In November 1973 I had my 17th birthday. I was at boarding school and my grandmother wrote a letter to me there, (my birthday always being in term time). I have it in front of me now and on the envelope there is a stamp depicting Princess Anne and her then husband to be, Mark Phillips, in celebration of their forthcoming wedding on 14th November that year. It was and is a letter I cherish, as it was a wonderful insight into the world that my grandmother inhabited, being herself 17 in 1908. I am, in particular, thinking about it this week, as my own daughter, Amelia, died 14 years ago this week, on 15th April 1999. She was 17 too, and had reached that wonderful state of grown- upness, as my grandmother so memorably describes it, that state where one is about to fly and find out for oneself all that life has to offer. I only link the two things as a way for myself to link my own daughter with the grandmother I loved, and the way through to that is my own mother, who was an equally-loved grandmother to Amelia, just as her mother was to me. The letter and its associations are a small illustration not just of what life was like for a certain class of seventeen year-olds in 1908, or what they bring to mind from my own experience of life in 1973, but as another of the ways we can weave our lives and experiences into something that forms a valuable part of our own family histories. For me, the letter prompts me to think again of the grandmother who I have written about here before: the one who went to Egypt with her wedding dress and cake in her luggage, who later sailed with another wedding dress from America to England and who, so the letter tells me, aged 15 had to leave school and look after her mother who suffered from a variety of ailments that afflicted Edwardian women and that we would doubtless ignore today. I am only glad that Amelia, aged 17, was looking forward to a university education and a career and that, tracing the line from her great-grandmother, who was born 90 years before her, opportunities for her had widened so immeasurably.