Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Katherine Bowes-Lyon (July 4, 1926-) is a niece of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. Her parents were the Hon. John Henry Bowes-Lyon and the Hon. Fenella Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis.
She and her elder sister, Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, were born mentally retarded and lived most of their lives in a state-run psychiatric hospital, Royal Earlswood Hospital in Surrey. They were placed there when they were 15 and 22 years of age, respectively. They reportedly had the mental age of six and were largely unable to speak.
When the hospital closed, after Nerissa's death in 1986, Katherine Bowes-Lyon was moved to Kentwin House , a care home for the mentally disabled which was closed after abuse allegations. She was joined there by three of her first cousins -- Idonea Elizabeth (1912-2001), Rosemary Jean (1914-), and Etheldreda Flavia Fane (1922-), all daughters of the Hon. Harriet Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis and Major Henry Nevile Fane -- who had been certified mentally disturbed.
The Royal Family informed Burke's Peerage that Katherine Bowes-Lyon had passed away in 1961, and she was listed as having died, unmarried, by Burke's Peerage in all its editions published from 1963 to 1987. When it was revealed in April 1987 that Bowes-Lyon was alive the editor of the book responded, "if that is what members of the family told us, then we would have included it. It is not normal to doubt the word of members of the royal family."
She is presently a patient at an unidentified nursing home in Surrey.
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