Happy Christmas, from the Queen

1947 – King George and Queen Mother with our present queen and Prince Margaret playing the piano

Christmas cards sent by the Queen and Prince Philip to a pair of loyal married staff over 25 years have emerged for sale at auction.

The cards are signed and show the changing face of the monarchy from the black-and-white post war world to the colourful 1970s.

They were sent to the married couple who worked at Balmoral, the wife in the house and the husband on the estate.

The first from 1947 is signed by King George and the Queen Mother and includes a photo of them at a piano with our current queen, and Princess Margaret playing.

From 1951 the cards are signed from our present queen and Prince Philip and include a number of family photos, but also religious scenes and landscape images.

Several show the royal couple with their children Charles and Anne in a variety of settings.

The 1957 card shows a colour photograph of them with some dogs – possibly Dorgis – a cross between a corgi and a Daschund.

The 1964 card shows all four of the queen’s children with Edward a baby in her arms and a plump Prince Andrew grinning at the camera.

In 1968 the couple sent a card with a relaxed family photo in colour taken in the spring next to a royal pond, probably at Balmoral.

The following year they bizarrely included a speedboat in the family photo, with all six of them roaring with laughter.

In 1970 they sent a photo of the royal yacht in Sydney Harbour and in 1971 and 1972 they included family photos with all the members in high spirits.

The photos are being sold at Rowley’s auction house in Ely, Cambs, with estimates of between £100 and £150.

Roddy Lloyd from the saleroom said: “These were consigned by the daughter of a couple who both worked at Balmoral.

“She worked in service at the house and the husband was an estate worker.

“There is almost a full run of photos from 1947 to 1972 when, presumably, the couple retired.

“The royal family must have regarded the couple in high esteem and each is signed in ink – ‘Elizabeth R’ and ‘Philip’ – part from the earliest which is signed by King George.

“This really is a wonderful piece of history, showing as it does the growth of the royal family – you can see the children grow up through these photographs.

“It also shows them smiling and enjoying themselves just like any other family.

“They will appeal to collectors of royal memorabilia.”