Queen ElizabethShe has a large extended family and several of her relatives have a tragic history. Names Nerissa Jane Irene Bowes-Lyon Katherine Juliet Bowes Lyon won’t ring any bells. They’re first cousins of Elizabeth, and they lived long lives completely outside the public view. Let’s learn about the hidden cousins.
How the Bowes Lyon Girls Are Related to The Queen
Nerissa and Katherine were born in 1919 and 1926, respectively, to John Herbert Bowes-Lyon and Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis. That’s a lot of hyphens. John was the younger brother of Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother. This makes Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and John first cousins.
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A 1963 edition Burke’s PeerageThe genealogical publisher listed Nerissa and Katherine as deceased, listing them both as having died between 1940 and 1961. This was completely false. In 1941, the Earlswood Hospital was established to care for mentally disabled women. Both sisters were severement mentally disabled and never learned how to speak. Katherine died in 2014, while Nerissa was born in 1986.
What is the Royal Cover-Up?
To this day, debate rages about whether the royal family knew anything at all about the sisters. The family did not send any money to the sisters except for paying the boarding fees. A Channel 4 documentary in 2011 found no record of the sisters Ever receiving royal visitorsDespite the fact the Queen Mother was involved in charitable work for those with learning disabilities
The documentary was allegedly distressing to Elizabeth herself, and it caused the sister’s cousin Lady Elizabeth ShakerleyShe denied all allegations of family abandonment. She claimed that she was the one who organized a proper gravestone for the sisters.
She issued the following statement: “For these two very private ladies to have any sort of spotlight turned upon their lives, let alone such a powerful one as provided by national television, appears to Lady Elizabeth to be needlessly cruel.”
The American Royal Family
This story isn’t dissimilar to that of Rosemary Kennedy. Rosemary Kennedy, the oldest sister to Robert Kennedy, suffered from mood swings and seizures during her early 20s. Joe Kennedy, the family patriarch, had Rosemary lobotomized when she was 23. She spent the remainder of her life in Jefferson, Wisconsin.
Her story was kept private for decades. However, her family was able to reunite with her much later in her life. It’s distressing to read these powerful stories. This shows how attitudes have changed over the past century.