2004-05-05 23:53:23 UTC
lifelong friend of the Queen & an early lady-in-waiting to the then
Princess Elizabeth, and in recent years a Woman of of the Bedchamber
to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, has died.
Lady Margaret died in hospital, 3 May, 2004, at the age of 85.
She was the former Lady Margaret Egerton, born 20 July, 1918, fifth of
the six daughters (with one brother) of the 4th Earl of Ellesmere
(1872-1944), by his wife, Lady Violet Lambton, daughter of the 4th
Earl of Durham.
She was brought up at Bridgewater House in London (sold by Lord
Ellesmere circa 1949). This was described as London's largest private
residence. Heavy death duties on his succession to the title forced
her brother to sell the property to the British Oxygen Company.
Of her siblings, the brother, John inherited the Earldom of Ellesmere,
and then in 1963 he succeeded his kinsman as 6th Duke of Sutherland.
He died in 2000. Her younger sister, Lady Alice, was a Woman of the
Bedchamber to the Queen, and died in 1977, unmarried.
Lady Margaret was endowed with a beautiful singing voice, and had been
wont to sing a metrical psalm "The Lord is My Shepherd" (Crimond), in
the heather at Balmoral, and taught Princess Elizabeth and Princess
Margaret a little known descant.
Lady Margaret - known as Meg - served in the Second World War in the
ATS (Junior Subaltern); and was appointed Lady-in-Waiting to the young
Princess Elizabeth in 1946, and remained in the post for three years
until her husband's appointment in the Diplomatic Service took her to
She was one of the ladies in waiting on the Princess in Westminster
Abbey, 20 Nov 1947, when the Princess married Lieutenant Philip
Mountbatten. Princess Elizabeth remembered Lady Margaret's "The Lord
is My Shepherd" and decided to have this at her wedding, but nobody
could find the score of the descant. Lady Meg, tunefully accompanied
by the two Princesses sang it to the organist and preceptor of
Westminster Abbey who took down notes in musical shorthand and taught
it to the Abbey choir.
In 1948 she married at St Margaret's, Westminster, John (Jock)
Colville (later Sir John), who had been appointed Private Secretary to
Princess Elizabeth on her marriage. Colville had been a private
secretary to Winston Churchill during the war. In 1949 she accompanied
her husband to Lisbon - where he served as Counsellor - and when
Churchill formed his second administration in 1951 she and her husband
returned to London where John Colville was appointed Joint Principal
Private Secretary to the PM.
A memo in the Royal Archives from Sir Alan Lascelles (GeorgeVI's
private secretary) to the King informing HM of Colville's return to
Britain and new appointment has a postscript in the king's own hand
"This is interesting. It will suit Meg no doubt to get home. G.R."
The Colvilles had a daughter (Elizabeth) Harriet in 1952, followed by
a son, Alexander in 1955, and another son Rupert in 1960. The daughter
was christened in February, 1953, with the Queen and Prime Minister
(Churchill) standing sponsor.
(The other sponsors were Mrs Willie Whitelaw now Viscountess Whitelaw,
and the Earl of Home, later the Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home).
Harriet Colville went on to marry a cousin of the Queen, David Bowes
Lyon, and has been a Lady-in-Waiting to the Princess Royal since 1990.
Lady Margaret's husband (who was knighted in 1974), died in November,
1987, aged 72.
In later years, after her widowhood, Lady Margaret resumed her royal
service becoming a Woman of the Bedchamber to the Queen Mother in 1990
and remaining in the post until Her Majesty's death in 2002. Lady
Margaret was invested CVO by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in July,
The funeral takes place at St Mary's, Broughton, Hampshire, near her
home, on Monday 10 May, 2004.
The 11th Duke of Devonshire, KG, PC, MP, died at Chatsworth House,
Monday 3 May, 2004, aged 84, having enjoyed the Devonshire peerages
for longer than any of his predecessors. Knight of the Garter since
1996, husband since 1941 of the Hon. Deborah Freeman-Mitford, DCVO,
daughter of the Baron Redesdale; he is succeeded by his only surv.
son, Peregrine Andrew Morny Cavendish, CBE, styled Marquess of
Hartington, Her Majesty's Representative at Ascot since 1998; b. 27
April, 1944, married since 1967 to Amanda Heywood-Lonsdale (descended
from the Earls of Leven & Melville). The heir to the peerages is now
William, Earl of Burlington, b. 6 June, 1969, and if he fails to
provide male issue, the dukedom (and Chatsworth?) will pass to a
kinsman, and life peer, Baron Cavendish of Furness.
Michael Rhodes (please delete the x to e-mail me)