Buckingham Palace


Yvonne's Royalty Home Page


© 1998-2006 Yvonne Demoskoff

 

"Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and
wayward youngsters and of family disagreements."
- Queen Elizabeth II

 
 

HOME | AHNENREIHE | CHARTS | DESCENDANTS | MISCELLANEOUS | QUEEN VICTORIA | TITLES | VITAL STATISTICS



Miscellaneous

Queen Elizabeth II's ladies-in-waiting at her coronation, 1953

Table of Contents:

Introduction
Queen Elizabeth II's Ladies-in-Waiting at her Coronation:
      • Mistress of the Robes
      • Maids-of-Honour
      • Ladies of the Bedchamber
      • Women of the Bedchamber
Coronation Trivia
Further Resources
Sources


 
Introduction:

When one thinks of Queen Elizabeth II's Ladies-in-Waiting at her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, one usually thinks of the six Maids-of-Honour who bore Her Majesty's train, but there were seven other women who also attended the Queen on that auspicious occasion. They were the Mistress of the Robes, two Ladies of the Bedchamber and four Women of the Bedchamber.

The Mistress of the Robes is the senior lady of the Queen's Household. Her duty at the Coronation was two-fold: she was in charge of Her Majesty's train, and she helped the Lord Great Chamberlain to prepare the Queen for her anointing (she removed Her Majesty's crimson robe and later replaced it with the Robe Royal).

The Maids-of-Honour were specially appointed for the Coronation. Their duty was to assist the Mistress of the Robes, and carry Her Majesty's 20-yard long train of purple velvet during the procession and recession.

The Ladies of the Bedchamber and the Women of the Bedchamber played a less prominent role at the Coronation (they were in attendance upon HM The Queen).

Here is the complete list of the ladies-in-waiting who attended Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation.

For the complete list of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting at her Coronation, see Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting at her Coronation, 1838. (temporarily unavailable)

Back to Table of Contents



Queen Elizabeth II's Ladies-in-Waiting at her Coronation:
 
Mistress of the Robes:

Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (née Lady Mary Gascoyne-Cecil)
Born: 29 July 1895; Died: 24 December 1988
Parents: James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury and Lady Cecily Gore
Spouse: Edward Spencer-Cavendish, styled by courtesy Marquess of Hartington, later 10th Duke of Devonshire (succeeded to the peerage in 1938)
Notes:
- CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1946 and GCVO (Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1955
- Mistress of the Robes to HM The Queen 1953-66

Back to Table of Contents


 
Maids-of-Honour:

Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (now Lady Mary Russell)
Born: 13 January 1934
Parents: George Baillie-Hamilton, 12th Earl of Haddington and Sarah Cook
Spouses: (1) John Adrian Bailey (divorced); (2) David Russell


Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (now The Rt Hon. The Lady Rayne)
Born: 11 August 1932
Parents: Edward Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 8th Marquess of Londonderry and Romaine Combe
Spouse: Max Rayne, later Sir Max Rayne (knighted in 1969), then Baron Rayne (created a Life Peer in 1976)


Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (now The Rt Hon. The Baroness Willoughby De Eresby)
Born: 1 December 1934
Parents: James Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 27th Baron Willoughby De Eresby and 3rd Earl of Ancaster and Honourable Nancy Astor
Notes:
- Lady Jane is unmarried
- succeeded as 28th Baroness Willoughby De Eresby on 29 March 1983
- is Joint Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain of England


Lady Anne Coke (now The Rt Hon. The Lady Glenconner)
Born: 16 July 1932
Parents: Thomas Coke, 5th Earl of Leicester and Lady Elizabeth Yorke
Spouse: Honourable Colin Tennant, later Sir Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner (succeeded to the peerage in 1983)
Notes:
- LVO (Lieutenant in the Royal Victorian Order) in 1991
- Extra Lady-in-Waiting to the late HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon 1971-2002
- Lady Glenconner's mother, the Countesss of Leicester, was a Lady of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen at her coronation, see below


Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill (now Lady Rosemary Muir)
Born: 24 July 1929
Parents: John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough and Honourable Alexandra Cadogan
Spouse: Charles Robert (Robin) Muir


Lady Moyra Hamilton (now Lady Moyra Campbell)
Born: 22 July 1930
Parents: James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Abercorn and Lady Mary Kathleen Crichton
Spouse: Commander Peter Campbell, RN
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1963
- Temporary Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Alexandra, Hon. Lady Ogilvy 1954-64, then Lady-in-Waiting 1964-66, and finally Extra Lady-in-Waiting 1966-69

Back to Table of Contents


 
Ladies of the Bedchamber:

Countess of Leicester (née Lady Elizabeth Yorke)
Born: 10 March 1912; Died: 30 April 1985
Parents: Charles Yorke, 8th Earl of Hardwicke and Ellen Russell
Spouse: Thomas Coke, styled by courtesy Viscount Coke, later 5th Earl of Leicester (succeeded to the peerage in 1949)
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1965, and DCVO (Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order)
- Lady of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen 1953-73
- one of Lady Leicester's daughters, Lady Anne Coke, was a Maid-of-Honour to HM The Queen at her coronation, see above


Countess of Euston (now The Duchess of Grafton) (née Fortune Smith)
Born: 24 February 1920
Parents: Captain Eric Smith and Beatrice Williams
Spouse: Hugh FitzRoy, styled by courtesy Earl of Euston, later 11th Duke of Grafton (succeeded to the peerage in 1970)
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1965, DCVO (Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1970, and GCVO (Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1980
- Lady of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen 1953-66, then Mistress of the Robes from 1967

Back to Table of Contents


 
Women of the Bedchamber:

Lady Margaret Hay
Born: 9 May 1918; Died: 24 May 1975
Parents: Lord Henry Seymour (younger son of 6th Marquess of Hertford) and Lady Helen Grosvenor
Spouse: Sir Philip Hay, KCVO
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1953 and DCVO (Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1971
- Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Elizabeth 1947-52, then a Woman of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen 1953-75


Lady Alice Egerton
Born: 7 August 1923; Died: 7 October 1977
Parents: John Egerton, 4th Earl of Ellesmere and Lady Violet Lambton
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1957
- Temporary Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Elizabeth 1949-52, then Woman of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen 1953-61


Honourable Mrs. Andrew Elphinstone (now Mrs John Woodroffe) (née Jean Hambro)
Born: 22 February 1923
Parents: Angus Hambro and Vanda Charlton
Spouses: (1) Captain the Honourable Vicary Gibbs (killed in action World War II) (son of 4th Baron Aldenham and 2nd Baron Hunsdon); (2) Reverend the Honourable Andrew Elphinstone (younger son of 16th Baron Elphinstone and Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, sister of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother); (3) Lieutenant-Colonel John Woodroffe
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1953
- Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Elizabeth 1945, then Extra Woman of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen 1953


Mrs. Alexander Abel Smith (now Lady Abel Smith) (née Henriette Cadogan)
Born: 6 June 1914
Parents: Commander Francis Cadogan, RN (grandson of 4th Earl Cadogan) and Ruth Howard
Spouses: (1) Major Sir Anthony Palmer, 4th Baronet (killed in action World War II); (2) Brigadier Sir Alexander Abel Smith, KCVO
Notes:
- CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1964 and DCVO (Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) in 1977
- Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Elizabeth 1949, then Woman of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen 1952-53, and finally Extra Woman of the Bedchamber 1953-73

Back to Table of Contents


 
Coronation Trivia:

• The 1953 Coronation took one year to prepare; it had been officially proclaimed by an Order in Council on 6 June 1952.

• The date of the Coronation (2 June) was chosen so as not to conflict with Derby Day (3 June).

• Several rehearsals were held; the final full one, on 29 May, had an invited audience in attendance.

• The Queen attended two Abbey rehearsals, on 22 and 29 May, prior to the Coronation (McDowell:70; some sources, such as Bradford:186, says Her Majesty attended "several" rehearsals, while other sources, such as Brooke-Little:52, says she attended "one"). At the other Abbey rehearsals, the Duchess of Norfolk was her stand-in. (The Duchess was the wife of the 16th Duke of Norfolk, who, as hereditary Earl Marshall of England, was responsible for all the Coronation arrangements.)

• At the final rehearsal, the future Lord Bradwell commented that the Maids-of-Honour were too pale and needed suntan makeup.

• Almost every country in the world was represented at the Coronation (Brooke-Little:55). 7,500 guests were squeezed into the Abbey (Bradford:188), and each person had to make do with a maximum of 18 inches of seating.

• Twenty-five doctors were on hand the day of the Coronation "in case an epidemic of hysterical fainting were to break out".

• Constance Spry created a salad known as "Coronation Chicken", which was served at the Queen's Coronation lunch; the recipe is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/features/2003/06/coronation_chicken_recipe.shtml

• Royal couturier Mr (later Sir) Norman Hartnell created the Queen's coronation dress. He submitted a total of nine sketches, from "almost severe simplicity and proceeded towards elaboration" (Hartnell:122). The final dress was of white satin, and was "encrusted with seed pearls and crystals to create a lattice-work effect. It had short sleeves, a fitted bodice and a full skirt flaring out. The neckline, cut square over the shoulders, curved into a gentle heart shape in the centre. Three embroidered, jewel-encrusted bands, depicting the emblems of the United Kingdom and the countries of the Commonwealth, ran like garlands horizontally across the skirt." (Allison:125). Hartnell also created the coronation dresses for the Maids-of-Honour, as well as for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, the Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and the Countesses of Leicester and Euston.

• It took nine weeks and 3,000 "hours of painstaking work" to complete Her Majesty's coronation dress.

• The Maids-of-Honour were told to hide vials of smelling salts "into the wrists of their long white gloves" to be used in case they felt faint during the long ceremony.

• Their white satin dresses featured more design on the back of the skirt than on the front because "the Maids of Honour, carrying the Queen's State Robes of Imperial velvet, would show the backs of their dresses almost more than the front as they followed her up the aisle".

Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill, who was engaged at the time of the Coronation, had to postpone her wedding in order to serve as a Maid-of-Honour.

Back to Table of Contents


 
Further Resources:

• audio-visual:

A Queen is Crowned (video of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier)

• external links:

Ceremonies and Pageants (the Coronation)

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (includes an audio clip from Richard Dimblebly's original commentary)

The Form and Order of Service [...] in The Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


The Queen's Golden Jubilee (the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's Accession to the Throne on 6 February 1952)

Westminster Abbey

Back to Table of Contents


 
Sources:

• books and magazines

Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th edition (1999)
The Complete Peerage, by G.E.C., 2nd edition (2000 reprint)
The Coronation Album: H.M. Queen Elizabeth (1953)
Elizabeth: A Biography of Britain's Queen (revised edition), by Sarah Bradford (1996)
A Hundred Years of Royal Style, by Colin McDowell (1985)
Ladies-in-Waiting, From the Tudors to the Present Day, by Anne Somerset (1984)
"Majesty", Volume 14, No 6 (June 1993)
Queens, Crowns and Coronations, by Lewis Broad (1952)
Royal Ceremonies of State, by John Brooke-Little (1980)
The Royal Encyclopedia, edited by Ronald Allison & Sarah Riddell (1991)
Silver and Gold, by Norman Hartnell (1955)

• Usenet and Internet sources

Andrew Loughrey. "Re: Elizabeth II's Ladies-in-Waiting, 1944-2001". alt.talk.royalty Usenet newsgroup. 13 Jan 2002
Michael Rhodes. "Elizabeth II's Ladies-in-Waiting, 1944-2001". alt.talk.royalty Usenet newsgroup. 19 Dec 2001
Michael Rhodes. "Re: Elizabeth II's Ladies-in-Waiting, 1944-2001". alt.talk.royalty Usenet newsgroup. 19 Dec 2001

An Online Gotha

Back to Table of Contents

 

This website was last updated on 22 July 2005. © 1998-2006 Yvonne Demoskoff