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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.

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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.

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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.”


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