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100 Years Ago, King Charles' Grandparents Got Hitched and Other Random Facts

Working on this Agatha Christie book prompts me to wonder about life one hundred years ago, so I googled “what happened in 1923 in England.” One event was the wedding of the Queen Mum, King Charles’ grandmother, and that started me down a fun rabbit hole.

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was the ninth of ten children of Claude and Nina, Lord and Lady Glamis. For all you Shakespeare lovers: Yes, that Glamis, as in Macbeth. The family can trace their roots back to Robert the Bruce, but it was Sir John Lyon who became Thane of Glamis in the 1300s, a few centuries after Macbeth. Lady Elizabeth and all of her siblings spent much of their childhoods in Glamis Castle.

Like many other great houses, Glamis Castle opened its doors to convalescing soldiers during World War I. Britain joined the War on Lady Elizabeth’s fourteenth birthday, so she was rather young when the wounded started arriving, but she was old enough to help out, and she did.

Four of Lady Elizabeth’s brothers served in the army. Brother Michael was wounded, captured, and imprisoned until the end of the War, and Brother Fergus was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos, France.

Once the War was over, Lady Elizabeth turned to socializing and flirting like any other young woman. In 1921, she attended a dance in London given by Lord and Lady Farquhar. Prince Albert, the Duke of York, was also in attendance. While Elizabeth was not royal, she and her siblings had visited with the children of King George V and Queen Mary: Edward, Albert, Mary, Henry, George, and John. The Farquhar event, however, was the first time Prince Albert had seen Elizabeth all grown up, and he was smitten.

He soon asked her to marry him, and she refused, knowing full well how difficult it would be to live as a royal, even though Albert was a younger son and not destined to be king. The following year, Elizabeth stood up as a bridesmaid for Albert’s sister, Mary, and the prince proposed to her yet again. And once more, she refused him.

While it was considered a modern, equalitarian notion for Albert to pursue a woman who was not of royal blood, his mother, the Queen, had already approved of the match and he was very much in love. Finally, in January of 1923, Lady Elizabeth said “yes,” and they were married in April, 100 years ago. You can see some film footage from the event online.

The wedding was held at Westminster Abbey, which is the same place where the coronation of King Charles was recently held. If you watched any of the coronation procession, you may have noticed a slab of black marble on the floor which is Britain’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior from World War I.

As Lady Elizabeth entered the Abbey for her wedding ceremony, she impulsively laid her bridal bouquet on the tomb in memory of her brother, Fergus, and walked up the aisle without flowers. Although they now wait until after the ceremony and photos, many royal brides, including Diana, Kate, and Meghan have continued this tradition.

Camilla was not married in the church, but she did have a “coronation bouquet” that was left on the slab a few hours after she and Charles were crowned. Camilla’s mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, did not get the chance to honor the Unknown Warrior at her own wedding because her bouquet disappeared immediately after the ceremony and was never found. In 2020, however, a medically masked Queen Elizabeth offered a replica of her bridal bouquet at Westminster just before shut-down for the 100th anniversary of the Unknown Warrior’s entombment.

But back to Lady Elizabeth. She and Albert apparently had a very happy marriage which included two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. When they had been married thirteen years, Albert’s father, King George V, died and his brother, Edward, became king. There was not a coronation, however, because of the furor over Edward’s plan to marry Wallis Simpson as soon as her second divorce went through. Instead, Edward abdicated after just ten months on the throne. Albert then became King George VI and Lady Elizabeth became his Queen Consort.

Yes, Albert chose to be crowned George, like his father. Even more confusing, he had a younger brother who was already named George. Charles’ grandson, George, could be George VII when he becomes king, he, unless he chooses another name. (Or there isn’t a monarchy by then.) 

While I found all of this extremely interesting, the only piece pertinent to my original search was that Albert and Elizabeth were married in 1923. Going down rabbit holes like this explains why it takes me so long to conduct research! If anyone has suggestions on how to discipline myself, I’d love to hear them.

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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold


Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


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