Cecilia Bowes-Lyon was born

Updated: Sep 7, 2019

Cecilia Nina Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (née Cavendish-Bentinck)


Countess of Strathmore

Cecilia was the mother of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother & maternal grandmother & godmother of Queen Elizabeth II.


Cecilia was born in Belgravia, Westminster London on 11 September 1862. She was the eldest daughter of the Rev. Charles Cavendish-Bentinck (grandson of British Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland).


Glamis Castle

On 16 July 1881, she married Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis, at Petersham, Surrey, & 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.


Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

The Strathmore estates included two grand houses & their surroundings: Glamis Castle & St Paul's Walden Bury. Cecilia was a gregarious & accomplished hostess who played the piano exceptionally well.


Her houses were run with meticulous care & a practical approach, & she was responsible for designing the Italian Garden at Glamis. She was deeply religious, a keen gardener & embroiderer, & preferred a quiet family life.


Glamis Castle served as a convalescent hospital during the First World War for the wounded, in which the Countess took an active part until she developed cancer & was forced into invalidity.


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


Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons (the Queen Mum) with the Duke of York (later George VI) and her parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. c.1922

At the coronation of their son-in-law & daughter, the Earl & the Countess were seated in the royal box, along with the immediate royal family.


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


Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (1862-1938)

Titles & Styles;


  • 11 September 1862 – 16 July 1881: Miss Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck

  • 16 July 1881 – 16 February 1904: Lady Glamis

  • 16 February 1904 – 23 June 1938: The Right Honourable The Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne


Christening of H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (now Queen Elizabeth II)

Wedding portrait of the Duke and Duchess of York with their parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore as well as Queen Mary and King George V of England. (The Duke and Duchess were to become King George VI of England and Queen Elizabeth) Photograph taken in April 1923.

Visit Glamis Castle: https://www.glamis-castle.co.uk/

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