After the recent celebrations concerning the length of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we have delved back into the IET Archive collections to uncover a fond tribute to the young Princess Elizabeth which occurred in 1947 on the occasion of her engagement to Lieutenant Mountbatten.
The tribute came in a radio broadcast by Dame Caroline Haslett which was heard on the BBC’s Women’s Hour, 10 July 1947 (Women’s Hour, still running today, was first broadcast in October 1946). Dame Caroline became the 1st Secretary of the Women’s Engineering Society in 1919 and was latterly its President in 1941. From 1946-1954, covering the time of the broadcast, Dame Caroline was the only woman member of the Council of the British Institute of Management. In addition, from 1947-1956 she was also the only woman member of the British Electricity Authority. The Caroline Haslett collection can be consulted in the IET Archives (archive reference NAEST 33)
Dame Caroline met the British Royal Family on many occasions through the various offices that she held and her high regard for Princess Elizabeth can be read in the broadcast script.
The two images below show Princess Elizabeth, the year before the broadcast, with her grandmother Queen Mary during an industrial visit to Battersea Power Station in April 1946, a visit that is referred to in the broadcast script.
Dame Caroline Haslett’s Script
Dame Caroline’s script which is reproduced in full below, discusses the life of the young Princess whilst she was growing up, mentions her interest in industry, and describes some of the visits with which the Princess was involved. Finally Dame Caroline sends ‘loyal and loving wishes’ to Princess Elizabeth and expresses her certainty that the newly engaged couple will ‘carry on and uphold all that is best in the great traditions of our country’.
Almost 70 years after the original broadcast, with Queen Elizabeth still working tirelessly for the country, Dame Caroline, had she been alive today, would no doubt be overjoyed to see that her certainty in 1947 had been so well founded.