London: The Queen Mother was the daughter of her aristocratic family’s French cook, who gave birth to her in an arrangement described as “an early version of surrogacy”, a new biography has claimed.
According to Lady Colin Campbell, the author of the book, the practice was not unusual among the upper classes at that time and came about because her own mother Cecilia, who already had eight children, was unable to have any more.
This explains the nickname “Cookie” given to the Queen Mother by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, she said.
It also suggests why the Queen Mother, born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, was given a French middle name, it is claimed.
The theory is set out in Colin’s latest book ‘The Queen Mother, The untold story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’, which hits shelves next month.
“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 Telegraph quoted her as writing.
“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,” she wrote.
The timing of its publication was condemned by royal experts as the Queen held a service of remembrance on Friday for her mother to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.
“I do not think it very nice at all to be promulgating these kind of theories at this time,” Hugo Vickers, a historian who has written a biography of the Queen Mother told the Daily Mail.
“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,” Vickers added.