obituaries: Lavinia Norfolk
Wednesday 13 December 1995
In 1937 she was one of the four duchesses who held the canopy over Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) at her sacred anointing. Of these only Mary Roxburghe now survives. In 1953 she spent days rehearsing aspects of the present Queen's Coronation as her stand-in. I once interviewed the Duchess and all she said was "I wore what she wore". But in the 1993 Yorkshire Television documentary Days of Majesty she was more forthcoming:
I had to be ready to come to the abbey every single morning at about half past nine, 10 o'clock. I had to take the part of the Queen. So whoever was rehearsing, they always had something to do with what the Queen was doing . . . The crown itself was very heavy and one had to make sure that it fitted absolutely right, otherwise it could easily have toppled off. It was so heavy and as
one's hands were full of other things
and it felt like falling off the whole time, so you had to tell whoever was putting it on to put it on a little bit forward or a little bit back.
When the Queen placed the collar of the Order of the Garter on the Duchess's shoulders in June 1990, it was not, therefore, the first time that she had worn one. The Duchess was the first Lady Companion of the Order and duly took her place in the procession, wearing a long Garter blue dress under robes. Unfortunately she tripped in the quire at the 1992 ceremony, suffering a much publicised nosebleed. She did not appear again.
The Duchess was a safe establishment choice for the first Lady of the Garter, meaning that Baroness Thatcher followed in her wake rather than setting a precedent.
When the Duke was alive, since he was Senior Knight, they would get into car no 1 for the return ride up the hill. When she joined the Order, she had to wait her turn and enter car no 23, the penalty of membership of a club, however elevated.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...
£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...