Elsie Kettle is the main character from the Jacqueline Wilson book Queenie. She is the daughter of Sheila Kettle, born after she had a one-night stand at a party in Fulham with a man called Frankie. Her mother initially took care of her when she was very small, but after her mother goes out of the house and neglects her, a landlady hears her crying, and she is placed in a children's home, where Elsie remembers there was a lot of other children, and that she had to eat cabbage and got smacked for wetting the bed. She is there for a few days, before her nan, Violet Kettle, comes to get her. After that, Elsie lives with Nan in their basement flat in Burlington.

Her mother is estranged from Elsie and does not see her daughter that often, as she is usually away on jobs or with a boyfriend. When she visits or stays at home for a short period of time, she often brings her boyfriend, or 'uncle' with her, which displeases Nan a great deal. When she goes to the children's hospital, her ability for telling stories eventually makes the other children warm to her, although her skill irritates her mother, tires her school teacher, Miss Roberts, and even occasionally bores Nan. During this time she befriends the beautiful hospital cat, Queenie, and a lovely, kind nurse called Nurse Gabriel. Although Elsie eventually has to leave the hospital when she recovers, her mother is still away in Canada with Mr Perkins, so Elsie ends up going into a childrens' home again, although it is, fortunately, nowhere near as dreadful an experience for her as the last one. Nurse Gabriel comes to visit her, keeping her promise, and Nan eventually recovers. Elsie goes to visit her, overjoyed, and soon they come home, but to a new flat, as Elsie's mother let the last one go. Nurse Gabriel finally sees Elsie one last time, giving her a parting gift - a kitten from a new litter Queenie has had, whom they name Princess. In the bittersweet ending, eight years later, Nan dies, leaving Elsie devastated, but then she is old enough to look after herself. Sixty years on, the Queen is still reigning - and Elsie is still alive, now even older than her grandmother, and she has her own little granddaughter, and is presumably married. She only wonders one thing - will she maybe still be alive to take her granddaughter to see Prince Charles' Coronation maybe, someday?

About Elsie
All about Elsie
Full name: Elsie Kettle
AKA Frilly Bum (referred to by Marilyn and Susan), Gobface (referred to by Martin)
Appearance Slender, brown hair in plaits, fair skin
Age 9
Birthday March 30
Relatives Violet Kettle (grandmother), Sheila Kettle (mother), Mr. Kettle (father)
Friends Violet Kettle, Laura, Miss Roberts, Dr. Malory, Nurse Gabriel, Nurse Curtis, Rita, Gillian, Michael, Angus, Queenie
Enemies Nurse Patterson, Martin, Marilyn and Susan, Sheila Kettle (at times)
Likes Nan, her kittens, telling stories, Laura, chocolate, bus rides (though she gets easily travel-sick on them), Albert Trunk, playing games
Dislikes Mean people, Nurse Patterson offending her, her mum neglecting or nagging her, Martin, Marilyn or Susan teasing her, being called names.


  • Nan - Elsie's wonderful grandmother. She and Elsie both fall ill with TB and are whisked away to different hospitals. Elsie loves Nan very much.
  • Sheila Kettle - Elsie's mother. She can be very mean and uncaring to Elsie at times. Elsie briefly loves her, but really doesn't like her.

Other PeopleEdit

  • Queenie - The hospital's majestic woooo
  • ite cat. Elsie adores her.
  • Martin - A very rude boy in the hospital. He calls Elsie "Gobface". But soon they got along
  • Nurse Patterson - A nurse who is very mean to Elsie.
  • Nurse Curtis - A nurse who is very kind to Elsie.
  • Nurse Gabriel - A nurse who is very kind and sweet to Elsie, she is her favourite nurse and is a mother figure to her.
  • Marilyn and Susan - Two girls who pick on Elsie. Elsie kicks them and they run off screaming to tell Miss Roberts.
  • Miss Roberts - Elsie's teacher. She is very kind to Elsie and gives her colouring pencils and a piece of sketchbook paper to make Nan's card.
  • Laura - A girl who Elsie attempts to make friends with.
  • Gillian - An older girl in the hospital who also has TB she is nice to Elsie, but sometimes she is mean to her.
  • Rita - Gillian's best friend, a copycat that really annoys Elsie.
  • Dr. Malory - A doctor that picked up on Elsie's TB.
  • Mr. Perkins - Sheila Kettle's old boyfriend who owned Perkins ballpoint pens and left Sheila Kettle for a young Canadian woman in Canada.
  • Angus - a very silent boy in a full body cast.