Obscure Royal Relative Claims His Past
LONDON (AP) _ A hitherto unknown relative of Queen Elizabeth II has placed one foot out of obscurity, claiming his father was the product of an illicit love affair between a dashing aristocrat and a lady-in-waiting, a blueblood chronicler says.
The relative is a 49-year-old engineer whose first name is Anthony. He lives with his wife and two teen-age children in a modest three-bedroom house in a suburb of Manchester in northern England. But that’s all he wants the public to know.
Anthony says he is the queen’s second cousin, once removed, and according to Harold Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke’s Peerage, ″he is her closest illegitimate documented relative.″
Brooks-Baker said Anthony’s grandfather was Charles Bowes-Lyon, a first cousin of the queen’s mother, Queen Mother Elizabeth.
″Anthony wants his family to be included in Burke’s Peerage along with his noble ancestors,″ Brooks-Baker said. ″He wants his children to be received by the Bowes-Lyon family.″
He stepped forward when Burke’s Peerage, known as the blueblood bible, announced a year ago that it intended to begin listing the illegitimate offspring of nobility and royalty in future editions.
Burke’s Peerage authenticated Anthony’s royal links through his birth certificate, letters and photographs, but respected his wish to remain anonymous.
Anthony feared public recognition might destroy his family’s quiet lifestyle and has asked to be listed as ″The Unknown Royal,″ Brooks-Baker said.
Britain’s tabloid newspapers have offered him up to $85,000 for exclusive rights to his story, but Anthony has refused, Brooks-Baker said.
″He has refused all monies,″ Brooks-Baker said. ″He is an unbelievably shy man and is far from rich, but he has no problems financially.″
In 1908, Bowes-Lyon, a second lieutenant in the British army, ″fell passionately in love with this attractive woman who was a sort of companion to his aunt″ at the family’s stately home, Ridley Hall, in northeast England, Brooks-Baker said.
A year later, they had a child and asked permission to marry, ″but a marriage between somebody of that station and a lady-in-waiting was really out of the question,″ he said.
Bowes-Lyon was sent to Canada for three years ″to recover from this great love,″ and the mother and child went to live at her family’s home in Cheshire in northwest England, he said.
The child, Charles, was registered as a Lindsay, the lieutenant’s mother’s maiden surname.
Brooks-Baker said Bowes-Lyon’s love for the woman never faded, and that he possibly planned to marry her. But World War I intervened, and he was killed in battle in France on Oct. 23, 1914.
Illegitimate children ″cannot claim their full share of an inheritance″ but the Bowes-Lyon family ″looked after the child,″ Brooks-Baker said.
They paid for his schooling and, when he turned 18, sent his mother 600 pounds (then about $2,700) in Canadian railway stocks to help him set up in business.
″That is one of the best examples I know of the aristocratic tradition of accepting illegitimacy in an understanding and Christian way,″ Brooks-Baker said.
Charles later married and had a son, Anthony. He ended up a shopkeeper in the English Midlands, where he died in 1976.
Brooks-Baker said the Bowes-Lyon family gathered Friday to discuss Anthony’s claim to his past and ″there’s no question about anyone denying it.″