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'Humanity must fight against bad things if we are to survive'

The Queen Mother.

Imbued since childhood with a love of God, love of family and love of country, the Second World War brought out her strengths; she wrote that as she sat with the King listening to the Prime Minister's declaration of war in September 1939, 'I could not help tears running down my face, but we both realised that it was inevitable, if there was to be any freedom left in our world, that we must rid ourselves of the cruel Nazi creed of force. We prayed with all our hearts that Peace would come soon - real peace, not a Nazi Peace.'

. . .To her old friend Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, she wrote that it was tragic to think of all the waste of war. 'And yet is it waste? Humanity must fight against bad things if we are to survive, and the spiritual things are stronger than anything else, and cannot be destroyed, thank God.'

Throughout the war she travelled the country widely with the King and on her own, visiting the bombed and the bereaved. And she wrote constantly of the suffering of the British people. After Churchill visited liberated Paris in November 1944, she wrote to ask him: 'Do you think there is any chance of London being "liberated" in the coming months? My heart aches for our wonderful, brave people. . . . There is no limit to their courage & cheerfulness, and I long for them to have a lightening of their burden.' From the new collection of her letters edited by royal biographer William Shawcross.

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