Spring 1988


Crawfie, former nanny to the Queen, who became the first royal servant to betray secrets in a book, has died at the age of 78. Marion Buthlay, who was also nanny to Princess Margaret, had spent her final years in Aberdeen. There was a chilly response to her death from a spokesman at Buckingham Palace: 'The Queen certainly knows about it. I don’t know if she sent any message'. Marion Crawford, as she was then, looked after the princesses for 17 years. She came from Dunfermline and was a graduate of Edinburgh University before the then Duke and Duchess of York appointed her governess to their children in 1932. She became a trusted and devoted confidante throughout the abdication of Edward VIII, the reign of George VI and the wedding of Princess Elizabeth. She was a 'virtually indispensable' member of the royal family, never far from the two princesses as they grew up. After she left Buckingham Palace, she was given a grace and favour home attached to Kensington Palace – but lost it when her first book, 'The Little Princesses', was published. The Queen Mother was shocked: it was the first time the code of confidentiality, observed for centuries, had been betrayed. A British publisher paid £30,000 for the memoirs to be serialised in a women’s magazine edited by Falkirk-born James Drawbell. Crawfie married George Buthlay, a merchant banker to whom she had been engaged for many years. She died a recluse.

John Pollock retired as general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). Jack McLean, the normally acerbic Glasgow Herald columnist (and former teacher) described him as 'probably the best public speaker of any trade union in Britain in the last 20 years'.

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