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The Royal Hoax: Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh Fooled by Fraudulent Medium

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The Royal Hoax: Queen Elizabeth Ii And Duke Of Edinburgh Fooled By Fraudulent Medium

They sat in silence around the table in the darkened room, hands touching, faces uplifted – the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen Mother. Bathed in candlelight, the royal trio were joined by Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent, and her daughter Princess Alexandra. They were attending a secret séance to make contact with their lost loved ones.

In the case of the Queen and Queen Mother, they were reaching out to the spirit of King George VI, who’d died a year or so earlier. Lilian Bailey, a phony ‘medium’, had persuaded senior members of the Royal Family, including a young Queen Elizabeth II, that she could help them contact the dead.

The venue was a private address in Kensington. The date, 1953.

The medium who’d brought them together was a powerful, 6ft tall Welshwoman called Lilian Bailey. She was a fraud.

Marina sought to have questions answered about the mysterious death in a 1942 airplane crash of her husband Prince George, Duke of Kent.

The desire to make contact sometimes overcomes reason – and so the first family in the land allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by a wily commoner.

Yet Mrs Bailey came with the very best recommendations – in this case, via Lionel Logue, the man who famously helped cure the late sovereign of his chronic stutter.

When Logue’s wife died, he sought out Mrs Bailey – already making a name for herself in the spirit world. He was so impressed with her apparent power to communicate with the dead that when the king died in his sleep at Sandringham in February 1952, at the young age of 56, Logue recommended the distraught Queen Mother to follow his lead and consult the medium.

On that night in Kensington, did Elizabeth and her daughter, the new Queen, make contact with the deceased? We’ll never know.

Born in the docks area of Cardiff, Lilian Bailey described her husband as a ‘mathematician’, though in fact he was no more than a clerk for the London and North Western Railway. Lilian Bailey’s act as a spiritualist medium was a sham, from start to finish.

It made no difference to the Queen Mother, who in her ignorance of Mrs Bailey’s lies, continued to consult her. But one dose of those messages from beyond was enough for Lilibet, Philip, Marina, and Alexandra. Maybe they saw through her or maybe they only went to the séance to support the grieving Queen Mother. Whichever, they never came back.

It’s true that many people continue to believe in the spirit world and it would be wrong to deny them that belief. But beyond question, the royal séance to contact the late King that night in 1953 was a sham – a hoax – cynically delivered by a woman whose imagination knew no bounds when it came to enriching herself.

Rachel Adams

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