Childhood letter from King Charles to Queen Mother found in Warwickshire loft sells for thousands

The childhood letter from the then-Prince of Wales. Credit: Mark Laban Hansons

A letter written by King Charles to his ill grandmother when he was six-years-old has sold at auction for £7,000 - after being found during a Christmas loft clear-out.

The letter was found by a 49-year-old farm manager during a tidy of his loft in Stratford-upon-Avon, along with a folder of other pieces of royal memorabilia which had gone unnoticed for decades.

Finds include invitations to events, royal menus and letters written on Buckingham Palace headed paper. 

The letter written by then Prince Charles read, ’Dear Granny, I am sorry that you are ill. I hope you will be better soon’. The reverse side of the page reads,’Lots of love from Charles’. Signed off with drawn colourful doodle art and kisses.

The letter was offered in Hansons Auctioneers’ Library Auction today (March 7) with a guide price of £2,000-£3,000. However a bidding battle saw the hammer fall at £7,000.

The letter from King Charles sold for £7,000 Credit: Mark Laban Hansons

The unbelievable find came as a shock to the seller who had no idea the letter existed, he said: “We finally had the time to look through a big box file that my mother had given to us. It originally belonged to my late grandad Roland Stockdale.

“It contained lots of royal memorabilia, including a letter from Prince Charles to his grandmother. My wife said ‘wow, look at that!’ We were pretty gobsmacked but we weren’t sure whether anyone would be interested in it.

“My grandad passed away in his 70s in 1983 and the folder was inherited by my dad, who subsequently passed it to my mum over 10 years ago. She never had chance to look through it and gave it to my wife and I."

Mr Stockdale, a farm worker from Carlisle, moved to London and got a job with the Metropolitan Police, eventually going on to work for the Queen’s personal protection force during the 1950s.

It is believed he worked under several royals over his career.

“Finally, at Christmas, we had a bit of time to look through grandad’s folder. For the last 30 to 40 years it’s been gathering dust inside various lofts.

“I was told he was originally involved in helping to protect the Queen Mother but he probably worked with several royals over time.”

Roland was also highly regarded by William Tallon, or ‘Backstairs Billy’, the Queen Mother’s devoted servant as there was correspondence in the collection from him.

It included a postcard sent to Roland in January, 1983 from Sandringham which begins ‘Dear Sarg, Queen Elizabeth told me this morning that you are not well…’

The seller said: “My grandad was a man of few words and never really spoke about his time working with the royal family but he was clearly well thought of.

“I have absolutely no idea how he came to have the letter written by King Charles when he was a boy. It’s one of many things he kept."

Mr Stockdale was known as a man of few words but treasured any snippet of royal memorabilia offered to him Credit: Mark Laban Hansons

The popular demand for the royal memorabilia didn’t come as a surprise to Charles Hanson, as the overall collection sold for more than £9,000, twice its overall estimate.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “I was not at all surprised by the strong demand for these remarkable royal finds.

"Mr Stockdale was clearly a devoted royal servant who treasured any snippet of royal memorabilia offered to him.

"It is clear from the tone of the correspondence that the royal family held him in high regard for his kindness.

“The childhood letter from King Charles, written with painstaking care on lined the paper, is heart-warming. Amid recent royal family rifts it was lovely to see a simple demonstration of affection sent from a boy to his granny.”

Other surprising discoveries that sold:

A copy of the Queen’s 1956 Christmas broadcast speech which sold for £300. 

Three small gift tags signed by QueenElizabeth II and Prince Philip, circa 1960, achieved £1,250.

A note card signed by the Queen Mother made £150.

Two Backstairs Billy letters sold for £50.