Monday, November 22, 2021

Hon Iris Irene Adele Dawnay, LVO 1923-2021

The Hon Iris Dawnay, LVO, who died 18 November, 2021, aged 98, was a scion of the extinct Viscounts Ingleby, and a Lady-in-Waiting to the late Princess Margaret.

Iris Irene Adele Peake was born 25 July, 1923, daughter of the then Osbert Peake [1897-1966], who was Conservative MP for Leeds North, 1929-55, and for Leeds North East, May-Dec 1955, & Under Secretary of State for Home Affairs 1939-44, Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1944-45, and Minister for National Insurance 1951-55 [and Pensions 1953-55], and raised to the peerage of Viscount Ingleby, of Snilesworth, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 1956.

Her mother was Lady Joan Rachel de Vere Capell [1899-1979], daughter of the 7th Earl of Essex [1857-1916], and his wife the former Adela Grant [who died in 1922].

At the close of the Second World War Iris Peake worked as a secretary with MI6 to liaise with the Special Operations Executive [SOE] in locating British airmen who were missing in northern Europe. It was at MI6 that she came into contact with the notorious double agent George Blake.

She was appointed a Lady-in-Waiting to the young Princess Margaret in 1952, and accompanied the Queen's younger sister on many royal engagements for the next decade. She was appointed LVO in 1957. From 1962 until 1963 she was an Extra Lady-in-Waiting to the princess.

Iris Peake's relationship with Capt Oliver Dawnay, CVO [1920-88], the married equerry and former private secretary to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, caused something of a palace scandal in 1962. Dawnay divorced his wife, Lady Margaret [who died in Oct 2021], and married Iris Peake, 8 Dec, 1963. She then left Princess Margaret's household.

She was widowed 18 March, 1988, when her husband, a scion of the Viscounts Downe, died aged 67.

Iris Dawnay, who had homes at Marlborough, Wiltshire, and in London's Onslow Square, leaves a daughter, Emma Jane Clarissa [born 30 June, 1964], and two step-sons Charles and Ivo, and a step-daughter, Charlotte.

The funeral takes place at St Michael's Church, Tidcombe, 8 December, 2021.



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