Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

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The Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

Cecilia Bowes-Lyon from wedding portrait of Duke and Duchess of York (cropped).jpg
Cecilia from wedding portrait of Duke and Duchess of York
Personal details
Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck

(1862-09-11)11 September 1862
London, England
Died23 June 1938(1938-06-23) (aged 75)
London, England
Resting placeGlamis Castle, Angus, Scotland
MotherCaroline Louisa Burnaby
FatherCharles Cavendish-Bentinck

Cecilia Nina Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne GCVO DStJ (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.


She 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 Petersham, Surrey,[2] and 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.[3] Her houses were run with meticulous care and a practical approach,[4] and she was responsible for designing the Italian Garden at Glamis.[5] She was deeply religious, a keen gardener and embroiderer, and preferred a quiet family life.[6]

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.[7] In October 1921 she underwent a hysterectomy,[8] 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.[6] When asked by pressmen for a photograph during the Edward VIII abdication crisis, she reportedly said, "I shouldn't waste a photograph on me."[6] 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.


She suffered a heart attack in April 1938 during the wedding of her granddaughter, Anne Bowes-Lyon, to Thomas, Viscount Anson.[9] She died 8 weeks later, aged 75, at 38 Cumberland Mansions, Bryanston Street, in London. Lady Strathmore outlived four of her ten children. She was buried on 27 June 1938 at Glamis Castle.


Name Born[10] Died Notes
Violet Hyacinth Bowes-Lyon 17 April 1882
St Paul's Walden Bury
17 October 1893
Ham, Surrey
Died at age 11 from diphtheria. She died before her father became Earl and was therefore never styled "Lady".
Lady Mary Frances Bowes-Lyon 30 August 1883
Forfar, Angus
8 February 1961
Married Sidney Buller-Fullerton-Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone on 24 July 1910 in Westminster and had issue.
Patrick Bowes-Lyon, 15th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne 22 September 1884
St Paul's Walden Bury
25 May 1949
Known as Lord Glamis from 1904 to 1944;
Married Lady Dorothy Beatrix Godolphin-Osborne on 21 November 1908 in London and had issue.
John Herbert Bowes-Lyon 1 April 1886
St Paul's Walden Bury
7 February 1930
Glamis Castle
Served as a lieutenant in the Black Watch during World War I;
Married Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis on 29 September 1914 and had issue.
Alexander Francis Bowes-Lyon 14 April 1887
St Paul's Walden Bury
19 October 1911
Glamis Castle
Died unmarried in his sleep of a tumour at the base of the cerebrum
Fergus Bowes-Lyon 18 April 1889
Glamis Castle
27 September 1915
Served as a captain in the Black Watch during World War I;
Married Lady Christian Norah Dawson-Damer on 17 September 1914 and had issue;
Killed in the Battle of Loos.
Lady Rose Constance Bowes-Lyon 6 May 1890
Ham, Surrey
17 November 1967 Married William Leveson-Gower, 4th Earl Granville on 24 May 1916 at St James's Church, Piccadilly, and had issue.
Michael Claude Hamilton Bowes-Lyon 1 October 1893
St Paul's Walden Bury
1 May 1953 Served as a lieutenant-colonel during World War I;
Married Elizabeth Margaret Cator on 2 February 1928 and had issue, including the 17th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.
Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon 4 August 1900 30 March 2002
Royal Lodge, Old Windsor
Married Prince Albert, Duke of York, the future King George VI, on 26 April 1923 at Westminster Abbey and had issue, including Queen Elizabeth II.
Sir David Bowes-Lyon, KCVO 2 May 1902
13 September 1961
Married Rachel Pauline Spender Clay on 6 February 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. ^ Forbes, p. 29
  4. ^ Forbes, pp. 9, 28
  5. ^ Forbes, p. 28
  6. ^ a b c The Times (London) Thursday, 23 June 1938; p. 16; col. D
  7. ^ Vickers, p. 46
  8. ^ Vickers, p. 48
  9. ^ Vickers, p. 176
  10. ^ "(14th) Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne 1855-1944". Thompson Family Genealogy. Retrieved 17 May 2018.


  • 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