Hofdame Note: Welcome to Part Two: Queens Consort at Coronations in the 20th Century; A Mini-Series. Today, Elizabeth is tackling Queen Mary and her Attendants in 1911. Thank you again, Elizabeth!
Queen Mary learned everything her mother-in-law had to teach her, about dressing like a Queen, but added her own sense of style. Instead of Alexandra’s jewel-encrusted gold tissue, Mary’s gown was embroidered with the national flowers of the countries of Britain. She wore a huge diamond stomacher and piled on the necklaces and bracelets, but not so many that one piece was lost under the others, as Alexandra had done. We can spot the Cambridge emerald necklace amongst the diamonds. Alexandra rewore her own crown, so Mary had a new crown made.
I must say this is my favourite consort’s crown. It has eight arches, as she was still Queen/ Empress (mere Queens only have four arches) and I love their elegant swan’s neck curves.
Here is a close up photo of the diamond cockade as worn by Queen Mary, except she seems to have positioned the elements in a v shape. Queen (Mother) Elizabeth wore just the central sunburst on her dress in 1937 and I am expecting Camilla to do the same this year.
Mary was the first 20th century Queen to have Maids of Honour, instead of Pages, but this article has taken some sleuthing because surprisingly, there seems to be no photo taken of the Queen with them. I eventually found a picture of them posed with the Queen’s Mistress of the Robes, Evelyn Duchess of Devonshire, where they are listed by name, but not in photo order! I think it is Left-right: Lady Victoria Wyn-Carrington; Lady Mabell Ogilvy (standing); Lady Dorothy Browne; the Duchess of Devonshire; Lady Mary Dawson, Lady Eileen Butler (seated) and Lady Eileen Knox; All were the unmarried daughters of peers.
This is the gown actually worn by Lady Eileen Knox, daughter of the 5th Earl of Ranfurly. As you see, the maids’ gowns featured a beaded butterfly motif on the bodice. They also wore matching pearl butterfly ornaments in their bouffant 1911 hairdos.
The reason we have detailed photos of her dress was because she kept it and forty-two years later had it altered for Hermione, the 6th Countess Ranfurly, to wear at the 1953 Coronation!
Eileen married twice and had two children by her first husband. She died in 1972.
Seated next to Eileen Knox is Lady Eileen Butler, a daughter of the 7th Earl of Lanesborough. She married one of the Pages we met from the previous Coronation, George Sutherland Leveson Gower (you do know the last two names are pronounced Loosen Gore?) to become Duchess of Sutherland in 1913. She was a Red Cross nurse during World War I and became Queen Mary’s second Mistress of the Robes from 1916 to 1921. Eileen died in 1943, leaving no children. Her husband remarried, but also remained childless. The Dukedom went to a distant cousin.
Moving left again and standing next to the Mistress of the Robes, is Lady Mary Dawson. In the close-up photo we can see both her service ribbon, worn on the left shoulder (as we discussed in the post about Mistresses of the Robes) and the pendant necklace which all the girls wore and which was probably a gift from the Queen. She was a daughter of the 2nd Earl of Dartrey. All I know about her personally is that she was the tallest of the maids, so she was placed at the end of the Queen’s train when carrying it in procession! She married a son of the 4th Earl of Erne, the Hon George Crichton, and had five children. Her husband was a lifelong Courtier, serving Kings George V, Edward VIII and George VI. She died in 1961.
Another treasured souvenir from the event – Lady Victoria’s ticket. At first I had visions of the maids rummaging in their gowns to retrieve their tickets as they tried to wrangle the regal train at the Abbey door, then I realise it gave entry to the Palace of Westminster, which must have been the gathering point for participants!
Seated far left, Lady Victoria Alexandrina Wyn-Carrington (named after Queen Victoria) was a daughter of the 1st and last Marquess of Lincolnshire. She went on to marry Nigel Legge-Bourke, a grandson of the Earl of Dartmouth. She gave birth to their son Alexander in May 1914 and her husband was killed in action four months later. She did eventually remarry and died in 1966.
Victoria was a great grandmother of “Tiggy” Legge-Bourke, one time nanny to Princes William and Harry, whose son Tom is one of Prince William’s godsons and was a page at William’s wedding – the blond boy leaning towards Catherine in this photo.
Lady Dorothy Browne was the daughter of the 5th Earl of Kenmere and Elizabeth Baring, a 3x great Aunt of Prince William. Dorothy herself went on to marry Lord Edward Grosvenor, a younger son of the 1st Duke of Westminster. He was a pioneer aviator, winning an MC with the Royal Flying Corps in the first World War and afterwards instituting the Grosvenor Cup. He sadly died prematurely in 1929, leaving Dorothy with two daughters.
Lady Mabell Airlie was the daughter of the 11th Earl of Airlie, who had died in action in the Boer War. She was named after her more famous mother, Mabell, Countess of Airlie, who was a great friend and Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Mary. There is no long biography of our Lady Mabell as she tragically died at the age of 26 in 1918, not long after her brother was killed in action. She was the aunt of Angus Ogilvy who married Princess Alexandra in 1960.