Elizabeth with her mother Cecilla in 1923. It has been claimed in a new book that a cook gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth because her own mother was unable to have any more children
Elizabeth Bowes Lyon at the age of seven. The Queen Mother's exact date of birth in August 1900 as the fourth daughter of Lord Glamis, later 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, has always been disputed
Lady Elizabeth with her parents and the Duke of York in January 1923 shortly before they got engaged
The publication of the extracts could not have been more ill-timed, as the Queen on Friday held a service of remembrance for her beloved mother to mark the 10th anniversary of her death
Extraordinary claims that the Queen Mother’s real mother was her family’s French cook are to be made in a sensational new book.
Aristocratic author Lady Colin Campbell says the domestic help may have been ‘an early version of surrogacy’ for both Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and her younger brother David.
The cook, an ‘attractive and pleasant Frenchwoman’ called Marguerite Rodiere, gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth because her own mother Cecilia, who already had eight children, was unable to have any more.
According to Lady Colin, this explains the unflattering nickname ‘Cookie’ given to the Queen Mother by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The astonishing claims are contained in ‘The Queen Mother, The untold story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’, on sale next month.
The publication of the extracts could not have been more ill-timed, as the Queen on Friday held a service of remembrance for her beloved mother to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.
Held at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, it was attended by almost every senior member of the Royal Family and saw glowing tributes paid to the former Queen and her daughter, Princess Margaret, who died just a few weeks earlier.
The allegations immediately came under fire from royal experts.
Hugo Vickers said: ‘It is exactly ten years to the day that the Queen Mother died and I do not think it very nice at all to be promulgating these kind of theories at this time, particularly when the Queen has been celebrating her much loved mother’s life at Windsor today.
'Lady Colin Campbell has been pushing this bizarre theory for some time in conversations etc. and I have to say I think it is complete nonsense.
'You only have to look at pictures of the Queen Mother and her mother to see that they are related.’
Royal author Michael Thornton said: ‘I suppose that Georgie Campbell, whom I have known for many years, was faced with the same difficulty confronting all biographers of the Queen Mother: namely that everything of importance has already been said, leaving it difficult to find anything new to say.
'But I have to say that I utterly disbelieve this claim on her part, and without DNA evidence to support it, there is absolutely no way now of proving it.
'I think it is unfortunate to publish this allegation in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.
'It is bound to distress the Queen, and most particularly the Prince of Wales, who was devoted to his grandmother.’
The Queen Mother’s exact date of birth in August 1900 as the fourth daughter of Lord Glamis, later 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, has always been disputed.
It also remained unclear whether she was actually born in the back of a London ambulance or the family home, St Paul’s Waldenbury, in Hertfordshire.
Another puzzle has been why the Queen Mother, born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, was given a French middle name.
In U.S. author Kitty Kelley’s notorious book The Royals, published in 1997, she suggested the Queen Mother was the daughter of a Welsh maid who worked in the family’s castle in Scotland.
But Lady Colin, who has herself had a colourful life after being raised as a boy during her early years in Jamaica, says the mother may have been another member of the household.
She writes: ‘For the fact is, royal and aristocratic circles had been alight for decades with the story that Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, while undoubtedly the daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, was not the child of his wife Cecilia, nor was her younger brother David, born nearly two years after her on 2nd May, 1902.
'The two Benjamins, as they were known in the Bowes Lyon family (in a Biblical allusion to the brother of Joseph, who was himself the product of a coupling between his father and his mother’s maid) were supposedly the children of Marguerite Rodiere, an attractive and pleasant Frenchwoman who had been the cook at St Paul’s Waldenbury and is meant to have provided Lord and Lady Glamis with the two children they so yearned for after Cecilia was forbidden by her doctors from producing any more progeny.
'Hence the nickname of Cookie, which the Duke and Duchess of Windsor took care to promulgate throughout international society once Elizabeth proved herself to be their most formidable enemy.’
In the book – the first chapter of which has been published on her U.S. publishers’ website – Lady Colin, says Cecilia Glamis never recovered from the death in 1893 of their eldest child Violet.
She writes: ‘Claude Glamis had no problem fathering children, as his wife Cecilia had proven eight times over. Nor did she have problems producing healthy, happy, good-looking and charming children.
'However, one of the tragedies that periodically happened in those pre-antibiotic days, might well have been the root of the problem.’
Violet died of heart failure following a bout of diphtheria, less than three weeks after Cecilia had given birth to her youngest son Michael.
According to Lady Campbell: ‘Lady Glamis was an exceptionally loving mother who lived primarily for her children.
'Already emotionally vulnerable following the latest birth, she was devastated by the death of this child whom she always said was “beautiful” and admitted to her dying day to missing.’
Lady Colin continues: ‘The fact is, she suffered a severe nervous breakdown from which she never entirely recovered.
'She would always remain fragile, both physically and personally, and while she recovered sufficiently to resume her role in Society, she was prone to nervous attacks which incapacitated her for the remainder of her life.’
The author says that some people did know the truth surrounding the Queen Mother’s birth, chiefly her brother-in-law, David.
'As King Edward VIII, David had access to all the information about Elizabeth’s secret which was not so secret in aristocratic and royal circles.
'When he discovered, to his horror, that Elizabeth was actively scheming with his own courtiers to undermine his position as king and prevent him from marrying the woman he loved, he used the wealth of access at his disposal to circumvent his own private and deputy private secretaries and obtain sight of the documents, which confirmed that Elizabeth had been born, not of 4th August as supposed, but on 3rd August at St Paul’s Waldenbury to Marguerite Rodiere.’
Lady Colin continued: ‘The Duke of Windsor always maintained that he would never have revealed Elizabeth’s secret had he not discovered at the time of the Abdication Crisis, through Lord Beaverbrook, that Elizabeth was behind the scurrilous and utterly untrue rumour that Wallis (Simpson) had learnt secret sexual techniques in a bordello in China, and it was this which was the secret hold she had over King Edward VIII.
'Once he knew this to be true, however, he felt justified in rumbling the sister-in-law who had a secret of her own, and one, moreover, which had in his view, more merit than the one she had invented about his beloved.’
Lady Colin says that’s why thereafter, Elizabeth was known as Cookie.
She writes: ‘For those who asked, as I did when I was a late teenager, why she was being called by that nickname, there was always a member of the Windsor circle willing and able to recount how the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth, Queen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Empress of India, Queen of Canada, Australia, etc,etc, was not even legitimate, but the daughter of the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and St Paul’s Waldenbury cook, Mademoiselle Marguerite Rodiere.
'Whether this was indeed the case, none of us will ever know definitively unless DNA studies are done on Elizabeth and Cecilia to establish whether they shared a genetic link.’
Royal biographer Michael Thornton said: ‘It actually doesn’t make any sense. I did investigate all these rumours while I was researching Royal Feud, and I found absolutely no hard evidence whatever to support them.’
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