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Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

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The Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

The Countess in 1923, during the wedding of Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, her son-in-law and daughter
BornCecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck
(1862-09-11)11 September 1862
Belgravia, Middlesex, England
Died23 June 1938(1938-06-23) (aged 75)
Marylebone, London, England
BuriedGlamis Castle
(m. 1881)
FatherCharles Cavendish-Bentinck
MotherCaroline Louisa Burnaby

Cecilia Nina Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne GCVO (née Cavendish-Bentinck; 11 September 1862 – 23 June 1938) was the mother of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and maternal grandmother and godmother of Queen Elizabeth II.



Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck was born in Belgravia, Westminster,[1] the eldest daughter of the Rev. Charles Cavendish-Bentinck (grandson of British Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland) and his wife, Louisa (née Burnaby).

Portrait by Philip de László, 1931

On 16 July 1881, she married Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis, at St Peter's Church, Petersham, Surrey.[2][3] They had ten children. Claude inherited his father's title of Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1904, whereupon Cecilia became Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

The Strathmore estates included two grand houses and their surroundings: Glamis Castle and St Paul's Walden Bury. Cecilia was a gregarious and accomplished hostess who played the piano exceptionally well.[4] Her houses were run with meticulous care and a practical approach,[5] and she was responsible for designing the Italian Garden at Glamis.[6] She was deeply religious, a keen gardener and embroiderer, and preferred a quiet family life.[7]

During World War I, Glamis Castle served as a convalescent hospital for the wounded, in which she took an active part until she developed cancer and was forced into invalidity.[8] In October 1921 she underwent a hysterectomy,[9] and by May 1922 was in recovery. In January 1923 she celebrated the engagement of her youngest daughter, Elizabeth, to the King's son, Prince Albert, Duke of York, later George VI.[7] When asked by pressmen for a photograph during the Edward VIII abdication crisis, she reportedly said, "I shouldn't waste a photograph on me."[7] At the coronation of their son-in-law and daughter, the Earl and the Countess were seated in the royal box, along with the immediate royal family.



Lady Strathmore suffered a heart attack in April 1938 during the wedding of her granddaughter, Anne Bowes-Lyon (later Princess of Denmark), to Viscount Anson.[10] She died 8 weeks later at 38 Cumberland Mansions, near Bryanston Square in London, at the age of 75. Lady Strathmore outlived four of her ten children. She was buried on 27 June 1938 at Glamis Castle.


Name Birth[11] Death Age Notes
The Hon. Violet Hyacinth Bowes-Lyon 17 April 1882 17 October 1893 11 years She died from diphtheria and was buried at St Andrew's Church, Ham.[12] She was never styled 'Lady' because she died before her father succeeded to the Earldom.
Lady Mary Frances Bowes-Lyon 30 August 1883 8 February 1961 77 years She married Sidney Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone; in 1910, and had issue.
Patrick Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis 22 September 1884 25 May 1949 64 years He married Lady Dorothy Osborne (daughter of George Osborne, 10th Duke of Leeds) in 1908, and had issue. In 1944, he became 15th and 2nd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.
Lieutenant The Hon. John Bowes-Lyon 1 April 1886 7 February 1930 43 years Known as Jock,[13] he married The Hon. Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis (daughter of Charles Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis, 21st Baron Clinton) in 1914, and had issue.
The Hon. Alexander Francis Bowes-Lyon 14 April 1887 19 October 1911 24 years Known as Alec,[13] he died in his sleep of a tumour at the base of the cerebrum, unmarried.[14]
Captain The Hon. Fergus Bowes-Lyon 18 April 1889 27 September 1915 26 years He married Lady Christian Dawson-Damer (daughter of Lionel Dawson-Damer, 5th Earl of Portarlington) in 1914, and had issue. He was killed in the early stages of the Battle of Loos.
Lady Rose Constance Bowes-Lyon 6 May 1890 17 November 1967 77 years She married William Leveson-Gower, 4th Earl Granville in 1916, and had issue.
Lieutenant-Colonel The Hon. Michael Claude Hamilton Bowes-Lyon 1 October 1893 1 May 1953 59 years Known as Mickie,[13] he was a prisoner of war (at Holzminden prisoner-of-war camp) during World War I.[15] He married Elizabeth Cator in 1928. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on 26 April 1923.[16] Their children were Michael Bowes-Lyon, 17th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Lady Mary Colman and Lady Patricia Tetley.[17] He died of asthma and heart failure in Bedfordshire.
Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon 4 August 1900 30 March 2002 101 years In 1923, she married the future King George VI, and had issue, including Queen Elizabeth II. She became queen consort and empress consort of India in 1936, and in later life, after the death of her husband, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
The Hon. Sir David Bowes-Lyon 2 May 1902 13 September 1961 59 years He married Rachel Clay in 1929, and had issue.




  1. ^ Davies, p. 74
  2. ^ Civil Registration Indexes: Marriages General Register Office, England and Wales Jul–Sep 1881 Richmond, Surrey vol. 2a, p. 549; White, G. H. (1953) The Complete Peerage: Volume XII Part I, p. 402. (St. Catherine Press, London)
  3. ^ "When Lord Strathmore Married". Dundee Courier. 11 June 1931. p. 6. Retrieved 13 July 2021 – via British Library Newspapers.
  4. ^ Forbes, p. 29
  5. ^ Forbes, pp. 9, 28
  6. ^ Forbes, p. 28
  7. ^ a b c The Times (London) Thursday, 23 June 1938; p. 16; col. D
  8. ^ Vickers, p. 46
  9. ^ Vickers, p. 48
  10. ^ Vickers, p. 176
  11. ^ "(14th) Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne 1855-1944". Thompson Family Genealogy. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  12. ^ Vickers, p. 7.
  13. ^ a b c Forbes, p. 3.
  14. ^ Vickers, p. 13.
  15. ^ Vickers, p. 320.
  16. ^ "The Queen Mother in pictures". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  17. ^ Obituaries, Telegraph (21 January 2021). "Lady Mary Colman, cousin of the Queen and dedicated supporter of Norfolk good causes – obituary". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 August 2023.


  • Davies, Edward J., "Some Connections of the Birds of Warwickshire", The Genealogist, 26(2012):58–76
  • Forbes, Grania, My Darling Buffy: The Early Life of The Queen Mother (Headline Book Publishing, 1999); ISBN 978-0-7472-7387-5
  • Vickers, Hugo, Elizabeth: The Queen Mother (Arrow Books/Random House, 2006); ISBN 978-0-09-947662-7