion. Hopeful participants will compete across 10 sports for one of the 100 places available on the UK team.

Prince Harry visits athletes on the track Credit: ITV West Country
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