Irrespective of how much we idolize them, most of us at some point feel jealous of the Royals. We often think – they’re Royals, what possible sorrow could they have! Well, let’s just say, that this is a misconception that’s being going on for decades!
The walls behind the fortress that’s Buckingham Palace are filled with numerous sad stories and tales of struggle, and today, we’ve brought you one such story. Covered in the recent Netflix hit show The Crown, here’s a peek into the heart-wrenching truth about the lives of Narissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon – Queen Elizabeth’s cousins.
Before we begin – a look at who Narissa and Katherine were
Narissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon are often referred to as the unfortunate sisters of the Buckingham palace. They’re Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousins, and also the daughters of Queen Mother’s favorite brother. But that was about the only fortunate thing in their lives, as both sisters were born with learning disabilities, and as a result, lived in Royal Earlswood Hospital, Surrey, England for a significant portion of their lives.
The lives of the sisters, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and other Royals have been covered in the Netflix series in keen detail. So much so that people who follow the royal family report being deeply moved at several events portrayed in the series.
Rumors about their demise
Although as per the 1963 edition of Burke’s Peerage, a highly regarded royal family guide, the sisters were presumed long dead, the shocking truth of them being alive came forth only in 1982 when the Royal Earlswood Hospital’s trustees penned a letter about the same to the Queen Mother.
According to events portrayed in The Crown, the revelation caused quite a stir in the royal house with Princess Margaret engaging in an altercation with her mother. But even such a shocking truth failed to stir the Queen who cold-heartedly stated that they had no choice.
A 2011 documentary aired on Channel 4 proves that the events shown in the Netflix series are indeed true and not just figments of imagination. Apparently, Nerissa’s medical records clearly stated that she was very affectionate and could say a few words, albeit in a baby tone. The documentary further detailed that she made ambiguous noises all the time, and that Katherine was like a naughty child who had not a single care in the world.
The royal sisters’ nurse, Onelle Braithwaite, was reported as saying that even though they seemed lost, both Nerissa and Katherine had a memory of their royal lives. Whenever the Queen would appear on the TV, both would give a low bow, and they’d point and make noises. Though it was hard to decipher exactly what they were saying, those who knew them could understand their emotion.
Such a sad tale…
Needless to say, the fate of the two sisters was utterly sad. Former hospital staff believes that if modern-day speech therapy techniques were available back then, the sisters could have learned to communicate much better.
Nerissa passed away in 1986, and Katherine in 2014. Both sisters were laid to rest very simply in RedHill, and the Channel 4 documentary states that there’s no available record of them being visited by any member of the royal family.