Sunday, 27 November 2016

Death of Margaret Rhodes, the Queen's beloved cousin

She was her friend and companion throughout ninety years - Margaret Rhodes, cousin of the Queen, has died at the age of 91.

Margaret was a playmate of the Queen, one of her bridesmaids, and a Woman of the Bedchamber for the Queen Mother until her death in 2002. She was a close part of the wider family of 'Us Four', the bedrock of the House of Windsor and a major part of the Queen's life.

Margaret Elphinstone was born on June 9th 1925 in London. Her mother was Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, older sister of the future Queen Mother, who had married Sidney Herbert Buller- Fullerton-Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone and 2nd Baron Elphinstone, in 1910. Margaret was their youngest child.

Margaret's cousin, Elizabeth, was born in April 1926 and the two girls grew up together. During World War Two, Margaret lived partly at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. Their bond continued throughout their lives, with Margaret acting as bridesmaid for the then Princess Elizabeth when she married Prince Philip in 1947.

Their friendship continued throughout their lives and Margaret was given a home in Windsor Great Park by the Queen. In 2006, she gave a famous interview in which she said her cousin would never abdicate while her autobiography, The Final Curtsey, was well received on its publication in 2011.

Margaret married Denys Gravenor Rhodes in 1950 and they had four children. He died in 1981 and his widow is survive by their family. But she is also being mourned in royal circles where a gap has been left in the close circle that surrounded Margaret and her cousin, Elizabeth, who grew up sharing fun and games and whose lives remained inextricably linked despite their very different destinies.

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