Little Daphne Wadeson

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“Will you please, your Majesty, when you see the little Princess Elizabeth, give her my love,” said Daphne Edwina Wadeson, aged ten, as she handed to the Queen a purse. Daphne’s life has only now been revealed thanks to the magic of DNA. Her full story was unknown to her closest family, and least of all to the present Queen Elizabeth to whose grandmother she spoke so sweetly in London’s east end 88 years ago.

Daphne had no children, although she married twice. She left her first husband the morning after the wedding. She’s fascinating in so many ways.

“Daphne bounced in one day, she was wearing jodhpurs and seemed very sporty,” recalls Peter, the son of Daphne’s cousin. “She kept foxes in her garden and even in her house… she had a deep hatred of the Essex hunt which hunted nearby and would provide shelter for any fox trying to escape the foxhounds.”

It’s said that Daphne was a very pretty girl and was a model for the artwork on a classic confectionery tin of the time. Legend also states that she shared school classes with Vera Lynn, the English singer so popular during the war. But no one today knew of her meeting with Queen Mary and national press coverage all those years ago.

Daphne was an only child and the last of her line. She lived in a house bought for her by a spinster grandaunt who had been forbidden to marry. Daphne’s grandmother Kate was a forgotten child born in the Channel Islands, mentioned only once in all the documentation of her siblings and father. He’d jumped ship in Melbourne at the height of the Australian gold rush. He remains a mystery thanks to his propensity to regularly change name, age, origin, and even religion.

“Yes,” replied the Queen, “I cannot promise that my little grand-daughter will understand your message, but I will give it to her,” said Queen Mary as she shook hands with Daphne. The future Queen Elizabeth was only two years old at the time.

I found Daphne thanks to a test that I did through Family Tree DNA. From there I found living relatives who share my Channel Islands ancestors, and that led to the enchanting Daphne.

Only this indistinct photograph of her remains, but I can see so much I like.

 

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