“Crawfie” was governess (a role that mostly involves private tutoring) to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and an intimate companion of the royal family for 17 years. But Crawfie was banished forever from the royal household when, after retirement, she sold her story to a U.S. publisher, without the Palace’s permission. The royal family never forgave her, and to this day the phrase “doing a Crawfie” remains a euphemism among the royals for exploiting the family for financial gain. Barred from seeing the children she had spent years raising as her own, Crawfie attempted to commit suicide twice in later life. She eventually succumbed to cancer and died, alone, in a nursing home in 1988.
Nannies have played an important part in the life of the monarchy, and British royal children have often become very close to them – sometimes closer than they are to their parents. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have reportedly decided to break with centuries of tradition by choosing not to employ a full-time nanny for their child. Instead, they will rely on part-time help. Here’s a look back in time at the women employed to help raise the children of the British royals.