jpg At the end of the war, 18-year-old Lady Elizabeth - her father had inherited the earldom upon the death of his father, meaning she too gained a title - was poised to take a leading role in the social whirl which greeted the young men returning from the war. Debutantes turned the ladies' landing at Glamis Castle into bedlam, as they agonised over what to wear and battled for the single bathroom.

Romance was all very well but, with large estates in question, marriage was essentially as much about property as it was about love. The constant round of parties was not mere indulgence on the part of fond parents but a highly effective method of ensuring that the right sort of girls were constantly bumping into the right sort of chaps.

However, post-war society was much more open than it was just five years before, and at the same time Britain's aristocratic marriage-mart was enlivened by four eligible young royal Princes and a Princess. But a royal life seemed unlikely to be Elizabeth's destiny. Her father, Lord Strathmore, declared: "If there is one thing I have determined for my children, it is that they shall never have a post about the Court." His high moral standards had been offended by the tales of infidelity among Edward VII's circle and, as a result, the Bowes-Lyon children had been brought up not to have a slavish regard for royal titles.
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