Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

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The Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne

The Earl in 1923
BornClaude George Bowes-Lyon
(1855-03-14)14 March 1855
Belgravia, Middlesex, England
Died7 November 1944(1944-11-07) (aged 89)
Glamis, Angus, Scotland
BuriedGlamis Castle
(m. 1881; died 1938)
FatherClaude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
MotherFrances Dora Smith

Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th and 1st Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, KG, KT, GCVO, TD (14 March 1855 – 7 November 1944), styled as Lord Glamis from 1865 to 1904, was a British peer and landowner who was the father of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.

Life and family[edit]

The Earl was born in Lowndes Square, London, the son of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and the former Frances Smith.[1] His younger brother, Patrick Bowes-Lyon, was a tennis player who won the 1887 Wimbledon doubles.

After being educated at Eton College, the Earl received a commission in the 2nd Life Guards in 1876 and served for six years until the year after his marriage.[2] He was an active member of the Territorial Army and served as honorary colonel of the 4th/5th Battalion of the Black Watch.[2]

Portrait by Philip de László, 1931

Upon succeeding his father to the Earldom on 16 February 1904, he inherited large estates in Scotland and England, including Glamis Castle, St Paul's Walden Bury, Gibside Hall and Streatlam Castle in County Durham and Woolmers Park, near Hertford.[2] He was made Lord Lieutenant of Angus,[nb 1] an office he resigned when his daughter became queen. He had a keen interest in forestry and was one of the first to grow larch from seed in Britain. His estates had a large number of smallholders, and he had a reputation for being unusually kind to his tenants.[3] His contemporaries described him as an unpretentious man, often seen in "an old macintosh tied with a piece of twine".[4] He worked his own land and enjoyed physical labour on the grounds of his estates; visitors often mistook him for a common labourer.[5] He made his own cocoa for breakfast, and always had a jug of water by his place at dinner so he could dilute his own wine.[6]

Despite the Earl's reservations about royalty,[7] in April 1923, his youngest daughter, Elizabeth, married Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. Lord Strathmore was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order to mark the marriage. His granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), was born at his home, 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, in April 1926. In 1928, he was made a Knight of the Thistle.[8]

In 1936, his son-in-law became king and assumed the name George VI. As the father of the new queen, he was created a Knight of the Garter and the 1st Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, a United Kingdom peerage in the Coronation Honours of 1937 (although he was the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne which was a Scottish title). This enabled him to sit in the House of Lords as an earl (because members of the peerage of Scotland did not automatically sit in the House of Lords, he had previously sat only as a baron through the Barony of Bowes created for his father).[8] At the coronation of his daughter and son-in-law, the Earl and Countess sat in the royal box with Queen Mary and their shared granddaughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

Later in life, the Earl became extremely deaf.[6] Lord Strathmore died of bronchitis on 7 November 1944, aged 89, at Glamis Castle.[9] (Lady Strathmore had died in 1938.[2]) He was succeeded by his son, Patrick Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis.

Marriage and issue[edit]

He married Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck on 16 July 1881 in Petersham, Surrey.[1][10] The couple had ten children. The Earl would part his moustache in a theatrical, but courteous gesture, before kissing them:[11]

Name Birth Death Age Notes
The Hon. Violet Hyacinth Bowes-Lyon 17 April 1882 17 October 1893 11 years She died from diphtheria and was buried at St Andrew's Church, Ham.[12] She was never styled 'Lady' because she died before her father succeeded to the Earldom.
Lady Mary Frances Bowes-Lyon 30 August 1883 8 February 1961 77 years She married Sidney Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone; in 1910, and had issue.
Patrick Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis 22 September 1884 25 May 1949 64 years He married Lady Dorothy Osborne (daughter of George Osborne, 10th Duke of Leeds) in 1908, and had issue. In 1944, he became 15th and 2nd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.
Lieutenant The Hon. John Bowes-Lyon 1 April 1886 7 February 1930 43 years Known as Jock,[13] he married The Hon. Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis (daughter of Charles Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis, 21st Baron Clinton) in 1914, and had issue.
The Hon. Alexander Francis Bowes-Lyon 14 April 1887 19 October 1911 24 years Known as Alec,[13] he died in his sleep of a tumour at the base of the cerebrum, unmarried.[14]
Captain The Hon. Fergus Bowes-Lyon 18 April 1889 27 September 1915 26 years He married Lady Christian Dawson-Damer (daughter of Lionel Dawson-Damer, 5th Earl of Portarlington) in 1914, and had issue. He was killed in the early stages of the Battle of Loos.
Lady Rose Constance Bowes-Lyon 6 May 1890 17 November 1967 77 years She married William Leveson-Gower, 4th Earl Granville in 1916, and had issue.
Lieutenant-Colonel The Hon. Michael Claude Hamilton Bowes-Lyon 1 October 1893 1 May 1953 59 years Known as Mickie,[13] he was a prisoner of war (at Holzminden prisoner-of-war camp) during World War I.[15] He married Elizabeth Cator in 1928. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on 26 April 1923.[16] Their children were Michael Bowes-Lyon, 17th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Lady Mary Colman and Lady Patricia Tetley.[17] He died of asthma and heart failure in Bedfordshire.
Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon 4 August 1900 30 March 2002 101 years In 1923, she married the Duke of York, the future King George VI, and had issue, including Queen Elizabeth II. She became queen consort in 1936, and in later life, after the death of her husband, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
The Hon. Sir David Bowes-Lyon 2 May 1902 13 September 1961 59 years He married Rachel Clay in 1929, and had issue.



Coat of arms of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
An Earl's Coronet
Within two branches of laurel a lady to the girdle habited and holding in her right hand the royal thistle all proper.
Quarterly 1 and 4 argent a lion rampant azure, armed and langued gules within a double tressure flory counter-flory of the second (for Lyon); 2 and 3 ermine three bows stringed palewise in fess proper (for Bowes).
Dexter, a unicorn argent armed and unguled or; Sinister, a lion per fess or and gules.
In Te, Domine, Speravi
The Arms of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne are famous for being canting as they represent the name of the holders of the title: Bowes-Lyon in that they feature bows and lions.


  1. ^ The county of Angus was called Forfarshire until 1928.


  1. ^ a b White, Geoffrey and Cokayne, G. E., The Complete Peerage, St Catherine's Press, London, 1953; vol. XII, pp. 402–3.
  2. ^ a b c d The Times (London), Wednesday, 8 November 1944, p. 7, col. C.
  3. ^ Grant, F.J., revised by K.D. Reynolds, "Lyon, Claude George Bowes-, fourteenth earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the peerage of Scotland, and first earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the peerage of the United Kingdom (1855–1944)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  4. ^ Forbes, p. 7.
  5. ^ Forbes, pp. 8–9.
  6. ^ a b Vickers, p. 5.
  7. ^ Forbes, p. 166; Vickers, p. 45.
  8. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, (ed.) Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 107th edition, Burke's Peerage and Gentry LLC, 2003; vol. III, pp. 3783–4.
  9. ^ Vickers, p. 247.
  10. ^ Sampson, June (7 February 1998). "The Petersham wedding which produced a future Queen of England". News Shopper.
  11. ^ Vickers, p. 4.
  12. ^ Vickers, p. 7.
  13. ^ a b c Forbes, p. 3.
  14. ^ Vickers, p. 13.
  15. ^ Vickers, p. 320.
  16. ^ "The Queen Mother in pictures". The Daily Telegraph. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  17. ^ Obituaries, Telegraph (21 January 2021). "Lady Mary Colman, cousin of the Queen and dedicated supporter of Norfolk good causes – obituary". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 23 August 2023.


  • Forbes, Grania, My Darling Buffy: The Early Life of The Queen Mother (Headline Book Publishing, 1999) ISBN 978-0-7472-7387-5
  • Vickers, Hugo, Elizabeth: The Queen Mother (Arrow Books/Random House, 2006) ISBN 978-0-09-947662-7

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Angus
Succeeded by
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Succeeded by