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Queen’s maid of honour Lady Mary Russell died the night before Her Majesty’s state funeral aged 88

Queen’s maid of honour died the night before Her Majesty’s state funeral aged 88: Lady Mary Russell, who carried the late monarch’s train during her 1953 Coronation, passes away ‘peacefully at home’ surrounded by her family

  • Lady Mary Russell was one of six women to carry the late monarch’s train during her 1953 Coronation 
  • She passed away ‘peacefully at home’ surrounded by her family on September 18, an obituary has confirmed
  • Lady Mary was a mother-of-five, grandmother to 12 children and the ‘beloved wife of David’
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

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The Queen’s maid of honour died aged 88 the night before Her Majesty’s state funeral last week.

Lady Mary Russell, who was one of six women to carry the late monarch’s train during the Westminster Abbey ceremony, passed away ‘peacefully at home’ surrounded by her family on September 18.

An obituary in The Times described her as mother-of-five, grandmother-of-12 and ‘beloved wife of David’.

The daughter of the Earl and Countess of Haddington, Lady Mary helped to carry the Queen’s 21ft train as she walked through Westminster Abbey to for her Coronation 70 years ago.

She and the five other maids of honour wore silver gowns with tiaras and long silk gloves, The Mirror reports.

Lady Mary Russell 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 1953 Coronation

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

The late Queen with her maids of honour in the Green Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace on June 2, 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 honour in the Green Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace on June 2, 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 about the day, she said: ‘Of all the girls our age in the country, we six girls were chosen to carry the Queen’s train and that meant a great deal.

‘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 featured a picture of him at George VI’s Coronation in 1937 carrying The Sceptre of the Dove – one of two sceptres handed to the new monarch. 

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

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

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

Following the tradition of Queen Victoria, the maids of honour were all daughters of Dukes, Marquesses, and Earls, unmarried, and aged between 17 and 23. They were left in no doubt what a signal honour they’d been given. 

Their task was to carry the Queen’s train, so heavy she couldn’t move without them. 

Thousands line the streets of central London for Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1953. The maids of honour 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 maids of honour 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 took off her regalia and was blessed with Holy Oil

For Lady Mary and the others, the most moving moment was the anointing, when the Queen took off her regalia and was blessed with Holy Oil

An annexe had been built on to the Abbey where the four taking part in the procession but who did not travel in the coach could drink coffee and listen to the radio commentary of the Queen’s journey from Buckingham Palace. 

After walking her up the aisle, and then back down, they all went to the Palace to be photographed by the renowned Cecil Beaton and famously appeared on the balcony. 

For Lady Mary and the others, the most moving moment was the anointing, when the Queen took off her regalia and was blessed with Holy Oil under a canopy held by four Knights of the Garter.

She said: ‘Afterwards, the Queen gave us all the most simple, beautiful brooch of her initials in her handwriting in diamonds. 

‘After the reception, I went outside the Palace with friends, and cheered and cheered so many times. I felt pretty flat afterwards.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk