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The Queen’s Maid of Honor Lady Mary Russell died the night before Her Majesty’s State Funeral aged 88

Lady Mary Russell was pictured at her home in Combe, near Hungerford, in 2011.  She died a day before the Queen's state funeral on Monday
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The Queen’s Maid of Honor died the night before Her Majesty’s State Funeral aged 88: Lady Mary Russell, who carried the late Monarch’s train during her coronation in 1953, died “peacefully at home” surrounded by her family

  • Lady Mary Russell was one of six women to wear the late monarch’s train during her coronation in 1953
  • She died “peacefully at home” on September 18 surrounded by her family, an obituary confirms
  • Lady Mary was a mother of five children, a grandmother of 12 children and the “beloved wife of David”.
  • The Queen’s Funeral: All the news and coverage of the Royal Family

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The Queen’s Maid of Honor died at the age of 88 last week on the night before Her Majesty’s State Funeral.

Lady Mary Russell, who was one of six women who carried the late monarch’s train during the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, died “peacefully at home” on September 18 surrounded by her family.

An obituary in The Times described her as a mother of five, grandmother of twelve and “the beloved wife of David”.

Lady Mary, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Haddington, helped carry the Queen’s 21ft procession as she walked through Westminster Abbey for her coronation 70 years ago. She and the five other maids of honor wore silver robes with tiaras and long silk gloves.

Lady Mary Russell was pictured at her home in Combe, near Hungerford, in 2011.  She died a day before the Queen's state funeral on Monday

Lady Mary Russell was pictured at her home in Combe, near Hungerford, in 2011. She died a day before the Queen’s state funeral on Monday

Lady Mary Russell (pictured) was one of six women to carry the late monarch's train during her coronation in 1953

Lady Mary Russell (pictured) was one of six women to carry the late monarch’s train during her coronation in 1953

The late Queen with her maids of honor in the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace on June 2nd 1952 2nd June 1953. Lady Moyra Hamilton (now Lady Moyra Campbell), Lady Anne Coke (now The Rt Hon The Lady Glenconner), Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill (now Lady Rosemary Muir), Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (now Lady Mary Russell), Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (now The Rt Hon The Baroness Willoughby de Eresby), Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (now The Rt Hon The Lady Rayne

The late Queen with her maids of honor in the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace on June 2nd 1952 2nd June 1953. Lady Moyra Hamilton (now Lady Moyra Campbell), Lady Anne Coke (now The Rt Hon The Lady Glenconner), Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill (now Lady Rosemary Muir), Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (now Lady Mary Russell), Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (now The Rt Hon The Baroness Willoughby de Eresby), Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (now The Rt Hon The Lady Rayne

Speaking of the day, she said: “Of all the girls our age in the country, we six girls were chosen to wear the Queen’s train and that meant a lot.

“It was overwhelming and moving – especially during the anointing… It was an incredible moment but all I could think about was how heavy the embroidery felt.”

Lady Mary’s father was a childhood friend of the Queen Mother from Scotland and her childhood scrapbook included a picture of him at the coronation of George VI. in 1937 with the Scepter of the Dove – one of two scepters presented to the new monarch.

It follows the death of Lady Moyra Campbell, one of the other six maids of honor, aged 90 in November 2020.

A royal source said at the time: “It’s very sad. Her Majesty has kept in touch with all of her former maids of honor.’

The dowager Baroness Glenconner, Lady Jane Lacey, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby and Lady Rosemary Muir are all alive today.

Following Queen Victoria’s tradition, the groomsmen were all daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls, unmarried and between the ages of 17 and 23. They had no doubt what a significant honor they were being given.

Her job was to carry the queen’s train, which was so heavy that she could not move without her.

Thousands line the streets of central London for Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. The groomsmen were all daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls, unmarried and aged between 17 and 23

Thousands line the streets of central London for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. The groomsmen were all daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls, unmarried and aged between 17 and 23

For Lady Mary and the others, the most moving moment was the anointing, when the queen removed her regalia and was blessed with holy oil

For Lady Mary and the others, the most moving moment was the anointing, when the queen removed her regalia and was blessed with holy oil

An annexe had been added to the abbey where the four non-carriage processioners could drink coffee and listen to the radio commentary of the Queen’s journey from Buckingham Palace.

After leading them up the aisle and then down again, they all went to the palace to have their picture taken by the famous Cecil Beaton and famously appeared on the balcony.

For Lady Mary and the others, the most moving moment was the anointing, when the queen removed her regalia and was blessed with holy oil under a canopy held by four knights of the braces.

She said: “Then the Queen gave us the simplest, most beautiful brooch with her initials in her handwriting in diamonds.

“After the reception, I went outside the palace with friends and cheered and cheered so many times. After that I felt pretty flat.”

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