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Women in History of Scots Descent
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother

Queen Mother.jpg (12727 bytes)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother is the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, the present British sovereign, and the widow of the late King George VI. She was born the Honourable  Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon on 4 August 1900  (daughter of Lord Glamis, later 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) and spent her early childhood at St Paul's Waldenbury in Hertfordshire, north of the capital. This was the country home of her parents. The Bowes-Lyon family is descended from the Royal House of Scotland. One of The Queen Mother's 14th-century ancestors became Thane of  Glamis, home of Macbeth 300 years before, and Glamis Castle is the family seat.

Lady Elizabeth was educated at home. By the age of 10, she was fluent in French. When the First World War started - coincidentally on her 14th birthday - Glamis Castle became a hospital. Although Lady Elizabeth was too young to work as a nurse, she did assist with welfare work with the patients. One of her brothers, Fergus, was killed at the battle of Loos in 1915.

Marriage and family
From childhood days The Queen Mother and her older sisters had been friendly with the children of King George V and Queen Mary. Occasionally members of the Royal family stayed at Glamis Castle. In 1922 Lady Elizabeth acted as one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of their daughter, Princess Mary. In January 1923 came the announcement of her engagement to HRH The Duke of York, The King and Queen's second son. They were married on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey.

They had two children, Princess Elizabeth, born on 21 April 1926 at the Strathmores' London home, 17 Bruton Street, and Princess Margaret, born on 21 August 1930 at Glamis Castle.

Royal tours
The Duke and Duchess made many overseas journeys. Six months after their wedding they went to Belgrade, where they both stood sponsor at the christening of the future King Peter II of Yugoslavia. Later they travelled to Kenya, Uganda and the Sudan, and in 1927 they spent six months on a world tour, during which the Duke opened the Federal Parliament of Australia in Canberra, the new capital. 

King George V died in January 1936. When King Edward VIII abdicated on 11 December the same year, the accession of the Duke and Duchess was proclaimed and they assumed the
responsibilities of the throne. Their coronation took place on 12 May 1937.

Activities as Queen
The King and Queen continued to visit other Commonwealth nations and overseas countries. Between the coronation and the outbreak of war in September 1939 they made two important visits: in July 1938 to France, and in May and June 1939 to Canada and the USA.

With the outbreak of war in 1939, there was some suggestion that the Queen and her daughters should evacuate to North America, but throughout the Second World War the Queen and her children shared the dangers and difficulties of the rest of the nation. She was in Buckingham Palace when it was bombed in September 1940. She and the King visited badly damaged areas throughout the country after the air-raids, and toured Britain visiting hospitals, factories and troops.

After the war, in 1947, they went on an extensive tour of South Africa.    

In 1948 the King and Queen celebrated their Silver Wedding. Broadcasting to the nation, the King spoke movingly of the inspiration that he had received from his marriage. Sadly, his health prevented him carrying out further Commonwealth tours. The last major public occasion that he and the Queen attended together was the opening of the Festival of Britain in May 1951. In autumn 1951, Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh took his place on a tour of Canada, and did so again the following January on a postponed visit to Australia and New Zealand. It was at the beginning of this trip that the King died peacefully at Sandringham, on 6 February 1952.

Public duties
Since the King's death, The Queen Mother has continued her public duties in the UK and overseas. These have included over 40 official visits abroad, including a 1989 visit to Canada which marked the fiftieth anniversary of her first visit there.

Her Majesty is Patron or President of some 350 organisations. She is Commandant-in-Chief of each of the Army and Air Force Women's Services and for Women in the Royal Navy. For many
years she was President of the British Red Cross Society, and she is Commandant-in-Chief of the Nursing Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade.

She is also Colonel-in-Chief or Honorary Colonel of many UK and overseas regiments, and Commandant-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force Central Flying School. She has accepted honorary
degrees from many universities, and was Chancellor of the University of London for 25 years until 1981.

In 1978 Her Majesty was appointed Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle.

Remarkable for her verve and energy, The Queen Mother remains actively engaged in public life. In the summer of 1990, her ninetieth birthday was celebrated with a parade and ceremonial on Horse Guards Parade. In her ninetieth year she undertook 118 engagements throughout the UK. In 1995, The Queen Mother oficially opened the VE (Victory in Europe) 50th anniversary  commemorations in Hyde Park, London; she appeared on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with her daughters, as they had in 1945. In 1997 she carried out 58 engagements.

Leisure activities
In 1952 Queen Elizabeth moved out of Buckingham Palace to Clarence House in St James's. In 1953 she bought the Castle of Mey, in the extreme north-east of Scotland, and spends time there in August and October every year.

The Queen Mother also finds time to pursue her love of the countryside and sport; she has been a keen and expert fisherwoman and enjoys horse-racing. She remains at the centre of the Royal family's life, retaining the closest links with every generation.

The Queen Mother was created a Lady of the Garter in 1936, when she became Queen. At the time of the coronation she became, as a Scottish Queen, the first Lady of the Thistle ever created.

Queen Mother

Click here to go to the British Monarchy website

Queen Elizabeth - The Queen Mother

Queen Mother Funeral and Biography

Castle of Mey

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