Margaret Rhodes

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The Honourable
Margaret Rhodes
Born Margaret Elphinstone
(1925-06-09) 9 June 1925 (age 91)
London, England
Spouse(s) Denys Gravenor Rhodes
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 3 June 2012[1]

Margaret Rhodes, LVO (born 9 June 1925), styled The Hon. Mrs Rhodes, is a first cousin of Elizabeth II. Before her marriage she was The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone.

Early life and education[edit]

Born Margaret Elphinstone in London, she was the youngest daughter of the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, a sister of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[2] Less than a year older than the future queen, she was a frequent playmate of the young Princess Elizabeth.[3] During the Second World War she lived at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, and took a secretarial course.[4] On 20 November 1947 she was a bridesmaid to Princess Elizabeth.[5]

Marriage and career[edit]

On 31 July 1950, she married the writer Denys Gravenor Rhodes (1919–1981), with Princess Margaret as one of the bridesmaids.[6] The couple had four children and one grandson:

  • Annabel Margaret Rhodes (21 February 1952) she married Christopher J. Strickland-Skailes in 1978. They have one son. She remarried G. V. Charles Cope in 1986
    • Andrew James Downing Strickland-Skailes (1980)
  • Victoria Ann Rhodes (27 September 1953), a god-daughter of Queen Elizabeth II;[7] married Nicholas Deans in 1974
  • Simon John Gravenor Rhodes (22 February 1957), a god-son of Princess Margaret;[8] married Susan Simon in 1983
  • Michael Andrew Gravenor Rhodes (8 June 1960)

During World War II she worked as a secretary for MI6.[3][4] She was a Woman of the Bedchamber[9] – a mix of lady-in-waiting and companion – to her aunt, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, from 1991 until the latter's death in 2002.[10]

That year Rhodes was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) and currently lives in the Garden House, a residence in Windsor Great Park which was a gift from the Queen.[11] In the run-up to the Queen's 80th birthday in April 2006, Rhodes gave an interview to the BBC in which she confirmed that, in her own opinion and despite several rumours, the Queen would not abdicate.[12][13]

Her autobiography, The Final Curtsey, was published in 2011.[4] She was the 'castaway' on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 3 June 2012.[14]


Being a first cousin of Elizabeth II, Rhodes shares half her ancestry with the Queen, including several notable peers.


  1. ^ "Margaret Rhodes". Desert Island Discs. 3 June 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  2. ^ "The nation's grandmother". The Mirror. 2 April 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Barry Neild; Nick Glass (5 June 2012). "How Diana's death turned queen into 'proper granny'". CNN (London). Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Grice, Elizabeth (13 April 2011). "Margaret Rhodes: The Queen's cousin". The Daily Telegraph. 
  5. ^ Chen, Joyce (17 July 2013). "I'm "Not Terribly" Excited about Kate Middleton's Baby". US Weekly. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  6. ^ The Honourable Margaret Rhodes (26 June 2011). "I'm blissfully happy... married to the best and nicest man in the world [Excerpt from The Final Curtsey]". Daily Mail. 
  7. ^ "'Nappy and glorious'". Daily Mail. 1 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Royal Godchildren". Yvonne's Royalty Home Page. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Eating lunch off her lap, the Queen as you've never seen her before". Daily Mail. 12 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "The Who's Who Behind the Palace Walls: The Ladies in waiting of Royalty". The Royal Fanzine. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Amanpour, Christiane (16 July 2013). "The Queen's cousin". CNN. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "Queen 'will never quit throne' claims cousin". Scotsman. 19 April 2006. 
  13. ^ English, Rebecca (20 April 2006). "'The Queen will NEVER consider abdicating'". Daily Mail. 
  14. ^ "Margaret Rhodes". BBC Radio 4. 3 June 2012.