Queen had disabled cousins ​​abandoned and declared dead

Elizabeth II’s death has brought to light old stories about the life of the royal family – not all of them favorable to the representatives of the British monarchy.

On social media, some recalled the story of Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, Elizabeth’s first cousins ​​who had intellectual disabilities and were declared dead in 1963. It was not true: they were admitted to a psychiatric hospital without receiving family visits.

Nerissa and Katherine were daughters of John Herbert Bowes-Lyon, older brother of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of Elizabeth II – that is, they were first cousins ​​of the monarch who died yesterday.

Both had intellectual disabilities that, at the time, were not accurately diagnosed. According to the Express newspaper, they were declared “imbeciles” by doctors and admitted to the Royal Earlswood Hospital psychiatric hospital in 1941.

The same institution received three cousins ​​from Nerissa and Katherine: Idonea, Rosemary and Ethelreda. They were the daughters of Fenella’s sister, mother of Nerissa and Katherine.

In 1963, a new edition of Burke’s Peerage—a genealogical guide to British aristocracy and royalty—was published, saying that Nerissa had died in 1940 and Katherine in 1961. Not true: both were alive and still in the psychiatric hospital.

In the documentary “The Queen’s Hidden Cousins” (2011), former hospital employees claim that they never received visits or gifts from the family, who only paid the institution’s annuity. Nerissa died in 1986 at the age of 66, and reportedly only nurses attended her funeral. She was buried as a pauper until, after complaints from the local press, the family placed a headstone to identify her grave. Katherine died in 2014, aged 86.

The documentary points out that the Queen Mother, their aunt, was a representative of Mencap, a UK-based charity that works with people with intellectual disabilities.

The royal family has not commented on the work. At the time, Lady Elizabeth Anson, second cousin of Elizabeth II and niece of Nerissa and Katherine, sent a statement to the Sunday Express newspaper saying the documentary was cruel and invasive, and denying that the sisters had been abandoned.

“Lady Elizabeth’s grandmother Fenella Bowes-Lyon, sister-in-law of Her Majesty the Queen, visited her daughters regularly. Of course, she was the only person they recognized. Others did, but both were visibly uncomfortable, if not frightened, with the visitors, and the nurses kindly asked the family to stop these other visits,” reads the note sent by Lady Elizabeth to the newspaper.

“It seems needlessly cruel that these two very secretive women have any kind of spotlight on their lives, let alone one as powerful as national television. She doesn’t believe any public interest is involved.”

Nerissa and Katherine were also the subject of the seventh episode of the fourth season of “The Crown”, “The Principle of Heredity”. In it, Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks medical help to deal with her psychological problems, and ends up discovering the family’s secret. She demands an explanation from the Queen Mother, who says that their disability compromised the image of the royal family.

Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon were the subject of an episode of the fourth season of 'The Crown' - Reproduction - Reproduction

Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon were the subject of an episode of the fourth season of ‘The Crown’

Image: Reproduction

Queen Elizabeth 2nd

About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

Check Also

Peppermint Chocolate Actors Are So Gorgeous These Days

Years after the screening of Chocolate with Pepper, how are some actors today is surprising …