David Bowes-Lyon

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Sir David Bowes-Lyon
High Sheriff of Hertfordshire
In office
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byWalter Hugh Crosland
Succeeded bySir William Acland, Bt
Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
In office
MonarchsGeorge VI
Elizabeth II
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Preceded byThe Viscount Hampden
Succeeded bySir George Burns
Personal details
Born(1902-05-02)2 May 1902
Died13 September 1961(1961-09-13) (aged 59)
Birkhall, Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Resting placeSt. Paul's Walden Bury
Rachel Spender-Clay
(m. 1929)
ChildrenDavina Dalrymple, Countess of Stair
Simon Bowes-Lyon
Parent(s)Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck
RelativesQueen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (sister)
Elizabeth II (niece)
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (niece)

Sir David Bowes-Lyon KCVO (2 May 1902[1] – 13 September 1961) was the sixth son and last child of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Cecilia Nina Cavendish-Bentinck, as well as their tenth and youngest child. His elder sister Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married Prince Albert, Duke of York (the future King George VI) the second son of King George V, in 1923 and became Queen Consort of the United Kingdom after the abdication of her husband's elder brother Edward VIII on 11 December 1936.[2]

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 6 February 1929, he married Rachel Pauline Spender-Clay (19 January 1907 – 21 January 1996), younger daughter of Herbert Henry Spender-Clay, they had two children:

Later life[edit]

David Bowes-Lyon memorial in All Saints, Saint Paul's Walden, Hertfordshire

During World War II, Bowes-Lyon was a member of the secret propaganda department Political Warfare Executive. He was High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1950 and Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire from 1 July 1952[3] until his death.

On 15 December 1948, the Bowes-Lyon attended the christening of his grand nephew, Prince Charles. He was one of eight sponsors/godparents of the prince, along with King George VI, King Haakon VII of Norway, Queen Mary, Princess Margaret, the Dowager Marchioness of Millford Haven, Patricia, Lady Brabourne, and Prince George of Greece and Denmark. [4]

As a keen gardener, he was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour in 1953 and served as President of the Royal Horticultural Society from 1953 to 1961.[5][6] In 1960, he commanded the third World Orchid Conference.[7]

He was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1959 Birthday Honours.


He died at his sister's home, Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate, of a heart attack after suffering from hemiplegia on 13 September 1961, aged 59. The Queen Mother discovered him dead in bed.[8] The funeral was held at Ballater, and he was buried at St Paul's Walden Bury.

His widow died thirty-four years later on 21 January 1996, aged 89.



  1. ^ Thornton, Michael (September 1985). Royal feud: the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Windsor. M. Joseph. ISBN 9780718126001. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  2. ^ Gardeners Chronicle & New Horticulturist. Haymarket Publishing. 1954. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. ^ "No. 239587". The London Gazette. 1 July 1952. p. 3587.
  4. ^ "The Christening of Prince Charles". Royal Collection Trust. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  5. ^ Fletcher, Harold Roy (1969). The story of the Royal Horticultural Society, 1804–1968. Oxford U. P. for the Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 978-0-19-212944-4. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ The Lily Year Book. Royal Horticultural Society. 1959. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  7. ^ Proceedings of the Third World Orchid Conference. Royal Horticultural Society. 1960. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  8. ^ Vickers, Hugo (2006). Elizabeth: The Queen Mother. Arrow Books/Random House. p. 394. ISBN 978-0-09-947662-7.
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Walter Hugh Crosland
High Sheriff of Hertfordshire
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
Succeeded by