Helen Lightbody; Strict Nanny Fired by Queen

From Times Wire Services

Helen Lightbody, the royal nanny fired by Queen Elizabeth II because she overruled a dessert the queen ordered for Prince Charles’ dinner more than 30 years ago, has died in a Scottish nursing home, Buckingham Palace said. She was 79.

The palace report said Miss Lightbody died in Hawick last Saturday. The Scottish-born nanny, daughter of an Edinburgh textile worker, ran the palace nursery for eight years from 1948, when Charles was a month old, until she left in 1956. After that incident, she came to be known as “No-Nonsense Lightbody.”

It was reported at the time that the queen had added a special dessert to the royal menu one day but Miss Lightbody had crossed out the order.


Miss Lightbody, who reportedly had been warned about being too stern with Charles, then 7, and his younger sister, Anne, 6, was dismissed and returned to Scotland with a pension of $14 a week.

Charles continued to visit Miss Lightbody after she had left the palace. She was invited in 1969 to his investiture as Prince of Wales and to his 21st birthday party.

According to the palace report the queen sent a message of sympathy to Miss Lightbody’s family on hearing of her death.