The Lady Mary Russell, who died 18 September, 2022, aged 88, was one of Queen Elizabeth II's Maids of Honour at the Coronation 1953, and was a scion of the Earls of Haddington.
The Queen's Maids of Honour were aged between 19 and 23 at the time of the Coronation, 2 June, 1953, all just a few years younger than the Queen. The ladies were surprised and enthused in equal measure to receive the invitation from Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk. ‘I was completely gobsmacked,’ uttered Lady Mary, in a later television documentary.
They have described themselves as the 'Spice Girls' of their day - the 'lily white' Maids of Honour chosen to accompany the Queen on her Coronation Day.
Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill(born 24 July, 1929), Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (born 11 Aug, 1932), Lady Anne Coke (born 16 July, 1932), Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (1934-2022), Lady Moyra Hamilton (1930-2020) and Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (born 1 Dec 1934) were chosen for their 'decorative' beauty as well as their ability to carry the Queen's heavy train.
All six were reunited at Westminster Abbey in 2013 to celebrate sixty years since that momentous day.
"It was overwhelming and moving – especially during the anointing" recalled Lady Mary of the day. "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 was Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, born 13 January, 1934, daughter of the 12th Earl of Haddington (1894-1986), and his wife the former Sarah Muriel Josephine Cook [who died 14 Dec, 1995]; and married firstly, 21 July, 1954 [div 1965], [John] Adrian Bailey (1930-2021), son of Ronald Graham Bailey [1904-67], and his wife the former Annette Winifred Robertson; and married 2ndly, 1 Oct, 1965, David Vernon Russell [born 1929], son of Brigadier Hugh Edward Russell, DSO [1896-1941], and his wife the former Muriel Dorothy Vernon Summers.
She leaves issue from her first marriage, William [born 1957], Philip [born 1959], and a daughter, Arabella [born 1955], wife of the 3rd Viscount Chandos [born 12 Feb 1953]; and from her second marriage, a son, Jason [born 1966], and a daughter, Mariana [born 1968].
The funeral takes place on 10 October, 2022, at Our Lady of Lourdes, Hungerford.