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Last name:. Date of birth:. Location of birth:. Date of death:. Elizabeth and her sisters were friends of the children of the prince and princess of Wales , from King George V and Queen Mary. According to an apocryphal story, at the age of four Lady Elizabeth apparently found herself seated next to her future husband, Prince Albert , then aged nine, the second son of the prince of Wales , at a children's party in Mayfair.
It is said that they discussed her horse and pets. War was declared on the day of Lady Elizabeth's fourteenth birthday.
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If her steadfastness and courage during the Second World War were among the most memorable features of her later reign, Elizabeth learned the meaning of war, and saw some of its consequences, as a teenager during the First World War. The family left London for Glamis Castle, which became a hospital for convalescing soldiers recovering from their wounds.
The castle, largely dating from the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, was supposedly haunted by several different ghosts, among them the hairy, egg-shaped Monster of Glamis, but was an ideal location for soldiers' recuperation, a process that was assisted by Elizabeth's games, pranks, friendship, and kindness to the men billeted with the Bowes-Lyon family. With a notable gift for conversation, she became a real favourite among the more than soldiers who spent time at Glamis, some of them Australians discharged from Dundee Infirmary.
The Bowes-Lyon family could not long remain untouched by the conflict. Four of her brothers enlisted. In September Fergus , a captain in the Black Watch , and the sixth of the ten children, was killed at the battle of Loos.
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In Michael , the eighth child, who had left his studies at Magdalen College, Oxford, to join up, and was a captain in the Royal Scots , was reported dead. Three months later the family learned that he was in a German prison hospital with a serious wound to the head. His return to Glamis, unannounced, in was a memorable day. Mourning the loss of a son, Lady Strathmore withdrew from social engagements, and after her sister Rose married in May , Elizabeth found herself largely responsible for running the hospital.
In December of that year, when a fire broke out, she saved Glamis by phoning immediately for the local fire brigade and organizing the retrieval of the most valuable objects. The last of the patients left the castle in and in the same year her mother organized a coming-out dance for Elizabeth.
But she had long since grown up in other ways, leaving her carefree Edwardian childhood behind. After the war the focus of Lady Elizabeth's life moved back to London, where she was widely known and admired for her beauty, grace, and poise, but was not a renowned socialite.
She herself was drawn to Major James Stuart , a younger son of the seventeenth earl of Moray , later an MP, Conservative chief whip, secretary of state for Scotland, and first Viscount Stuart of Findhorn. He was then equerry to Prince Albert, known as Bertie , created duke of York in [ see George VI — ], whom she had met again at dances and balls in London. The duke had also fallen for Lady Elizabeth's charms. He was first invited to Glamis in and returned in the following year. As he then wrote to his mother, Queen Mary , 'It is delightful here and Elizabeth is very kind to me.
The more I see of her, the more I like her. Although a betrothal was expected, Elizabeth had her doubts and reservations about her suitability for public life and perhaps about her feelings for the duke.
She apparently turned down his first two proposals of marriage but eventually accepted him during a walk in the woods at Walden Bury on 13 January He was the first royal prince close to the succession to become legally engaged to a non-royal since James, duke of York , later James II , in the seventeenth century. The betrothal was made public two days later; the wedding, conducted by the archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson , took place on 26 April in Westminster Abbey.
In a famous and significant gesture, during the ceremony Elizabeth placed her bouquet of flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. After a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace and an appearance—the first of many, and by no means the most memorable—on the palace balcony facing The Mall—the couple honeymooned at Polesden Lacey in Surrey, then the home of their friend the society hostess Mrs Ronald Greville. The duke of York was nervous, had a bad stammer, disliked public engagements, and was in the shadow of the prince of Wales.
In , at the suggestion of the duchess, he agreed to see the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue , who assisted him successfully for several years. It was evident very soon that with the duchess by his side he was a more relaxed and confident man. She calmed him, advised him, and gently guided him in a truly companionate marriage that was the making of him. He grew in stature and assurance in the years following their marriage, which were devoted to raising a young family and undertaking public duties, including official visits and tours. His wife also charmed his parents, even to the point where George V , a notorious stickler for punctuality, forgave his daughter-in-law for often being late.
Later, in , they were given as a weekend home Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, which they renovated extensively. The Conservative home secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks , was present to ensure, in traditional fashion, that no other child was introduced in her place. Princess Elizabeth was christened in Buckingham Palace on 29 May. Before the birth the duke and duchess had already ventured abroad on official duties to Yugoslavia and to east Africa and Sudan in and respectively.
Some eight months after Princess Elizabeth was born, leaving the infant behind they made a most successful six-month tour to Australia, New Zealand, and the West Indies, their first major official responsibility. In Canberra the duke gave a speech at the opening of the Australian federal parliament without difficulty. When the duchess temporarily lost her voice owing to a throat infection he showed that he was now able to cope effectively with public engagements.
The duchess gave birth to a second daughter in her mother's bedroom at Glamis on 21 August , this time in the presence of the Labour home secretary and president of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers , J. Clynes , who had been staying in the area for some weeks awaiting the late arrival of the second royal infant. It was probably of little comfort to him that this was the last occasion when the home secretary was required to be present at a royal birth. The baby was christened Margaret Rose in October. The early s were years of economic depression and privation for the nation, but for the duke and duchess they were the quietest and most stable period of their marriage, during which they deepened their relationship, delighted in their children and family circle, and undertook public duties in the positions they both expected to hold for the rest of their lives as members of the royal family.
The duke and duchess of York had had only limited contact with the prince of Wales and his notorious circle in the past, and did not meet the new king's American mistress, Mrs Wallis Simpson [ see Windsor, Bessie Wallis, duchess of Windsor ], until April when, on a Sunday afternoon, she and the king motored over to Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
In her memoirs the duchess of Windsor recalled her sense of Elizabeth's disapproval at this first meeting. They met again at a dinner in York House in July.
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In September dinner at Balmoral went badly when the duchess of York showed her displeasure that Mrs Simpson , not yet divorced from her second husband, should assume the role of hostess there. Unaware of his brother's intentions, and never consulted by him, the duke of York seems to have been unprepared for the crisis in the monarchy, though that very ignorance of, and distance from, events was also to be an advantage, ensuring that the duke and duchess were untainted by the scandal and the consequent political negotiations in the weeks before Edward VIII's abdication.
They were first warned of Mrs Simpson's forthcoming divorce, and of the possibility that the king might choose to abdicate, by Sir Alexander Hardinge , private secretary to Edward VIII and to George V before him, at the end of October.
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Though the duke wrote to his brother to offer his assistance, they met only once in the following month when, on 17 November, the king told him that he intended to marry Mrs Simpson. By 3 December these intentions were public knowledge. A week later, on 10 December, the duke and his brothers witnessed the instrument of abdication. In his farewell broadcast the king said of his brother: 'He has one matchless blessing, enjoyed by many of you and not bestowed on me, a happy home with his wife and children.
When she recovered she wrote to Cosmo Lang , the archbishop of Canterbury, that 'I can hardly now believe that we have been called to this tremendous task and I am writing to you quite intimately the curious thing is that we are not afraid' Lockhart , Significantly, Elizabeth's throne on that occasion was placed level with the king's. Later, in , she was appointed a councillor of state, allowing her to deputize for the king in official matters—the first queen consort to fulfil the role—and she also held investitures on her own.
How much she influenced the subsequent settlement made with the duke of Windsor , as Edward VIII became, especially the decision to deny the title of her royal highness to Mrs Simpson after her marriage to the duke in June , has been the subject of speculation.
The letter offering to restore the title his royal highness to the duke, but explicitly denying it to his new wife and any issue from the marriage, came from the king, though the duke of Windsor did not believe it was his doing. Opinion in the dominions, especially in Canada and Australia, was against granting the duchess a royal title. There was also a generalized concern that Mrs Simpson's third marriage might easily founder and that she would then be free to take the title with her, wherever that might be.
The king restated his negative position in a letter to Winston Churchill on 8 December There is no reason to believe that the queen was directly responsible for the decision, therefore. Yet her opinion on the matter may be imagined.