Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon - Queen Mum

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, future Queen Elizabeth, on her way to marry George, Duke of York, the future George VI. Getty Images / Topical News Agency / Hulton Archive

Dates: August 4, 1900 - March 30, 2002

Known for: marriage to George VI, mother of Elizabeth II; first British commoner to become a consort of a ruler of Great Britain since the 1600s

Occupation: Queen consort of George VI, King of Great Britain and Ireland; Queen Mother when her daughter, Elizabeth II, succeeded to the crown

Also known as: Queen Mum; the Hon. Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon

Background, Family:

  • Father: Claude George Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, son of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Frances Dora Smith
  • Mother: Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck, daughter of the Rev. Charles Cavendish-Bentinck and Caroline Louisa Burnaby
  • Ninth of ten children


privately educated, by her mother and by governesses

About Queen Elizabeth - Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon:

Daughter of the Scottish Lord Glamis, who became the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Elizabeth was educated at home. She was a descendent of the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce. Brought up to duty, she worked to nurse troops in World War I when her home was used as a hospital for the wounded.

In 1923, Elizabeth married the second son of George V, the shy and stuttering Prince Albert, after turning down his first two proposals. She was the first commoner to legally marry into the royal family in several centuries. Their daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, were born in 1926 and 1930, respectively.

In 1936, Albert's brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, a divorcee, and Albert was crowned King of Great Britain and Ireland as George VI. Elizabeth thus became queen consort and they were crowned May 12, 1937. Neither had expected these roles, and while they fulfilled them dutifully, Elizabeth never forgave the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the titles of Edward and his wife after the abdication and their marriage.

When Elizabeth refused to leave England during the London Blitz in World War II, even enduring the bombing of Buckingham Palace, where she was residing with the king, her spirit was an inspiration to many who continued to hold her in high regard until her death.

George VI died in 1952, and Elizabeth became known as the Queen Mother -- or fondly as the Queen Mum -- as their daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth as Queen Mother remained in the public eye, making appearances and remaining popular even through the many royal scandals, including her daughter Margaret's romance with a divorced commoner, Capt. Peter Townsend, and her grandsons' rocky marriages to Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson. She was especially close to her grandson, Prince Charles, born in 1948.

In her later years, Elizabeth was plagued with ill health, though she continued to appear in public regularly until a few months before her death. In March of 2002, Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, died in her sleep at age 101, just weeks after her daughter, Princess Margaret, died at age 71.

Her family's home, Glamis Castle, is perhaps most famous as the home of Macbeth of Shakespearean fame.

Marriage, Children:

  • husband: Prince Albert, Duke of York, who later became King George VI (married April 26, 1923)
  • children:
    • Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II)
    • Princess Margaret (Margaret-Rose)

Royal Wedding 1923 - Photos

Elizabeth, Queen Mother, elsewhere on the web

Print Bibliography

  • The Queen Mother: Chronicle of a Remarkable Life 1900-2000. 2000.
  • Massingbred, Hugh. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Woman of the Century. 1999.
  • Cornforth, John. Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother at Clarence House. 1999.
  • De-la-Noy, Michael. The Queen Behind the Throne. 1994.
  • Pimlott, Ben. The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II. 1997.
  • Strober, Deborah Hart and Gerald S. Strober. The Monarchy: An Oral Biography of Elizabeth II. 2002.
  • Botham, Noel. Margaret: The Last Real Princess. 2002.