Margaret Rhodes

The Honourable
Margaret Rhodes

Rhodes in a 2016 BBC interview
Born Margaret Elphinstone
(1925-06-09)9 June 1925
Westminster, London, England
Died 25 November 2016(2016-11-25) (aged 91)
Windsor, Berkshire, England
Spouse(s) Denys Rhodes
Parent(s) Sidney Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone, Mary Bowes-Lyon
Rhodes' voice
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 3 June 2012[1]

Margaret Rhodes LVO (née Elphinstone; 9 June 1925 25 November 2016) was a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. From 1991 to 2002, she served as Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Early life and education

Born Margaret Elphinstone in Westminster, London, Rhodes was the youngest daughter of the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, a sister of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[2][3] Less than a year older than the future queen, she was a frequent playmate of the young Princess Elizabeth.[4] During the Second World War she lived at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, and took a secretarial course.[5] On 20 November 1947, she was a bridesmaid to Princess Elizabeth.[6]


During World War II, she worked as a secretary for MI6.[4][5] She was a Woman of the Bedchamber[7] – a mix of lady-in-waiting and companion – to her aunt, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, from 1991 until the latter's death in 2002.[8]

That year Rhodes was appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) and lived in the Garden House, a grace and favour residence in Windsor Great Park.[9] In the run-up to the Queen's 80th birthday in April 2006, Rhodes gave an interview to the BBC in which she stated her belief that the Queen would not abdicate.[10][11]

Her autobiography, The Final Curtsey, was published in 2011.[5] She was the "castaway" on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 3 June 2012.[12]

On 27 November 2016, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Rhodes had died, aged 91, on 25 November following a short illness.[3][13]

Personal life

On 31 July 1950, she married the writer Denys Gravenor Rhodes (1919–1981), with Princess Margaret as one of the bridesmaids.[14] The couple had four children and one grandson:[15]


Having been a first cousin to Elizabeth II, Rhodes shared half of her ancestry with the Queen, including several notable peers.[15]


  1. "Margaret Rhodes". Desert Island Discs. 3 June 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  2. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  3. 1 2 Knapton, Sarah (27 November 2016). "Queen's cousin and best friend Margaret Rhodes dies aged 91". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  4. 1 2 Barry Neild; Nick Glass (5 June 2012). "How Diana's death turned queen into 'proper granny'". CNN. London. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 Grice, Elizabeth (13 April 2011). "Margaret Rhodes: The Queen's cousin". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  6. Chen, Joyce (17 July 2013). "I'm "Not Terribly" Excited about Kate Middleton's Baby". US Weekly. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  7. "Eating lunch off her lap, the Queen as you've never seen her before". Daily Mail. 12 June 2011.
  8. "The Who's Who Behind the Palace Walls: The Ladies in waiting of Royalty". The Royal Fanzine. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  9. Amanpour, Christiane (16 July 2013). "The Queen's cousin". CNN. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  10. "Queen 'will never quit throne' claims cousin". Scotsman. 19 April 2006.
  11. English, Rebecca (20 April 2006). "'The Queen will NEVER consider abdicating'". Daily Mail.
  12. "Margaret Rhodes". BBC Radio 4. 3 June 2012.
  13. "Queen is in mourning after her best friend and beloved cousin Margaret Rhodes dies aged 91". 27 November 2016.
  14. The Honourable Margaret Rhodes (26 June 2011). "I'm blissfully happy... married to the best and nicest man in the world [Excerpt from The Final Curtsey]". Daily Mail.
  15. 1 2 Hunt, Peter (November 27, 2016). "Queen's cousin Margaret Rhodes dies".
  16. "'Nappy and glorious'". Daily Mail. 1 June 2012.
  17. "Royal Godchildren". Yvonne's Royalty Home Page. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
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