Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Lady Butter, CVO 1925-2022

 Lady Butter, CVO, who died in London, 29 July, 2022, aged 97, was a close friend from childhood of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a close member of the Queen's inner circle of friends, and one of Her Majesty's last surviving contemporaries.

Descended from Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia, Lady Butter, who lived at Cluniemore, Pitlochry, was a Perthshire philanthropist and trustee of the Butter Charity Trust. 

She was born 8 March, 1925, as Myra Alice Wernher, second daughter of Major-General Sir Harold Wernher, 3rd Baronet, GCVO [1893-1973], of Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire, and his wife the Countess Anastasia Mikhailovna [known as Zia] de Torby, CBE [1892-1977]. Her mother was a daughter of the Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich of Russia [1861-1929], and his morganatic wife Sophie Nikolaievna von Merenberg, Countess de Torby [1868-1927], a descendant of Pushkin. Zia de Torby was granted by Royal Warrant of King George V, 1 Sept, 1917, the style and precedence of the daughter of an Earl, and was thereafter known as Lady Zia Wernher.

Lady Zia Wernher's younger sister Nadejda 'Nada' [1896-1963], married 15 Nov, 1916, Prince George of Battenberg [1892-1938], who took the surname Mountbatten in 1917 and succeeded in 1921 as 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, and the Marchioness was thus an aunt of Prince Philip of Greece.

The young Prince Philip was close to the Wernher sisters, Georgina, later Mrs Harold Phillips, and Lady Kennard [1919-2011], and to Alice, and he spent much of his youth in their company. The friendship lasted until Prince Philip's demise last year. 

Myra Wernher married 5 November, 1946, at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, Major David Henry Butter, MC [born 18 March, 1920], of the Scots Guards, scion of that landed gentry family, only surviving son of Colonel Charles Adrian James Butter, OBE [1876-1944], of Pitlochry, Perthshire, and his wife the former Agnes Marguerite Clark, who came from Newark, New Jersey. 

Myra's bridal attendants included the nine year-old Princess Alexandra of Kent and the four-year old Prince Michael of Kent. Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, attended the nuptials with the then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.

Her husband served as Lord Lieutenant of Perthshire, 1971-75, and for Kinross 1974-75, and was appointed KCVO. From 1946 until his death, 29 May, 2010, Sir David was chieftain of the Pitlochry Highland Games.

Lady Butter was appointed CVO in 1992.

Lady Butter is survived by a son, Charles [born 10 Apr 1960], and four daughters, Sandra [born 26 July, 1948, a goddaughter of HM The Queen], Marilyn [born 22 Mar 1950, Countess of Dalhousie, wife of the 17th Earl of Dalhousie, Lord Steward of the Household], Rohays [born 9 Apr 1952, wife of Prince Alexandra Galitzine], and Georgina [born 9 July, 1956, wife of Peter von Pejacvsevic].

Lady Butter was aunt to Alexandra Phillips, the late Duchess of Abercorn [1946-2018], wife of the 5th Duke of Abercorn [born 5 Jul 1934], and to Natalia Phillips [born 8 May, 1959], wife of the late 6th Duke of Westminster [1951-2016].


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