More Royal Cousins Reportedly Sent to Institution

United Press International

Three more relatives of the British Royal Family were sent to a mental institution at the same time as two of Queen Elizabeth’s cousins more than 40 years ago, London newspapers said Tuesday.

A spokesman at Buckingham Palace said earlier that the queen was aware of the confinement of cousins Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon but that it was “a matter for the immediate (Bowes-Lyon) family.” The queen’s mother is the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Her brother, John Bowes-Lyon, was the father of Katherine and Nerissa.

According to the latest reports, three other sisters--Edonia Elizabeth, Rosemary Jean and Etheldreda Flavia Fane, cousins of Queen Mother Elizabeth--were placed in the same mental institution south of London on the same day in 1941.


The three were the children of Harriet Fane, sister of John Bowes-Lyon’s wife, Fenella.

According to authorities at the institution, the Royal Earlswood mental hospital at Redhill, all five suffered from severe mental retardation. Newspaper speculation centered on an ancient genetic defect as a possible explanation.

Records showed that Rosemary Fane died in 1972 and her cousin, Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, last year. The other three still live at the hospital.

Lady Elizabeth Anson, a niece of the two Bowes-Lyon sisters and second cousin to the queen, said there has been “no attempt at a cover-up” and that numerous older members of the Royal Family had often visited Katherine and Nerissa. Since 1963, the two have been listed as officially dead in Burke’s Peerage, a sort of “Who’s Who” of the British aristocracy.