Queen Elizabeth's Maid of Honor Mary Russell Died Day Before State Funeral
Lady Mary Russell was one of Queen Elizabeth II‘s maids of honor at her 1953 coronation, and she died on September 18 — just one day before Her Majesty’s state funeral.
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Russell was 88, according to her obituary in London’s The Times. She “died peacefully at home with her family around her” the Sunday before the queen was laid to rest. She is survived by husband David Russell as well as children Arabella, Anthony, Philip, Jason and Mariana. She was also “dearly loved” by her 12 grandchildren.
The England native was one of Elizabeth’s six maids of honor at the June 1953 coronation, held the year after she acceded the throne. She was the 39th sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, which is also where her state funeral was held on September 19.
In 2013, the maids of honor reunited to recreate their photo from the historic day to celebrate the 60th anniversary. Russell said the ceremony was “overwhelming and moving – especially during the anointing.”
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She emphasized how prestigious it was to be in that group of young women, who were all between the ages of 18 and 23. “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,” she said at the time via Hello! Magazine.
The Robe of Estate is of purple silk-velvet with gold embroidery and is more than 21 feet long. While Russell and Lady Moyra Campbell have both died (Campbell passed in 2020), there are four surviving maids of honor: Dowager Baroness Glenconner, Lady Jane Lacey, Baroness Willoughby de Eresby and Lady Rosemary Muir.
Russell’s death came 10 days after the queen died at age 96 on September 8 at Balmoral estate in Scotland. After her passing, her coffin was brought to Edinburgh before moving to London. Her casket — topped with the orb, scepter and imperial state crown — was lying in state at Westminster Hall for the public to pay their respects from September 14 and until just before her funeral on September 19.
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The funeral began with a procession from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey led by King Charles III, who acceded the throne after his mother died, and his siblings — Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — as well as three of the queen’s grandchildren, Prince William, Prince Harry and Peter Phillips.
After her state funeral, the queen was brought to Windsor for a committal service. There was a private ceremony for her burial at the King George VI Memorial Chapel alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died at age 99 in April 2021.
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