26 April 1923 - Wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Dearest Bertie, You are indeed a lucky man to have such a charming and delightful wife as Elizabeth & I am sure you will both be very happy together & I trust you both will have many, many years of happiness before you, & that you will be as happy as Mama and I are, after you have been married 30 years, I can’t wish you more… I am certain that Elizabeth will be a splendid partner in your work, & share with you & help you in all you have to do. Wishing you & Elizzbeth every good luck & a very happy honeymoon. Ever my dear boy Your most devoted Papa
The best friend and cousin of the Queen, Margaret Rhodes has died aged 91, Buckingham Palace confirmed today.
Mrs Rhodes passed away on Friday night following a short illness. It is believed that the Queen had visited her regularly over the past few weeks.
Buckingham Palace has said it will not be issuing a statement because it is a private matter, although the Queen has sent her condolences to the family.
An insider told the Sunday Express: “The Queen will be devastated to have lost her best friend. She grew up with Mrs Rhodes and they had so much shared history. They remained close throughout the Queen’s reign and Her Majesty continued to be a regular visitor at Mrs Rhodes’s Windsor home until very recently.”
“One of the disadvantages of the Queen having such a long life is that she has had to say goodbye to so many dear friends and relatives.”
“It is such a sad loss for Her Majesty, Mrs Rhodes’s family and everyone in the royal household. She was an extraordinary woman.”
Born Margaret Elphinstone, Mrs Rhodes was the youngest daughter of Sidney Elphinstone, the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon - sister to the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The Queen and Mrs Rhodes have been close friends since childhood and were only 10 months apart in age. They spent regular holidays together growing up and during the Second World War Mrs Rhodes lived alongside the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, when she studied at secretarial school and then worked as a secretary for MI6.
In 1947 Mrs Rhodes was one of eight bridesmaids at the future Queen’s wedding to Lt Philip Mountbatten, now the Duke of Edinburgh.
She married the writer Denys Gravenor Rhodes in 1950, with Princess Margaret as one of the bridesmaids. The couple brought up two sons and two daughters in Devon.
When Mr Rhodes was diagnosed with cancer, the Queen offered the couple the Garden House in Windsor Great Park so they could be closer to London for treatment. Mr Rhodes died in 1981 and his widow remained there.
The cousins remained so close that they would take tea together every Sunday after church when the Queen was in Windsor.
In 1991, Mrs Rhodes became Woman of the Bedchamber, a mixture of lady-in-waiting and companion, to her aunt, the Queen Mother, until her death in 2002. That year the Queen appointed Mrs Rhodes Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO).
In her 2011 autobiography, The Final Curtsey, she described how as teenagers she and her royal cousins slipped out of Buckingham Palace on May 8, 1945, and celebrated VE Day with the crowds in The Mall, inspiring the 2015 film A Royal Night Out.
She also revealed how the future Queen did the conga through the palace and sang until 2am on VJ Day.
”[..] but I feel I must tell you that I have always cared for you & had the hope that you would one day care for me. Things were difficult for both of us weren’t they from the start, & I understand from your letter that you want me to forget it. I have no other alternative I am afraid so I will try.” - Duke of York to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, letter dated 16 March 1922
There are countless stories, all substantiated, of the scamps the young Elizabeth and David were. “At Glamis, they smoked on the stairs and, from a turret accessed by a 143-step spiral staircase, they poured cold water over the heads of well-dressed, unsuspecting guests…” pretending it was hot oil. “They also once painted the lower rungs of a ladder with white paint, unbeknown to the painter standing several rungs above. Much to their pleasure his white footprints covered the whole of the lawn.” On another occassion, Elizabeth cut up a new set of sheets which had been put on her bed. When the plainly-astonished adult enquired of the naughty child what her mother would say when she found out, she replied jautily, “Oh, Elizabeth!”, which turned out to be the case. Elizabeth was even allowed to bring her Shetland pony, Bobs, into the house, and once even took it upstairs to her bedroom.
The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon by Lady Colin Campbell
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (4 August 1900 - 30 March 2002) b. Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon.
“Wouldn’t it be terrible if you’d spent all your life doing everything you were supposed to do, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t eat things, took lots of exercise, and suddenly, one day, you were run over by a big red bus and, as the wheels were crunching into you, you’d say, ‘Oh my God, I could have got so drunk last night.’ That’s the way you should live your life, as if tomorrow you’ll be run over by a big red bus.”