Alathea Fitzalan Howard was born in 1923. Had she been a boy, she would eventually have become Duke of Norfolk, the head of England's leading Catholic aristocratic family, and Earl Marshal and inherited Arundel Castle. Her parents had separated and she was sent to live at Windsor with her grandfather during the Second World War. There, her constant companions were Princess Elizabeth, 13, and Margaret, 9, who were also being educated by governesses at home. Alathea's diaries begin on New Year's Eve 1939 and she continued to write them for the rest of her life. In 1953 she married Hon. Edward Ward whom she outlived. They settled in Lausanne. She died in 2001.
Isabella Naylor-Leyland is married to Alathea's nephew Philip. They have 6 children and live in Cambridgeshire. During Alathea's latter years she spent an increasing amount of time with Isabella and her family. At her death Alathea left her diaries to Isabella who has taken up the challenge of publishing them in accordance with Alathea's wish.