Burke’s Peerage Given Faulty Facts : Queen’s ‘Dead’ Cousin Alive in Mental Hospital

Associated Press

A first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, listed in a leading social register as having died in 1961, is a long-term patient at a hospital for the mentally disabled, the hospital acknowledged today.

It said Katherine Bowes-Lyon, 60, a niece of Queen Mother Elizabeth, has been in Royal Earlswood Hospital in Redhill, south of London, since 1941.

Her sister, Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, who died last year at the age of 67 after spending much of her life as a patient in the same hospital, also has been listed as dead in every edition of Burke’s Peerage since 1963.


The 160-year-old reference book to the nation’s aristocracy lists her as dying in 1940, said Publishing Director Harold Brooks-Baker.

The two sisters were daughters of John Herbert Bowes-Lyon, brother of the queen mother.

Buckingham Palace said the queen was aware of the report but added: “We have no comment about it at all. It is a matter for the Bowes-Lyon family.”

The hospital was responding to a report about the sisters that appeared in The Sun, a London tabloid.

Lady Elizabeth Anson, a niece of the two sisters, issued a statement to the British Broadcasting Corp. on behalf of the Bowes-Lyon family saying that “there was no attempt at a cover-up” and that many family members had visited the sisters.

She said her grandmother was “a very vague person who often didn’t fill out the forms that Burke’s Peerage sent her, either properly or completely.”