Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck
Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Tenure 16 February 1904 - 23 June 1938 (&1000000000000003400000034 years, &10000000000000127000000127 days)
Predecessor Frances Smith
Successor Lady Dorothy Osborne
Spouse Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Violet Hyacinth Bowes-Lyon
Mary Elphinstone, Lady Elphinstone
Patrick Bowes-Lyon, 15th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
John Herbert Bowes-Lyon
Alexander Francis Bowes-Lyon
Fergus Bowes-Lyon
Rose Leveson-Gower, Countess Granville
Michael Claude Hamilton Bowes-Lyon
Elizabeth, Queen of the United Kingdom
David Bowes-Lyon
Father Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck
Mother Caroline Louisa Burnaby
Born 11 September 1862(1862-09-11)
Died 23 June 1938(1938-06-23) (aged 75)
Burial 27 June 1938
Glamis Castle

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



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

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.[6] In October 1921 she underwent a hysterectomy,[7] and by May 1922 she had recovered sufficiently to be able to celebrate the bethrothal of her youngest daughter, Elizabeth, to the King's son, Prince Albert, Duke of York, later George VI, the following January.[8]

She was deeply religious, a keen gardener and embroiderer, and preferred a quiet, family life. When bothered by pressmen for a photograph during the Edward VIII abdication crisis, she is reported to have said, "I shouldn't waste a photograph on me."[8]

She suffered a heart attack in April 1938 during the wedding of her granddaughter, Anne Bowes-Lyon, to Thomas Anson, 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.

Styles from birth to death

1862–1881: Miss Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck
1881–1904: Lady Glamis
1904–1938: The Right Honourable The Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne

Notes and sources

  1. ^ Census returns of England and Wales 1881, Public Record Office RG11 Folio 0098/114 p.3
  2. ^ Civil Registration Indexes: Marriages General Register Office, England and Wales Jul-Sep 1881 Richmond, Surrey vol. 2a p. 549
  3. ^ Forbes, p.29
  4. ^ Forbes, pp.9, 28
  5. ^ Forbes, p.28
  6. ^ Vickers, p.46
  7. ^ Vickers, p.48
  8. ^ a b The Times (London) Thursday, 23 June 1938; p. 16; col. D
  9. ^ Vickers, p.176


  • Forbes, Grania, My Darling Buffy: The Early Life of The Queen Mother (Headline Book Publishing, 1999) ISBN 9780747273875
  • Vickers, Hugo, Elizabeth: The Queen Mother (Arrow Books/Random House, 2006) ISBN 9780099476627

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