Former private secretary to the Queen donates hundreds of historical books to secondhand sale

Sir William Heseltine with some of the books he has donated for auction for a historic society fundraiser. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Sir William Heseltine with some of the books he has donated for auction for a historic society fundraiser. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

FORMER Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II Sir William Heseltine has suffered a lot anguish parting with 300 books from his personal library, but he knows they are going to a good cause.

The Claremont resident has donated the books to the Royal WA Historical Society, where he was president from 1998-2000, for its Giant Secondhand Book Sale this weekend.

At the height of his collection in London, Sir William had about 3000 hardcover books as well has many paperbacks that he never counted.

The books are adorned with Sir William’s library plate, which is his coat of arms that was designed for him by the College of Arms when he was serving the Queen.

Sir William selected the 300 books from his collection and Society volunteers have chosen several to be auctioned on Saturday, April 1 at 10.30am at the Society headquarters in Nedlands.

“I had my life collection of books in York and when that house sold (last year), the accommodation I was moving to couldn’t fit the books so I had to make a hasty choice of what to keep,” Sir William said.

“It was very difficult to part with them, I suffered lots of anguish but I know they’re going to a good cause.

“My son and daughter wanted some and I gave some to a book seller in York but there were still thousands left that I offered to the Historical Society.”

The auction items include textbooks from Sir William’s days studying history at UWA, books with a royal association and some on the coup in Fiji.

People can view the auction items on Friday, March 31 from 11am-3pm and Saturday, April 1 from 8.30-10.15am.

The Giant Secondhand Book Sale is at Royal WA Historical Society, 49 Broadway, Nedlands on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2 from 8.30am-