Queen’s maid of honour for coronation passed away on the eve of Sovereign’s funeral


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Lady Mary Russell’s family announced that she passed away peacefully at home aged 88 on September 18.  The Queen’s coronation train was 21ft long and Lady Mary helped to carry it as the Queen walked down the aisle at Westminster Abbey towards the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher.

The daughter of the Earl and Countess of Haddington was chosen as a maid of honour who wore embroidered silver gowns paired with tiaras and long silk gloves for the occasion.

Lady Mary previously spoke out about being part of the historic event and called it “overwhelming and moving”.

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.”

The dresses were made by Sir Norman Hartnell for the women who were aged between 18 and 23 at the time of the coronation.

An obituary was written in the Times for Lady Mary which described her as a “beloved wife of David, much-loved mother of Arabella, Anthony, Philip, Jason and Mariana, and dearly loved by her 12 grandchildren.”

Lady Moyra Campbell was the first maid of honour to pass away in 2020 and Lady Mary is now the second.

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Angela Kelly was one of the Queen’s closest staff as her personal assistant and dresser and said in 2007: “We are two typical women.

“We discuss clothes, make-up, jewellery. We say, ‘Would this piece of jewellery look nice with that outfit?’ and things like that.

“I do worry about her and care about her. But we also have a lot of fun together.

“The Queen has a wicked sense of humour and is a great mimic. She can do all accents – including mine.”


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