Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon
Born 4th August 1900
Daughter of Claude George Bowes-Lyon and Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck
Married 26th April 1923 Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor Westminster Abbey London England
Died 30th March 2002 Windsor Castle Kent England
Children of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and Albert Windsor:
- Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor (Queen Elizabeth II)
- Margaret Rose Windsor (Princess Margaret)
The Honorable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was born on August 4, 1900. Her exact birthplace is the subject of some dispute, but it is known that she was born in England and spent much of her childhood there.
Eventually Elizabeth’s father became the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, making “Princess” Elizabeth a real-life lady. The family seat, Glamis Castle — the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland — served as a military hospital during the First World War. Although Lady Elizabeth was too young to work as a nurse, she helped by running errands, writing letters, and playing cards with the patients. Four of her brothers fought in the war. One, Fergus, was killed in battle; another, Michael, was held prisoner for two years.
The war ended in 1918, the year Elizabeth turned 18. She was lively and attractive, with great personal charm, which did not escape the notice of George V’s second son, Prince Albert. On December 2, 1921 Albert asked her to marry him. He told his brother later, “Waiting for her answer was worse than [the battle of] Jutland, waiting for the German shells to arrive.” Elizabeth gently turned him down.
On December 26, the prince proposed again. Elizabeth laughed and said, “You spoil me. You must know I love proposals. But I’m afraid not, Bertie. It just wouldn’t do.” He proposed twice more in 1922 — and twice more she refused.
But the prince was in love and would not give up. On January 13, 1923 he proposed to Elizabeth again. As always, she laughed, but this time her answer was different. “If you’re going to keep this up forever, I might as well say ‘yes’ now. And so I do.” The marriage took place in Westminister Abbey on April 23 of that year.
Duchess of York
Elizabeth was now the Duchess of York, but she didn’t know that she would one day be Britain’s queen. Her husband’s older brother, Edward, was the heir to the throne. He was also a playboy with a penchant for married women, but it was expected that he would eventually settle down with a suitable bride and start a family.
The Duke and Duchess of York started their own family in 1926, when their daughter Elizabeth was born. A second daughter, Margaret Rose, followed in 1930. (According to Kitty Kelley’s book
The Royals, both girls were the product of artificial insemination, an
uncommon procedure at the time.) Like their mother before them, the princesses grew up in a loving family atmosphere and were educated at home.
George V died in January 1936 and his eldest son ascended the throne as Edward VIII. In December the king shocked the world by abdicating to be with the woman he loved, a married American named Wallis Simpson.
Suddenly Elizabeth’s husband, a shy man who stammered when forced to speak in public, was thrust into the very public role of king. He accepted the crown, taking the reign name George VI, and worked hard to live up to his new responsibilities with Elizabeth’s constant support, but it was never easy for him, and his wife never forgave Edward and Wallis for putting “the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
The king and queen earned the respect and love of their people in the dark days of the Second World War. Other European kings and queens were being forced to flee their homelands, but Queen Elizabeth declared, “I shall not go down like the others.” She learned to fire a revolver so she could fight to the death if necessary. Despite the threat of a German invasion, the king and queen refused to send their daughters out of the country. “The princesses cannot go without me,” Queen Elizabeth explained. “I cannot go without the king. The king will never go.”
The girls spent the war years at Windsor Castle, where they were relatively safe, while the king and queen stayed bravely on in London during the Blitzes. Their home, Buckingham Palace, was hit by bombs and rockets on nine occasions. “I’m glad we’ve been bombed,” Queen Elizabeth said. “It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.” And look it in the face she did.
She and the king visited bomb sites day after day, encouraging and comforting others with their presence. Determined to convey optimism, Elizabeth made a point of wearing pastel colors, never black. Her smiling warmth and charm, captured in newsreels, made her beloved around the world, and her radio speeches brought her message of courage and hope to the ears of people living under German occupation. She was such an inspiration to those who opposed the Nazis that Adolf Hitler called her the most dangerous woman in Europe.
By the time the war ended, the queen’s daughters were nearly grown up. Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in 1947 and gave birth to the queen’s first grandchild, Prince Charles, in 1948. The royal family also celebrated the king and queen’s silver wedding anniversary in 1948.
The Queen Mum
Sadly, the king’s health had begun to deteriorate. He died of lung cancer on February 6, 1952. His eldest daughter became Queen
Elizabeth II, and his widow was now officially known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
In the decades after her husband’s death the “Queen Mum” remained one of most beloved members of the British royal family. Even after she turned 100 years old, she continued to make official appearances and served as patron or president of some 350 organizations. She was a living link to the past; a symbol of the history and majesty of the monarchy; and, quite simply, a remarkable woman.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died on March 30, 2002 at the age of 101. Her friend Lord St John of Fawsley said, “With the passing of the Queen Mother we have lost our most treasured national person. She was not merely an historical figure. She was history.”
The Scots Peerage: Founded on Wood’s Edition of Sir Robert Douglas’s Peerage of Scotland
by Sir James Balfour Paul (Lord Lyon King Of Arms) – Edinburgh- David Douglas – 1914