Last night, Channel 4 screened a documentary 'The Queen's Hidden Cousins' , which exposes what has been called a family secret of the Royals.
This was once indeed a family secret, although it leaked out some considerable time ago. For those who can receive it, the documentary can currently be found at this link.
The Queen Mother, who died in March 2002, came from the wealthy Bowes-Lyon family. Her elder brother John and his wife Fenella had two disabled daughters: Nerissa, who was born in 1919, and Katherine, who was born in 1926. To put it bluntly, they were imbeciles, a word that nowadays has unpleasant and even cruel connotations, but was originally a perfectly legitimate word for appending to an individual who had what we would today euphemistically term learning difficulties, or the insidious “mental handicap”.
As was the norm in those days, these people were locked away from the world, and for the people at the very top of the food chain, as were the Bowes-Lyon family, any mention of an imbecile offspring was a source of shame.
Nowadays we may regard this treatment of such people with scorn, disdain, even with utter contempt, but what we must not forget is the historical and social context. Common sense alone tells us that if we have an imbecile or even a serial killer in the family, we should feel no sense of shame, anymore than we should for anything else that is beyond our personal control, yet to this day in some cultures, a woman brings shame on herself and her family if she is raped. The reality is that any of us can be raped - including men - if we are held at gunpoint by armed brigands and forced to submit. Yet whatever common sense, logic and reason dictate, the perceived reactions of our peers and society as a whole are often more important.
Nerissa and Katherine were sent to the Royal Earlswood Hospital at Redhill. This institution was closed in 1997, the government of the day having committed itself to closing down all such institutions as far as possible and moving their residents into the community. To some at the time, this sounded like a cost cutting exercise, but the horror story that was ordinary, everyday life in these places is now a matter of record.
The truth about the Queen's hidden cousins leaked out in the 1980s; that was bad enough, but they had been officially listed as dead. To compound this tragic story, three more such cousins came to light. In the documentary, one woman who had worked as a nurse at the hospital suggested that in-breeding could have been the cause of this cluster of mental disability. That could indeed be the case.
The Queen is said to be displeased at these latest revelations, and no doubt, Royal bashers will jump on the bandwagon, but no one in his right mind could accuse Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of dereliction of duty. This remarkable woman who inherited the British throne from her father in 1952 has spent nearly six decades touring the world with her Consort Prince Philip, shaking hands with people she doesn't know and probably doesn't much care for, attending openings, ceremonies and all manner of functions serving her extended family, Britain and the Commonwealth.
Her mother lived until the age of 101, and but for the death of her other daughter, the Queen's younger sister, Princess Margaret, she would undoubtedly have live another ten years. No one should be too surprised if the Queen is still hard at work on her hundredth birthday with a 105 year old Prince Philip at her side.
Although her location has not been revealed, Katherine Bowes-Lyon is said to still be alive. If she has or ever had the mental faculties to appreciate what being Queen means, she would surely not be too concerned at her cousin's apparent neglect of her.
One final point, according to anarchist Ian Bone: “In the late 80′s I wrote an article for Class War – entitled ‘Is this the real queen’ about Katherine Bowes-Lyon saying their was some evidence that Katherine – born the same year as the queen - was in fact the real queen and had been swapped at birth when the royals -Queen mother and future King george - realised that their own child was - in their words – ‘mentally defective.’ The two cousins were borne ten weeks apart Yes yes – I Know – sounds bonkers. The story was ignored of course and I’m not one for conspiracy theories but the story is worth a look in the week of the documentary.”
Yes mate, it is bonkers, and so are you, although David Icke will probably beg to differ. By the way, Mr Bone: learn how to spell!
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