During World War One, Princess Mary—the only daughter of King George V—made-up little brass boxes, one for each sailor and soldier serving His Majesty, The King. Within each box, the serviceman might find cigarettes, some note paper, a pencil and, perhaps, a bit of chocolate. The embossed cover shows the princess in profile, her royal monogram, the names of ally countries, and the date “Christmas 1914” (although, due to metal shortages and production delays, the boxes were made over the four year period of the war).
I love buying these boxes—and I often try to imagine what possible stories and secrets they’ve known over the last 100 years. I have one of them myself and keep it at bedside to hold my cufflinks and collar stays.
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