The Netflix drama go back to our screens this weekend and offers its take on the shameful scandal that saw siblings Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon – the Queen Mother’s nieces – neglected and forgotten about for decades.
At the ages of 15 and 22 respectively, the set, who were unable to speak due to their condition, were secretly placed in the Royal Earlswood Institution for Mental Defectives in Redhill, Surrey by their parents in 1941.
They remained at the organization, cruelly called The National Asylum for Idiots, for most of their lives and, according to reports, were hardly ever checked out and signed up as dead.
The fourth season of The Crown informs the awful story of the Queen’s ‘hidden’ cousins Katherine (left) and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon (best), who were locked up in an asylum and overlooked
The two sisters were the nieces of the Queen Mom; their dad John Bowes-Lyon was her brother, making them very first cousins to the Queen
Although the Queen Mother knew the statement in Burke’s Peerage that both women were deceased (released after false details had been provided by their mother) was incorrect, she never went to either of them, and obviously saw no contradiction in her patronage of Mencap, which campaigns against households positioning their mentally challenged relations in state care.
Nerissa died aged 66 in 1986 and Katherine died six years ago aged 87.
In a new episode of The Crown, which is embeded in the Eighties, the pair are seen in their sixties adoringly enjoying their cousin Queen Elizabeth II arrive at the Royal Variety Efficiency on TV.
Snuggling dolls, they stand for the national anthem and salute prior to being handed medication by a nurse.
The siblings were covertly put in the Royal Earlswood Organization for Mental Defectives, cruelly dubbed The National Asylum for Idiots, in Redhill, Surrey (imagined) by their parents in 1941
The set stayed at the institution for the majority of their lives and, according to reports, were barely ever checked out and signed up as dead. Visualized: Katherine Bowes-Lyon
It’s possibly unsurprising that it’s Helena Bonham Carter’s character, feisty Princess Margaret, who passionately reveals her disgust at their painful treatment.
Flying into a rage at the Queen Mother (played by Marion Bailey), she weeps: ‘Locked up and disregarded. They’re your nieces – children of your favourite sibling.
‘ It’s wicked and it’s cold-hearted and it’s cruel and it’s entirely in keeping with the ruthlessness which I myself have experienced in this family.
It’s maybe unsurprising that it’s Helena Bonham Carter’s character, feisty Princess Margaret, left, who passionately expresses her disgust at their harrowing treatment, flying into a rage at the Queen Mom, played by Marion Bailey (ideal).
Katherine and Nerissa’s admission to the asylum was considered required when, in 1923, their aunt Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (visualized with her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret in 1937) married the future King George VI.
The Netflix drama recommends the Queen (envisioned on Sunday) swallowed the line that the sisters were dead. It’s not clear when she discovered the reality, but following a Channel 4 documentary in 2012 she was upset by recommendations they ‘d been abandoned.
‘ If you’re not first in line, if you’re a private character with private requirements or, God forbid, an irregular character … then you’ll be spat out, or you’ll be concealed away or worse: Stated dead. Darwin had absolutely nothing on you lot– shame on all of you.’.
Who was John Bowes-Lyon – the Queen’s uncle? John Bowes-Lyon was the 2nd kid of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and the Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. His sis Elizabeth later become Queen Elizabeth. He was educated at Eton and Oxford University, and worked as a stockbroker in the City of London for the company Rowe and Pitman prior to the break out of WWI. He wed Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis, the more youthful child of 21st Baron Clinton in September 1914. The couple had five children; their firstborn, Patricia Bowes-Lyon, passed away in infancy. They went on to have Anne, Nerissa, Diana and Katherine. Anne married Lt.-Col. Thomas William Arnold Anson, Viscount Anson in 1938 but the couple separated in 1948 after having two children. She remarried Prince George Valdemar of Denmark in September 1950. Diana Married Peter Gordon Colin Somervell in February 1960 and their daughter Katherine Somervell is a god-daughter of Queen Elizabeth II. When it was revealed Nerissa and Katherine had been put in Earlswood Health center, recommendations of a royal cover-up were declined in journalism by Lord Clinton, who declared his aunt Fenella had actually finished the form for Burke’s Peerage incorrectly due to her being ‘an unclear person’. Nevertheless, Burke’s Peerage consisted of particular dates of death for both sis. According to the Channel 4 documentary about the siblings, throughout their time at the hospital there is no recognized record that the sisters were ever checked out by any member of the Bowes-Lyon or royal families. It’s thought the sis’ symptoms were due to a genetic condition from their mother’s bloodline, not that of the Bowes-Lyon. Katherine and Nerissa had 3 cousins in The Royal Earlswood – Edonea, Rosemary and Etheldreday, the daughters of Fenella’s sister Harriet – who shared their specials needs. John Bowes-Lyon passed away at the family home of Glamis Castle in February 1930 of pneumonia, aged 44. His widow was a leading visitor at the Queen’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947. Ad.
The Crown does appear to utilize creative licence in its imaginary retelling of the legend as it implies the Queen Mom was included from the start.
However, a newspaper declared in 1996 that she was uninformed of their existence up until 1982, when she got a letter from the institution’s league of good friends.
Later on she reportedly sent out a four-figure sum to fund Christmas and birthday provides for the pair – however there is no proof the royals visited them.
The Netflix drama likewise recommends the Queen swallowed the line that the sisters were dead. It’s not clear when she discovered the reality, however following a Channel 4 documentary in 2012 she was distressed by suggestions they ‘d been deserted.
It’s also unidentified whether Princess Margaret discovered her cousins and faced her mother; it’s definitely unlikely she was told of their predicament by her therapist, as holds true in The Crown.
Nerissa was born in 1919, and Katherine in 1926. Their daddy was John Bowes-Lyon, one of the Queen Mom’s older bros and a kid of the Earl of Strathmore. John passed away in 1930 and was endured, until 1966, by the ladies’ mom, Fenella.
The siblings were regrettable to have actually been born in an age when psychological disability was seen as a danger to society and connected to indiscrimination, feckless breeding and minor criminal offense, the qualities of the underclass; associations encouraged by common belief in the science of eugenics, soon to be embraced by the Nazis.
For the Bowes-Lyons, this was a stigma that might threaten their social standing and taint the marital potential customers of their other children. Nerissa and Katherine’s beautiful and healthy sister Anne ended up being a princess of Denmark by her second marriage; by her very first marriage, she was Viscountess Anson and mother of the society photographer, the late Lord Lichfield.
Their admission to the asylum was likewise considered essential when, in 1923, their aunt Elizabeth wed the future King George VI.
The shocking story of their imprisonment came to light quickly after Nerissa’s death, when journalists found she was buried in a serious marked only by a plastic name-tag and an identification number.
The ensuing scandal, which triggered a confidential source to provide a gravestone for Nerissa, made little difference to her sister’s life.
Katherine got no visitors at the asylum, and as her aunt, the Queen Mother, survived on into cosseted old age, she did not possess even her own underclothing– at least until her final years there– and had to dress from a communal wardrobe.
In The Crown the Queen Mom tries to defend the vicious actions, informing Princess Margaret: ‘I went from being the wife of the Duke of York, leading a relatively regular life, to being Queen.
‘ At the same time my family, the Bowes-Lyons, went from being small Scottish aristocrats to having a direct family to the crown, leading to the children of my sibling paying a horrible cost.
‘ Their illness, their imbecility – their professionally detected idiocy and imbecility – would make people question the integrity of the bloodline.
‘ Can you imagine the headings if it were to go out? The idea that a person family alone has the automatic birthright to the crown is already so hard to justify, the gene pool of that household better have 100 percent purity.
The Duke of York, later King George VI, with his spouse Elizabeth, then Duchess of York, and their children Elizabeth (later on Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret.
The stunning story of their incarceration came to light soon after Nerissa’s death, when reporters discovered she was buried in a severe significant just by a plastic name-tag and an identification number.
‘ There have sufficed examples on the Windsor side alone to stress people … if you add the Bowes-Lyon illnesses to that, the threat is it ends up being untenable.’.
It’s thought the sis’ symptoms were due to a genetic condition from their mom’s bloodline, not that of the Bowes-Lyon.
Katherine and Nerissa had three cousins in The Royal Earlswood – Edonea, Rosemary and Etheldreday, the daughters of Fenella’s sibling Harriet – who shared their disabilities.
When Charles and Diana wed in July 1981, Katherine and Nerissa are stated to have actually seen the event excitedly on TELEVISION.
Years later Onelle Braithwaite, one of the nurses who took care of them, mentioned: ‘I remember considering with my coworker how, if things had actually been various, they would definitely have actually been visitors at the wedding.’.
Speaking in the Channel 4 documentary, she included: ‘Today they ‘d most likely be offered speech treatment and they ‘d communicate much better.
‘ They understood more than you ‘d think. It was so sad. Simply consider the life they might have had. They were two lovely sis.’.
The Royal Earlswood was closed in 1997; a minimum of one former nurse has actually declared clients were abused.
The grandiose building has actually since been transformed into luxury houses.