From Queen Mother’s childhood home where guests dine on pheasant to high-security prison that serves inmates pasties and beans: The change in fortunes of Queen’s cousin the Earl of Strathmore after he was locked up for sex attack

  • Millionaire playboy Simon Bowes Lyon, 34, is great-great nephew of the Queen Mother and cousin of Queen 
  • Aristocrat barged into a terrified woman’s bedroom ancestral home Glamis Castle and forced her on to a bed
  • He groped her in 20-minute attack after she was invited as guest to party, forcing her to barricade inside room
  • At Dundee Sheriff Court the Earl of Strathmore was jailed for ten months and placed on sex offenders register
  • He is serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure at HMP Perth, Scotland’s oldest and recently most-violent prison 

The Queen’s playboy cousin is starting a ten-month jail term today after swapping his private castle where the Queen Mother grew up and Princess Margaret was born for a 55sqft cell in Scotland’s oldest prison.

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, was handcuffed and swept from Dundee Sheriff Court in a prison van after being sentenced for a violent sex attack in one of the grand bedrooms of his ancestral home Glamis Castle, which has been a royal residence since 1372.

Bowes-Lyon, whose friends call him Sam instead of The 19th and 6th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, is unlikely to be released from HMP Perth before July and will be on the sex offenders’ register for a decade.

The multi-millionaire laird will spend up to 23 hours a day in his cell because of Covid-19 regulations in the jail, which houses approaching 700 male prisoners including sex offenders and murderers. 

Built on the banks of the River Tay between 1810 and 1812 for 7,000 French Napoleonic prisoners of war, the jail had Scotland’s only purpose built execution shed before the death penalty was abolished in 1965 and was named Scotland’s most violent prison in 2016 due to the number of serious assaults and brawls. In 2018 the size of cramped cells in two blocks were criticised by inspectors. 

It has been recently renovated and hit the headlines last year inmates were given the go-ahead to open Scotland’s first fine-dining vegan restaurant for the public in the grounds. But there have also been complaints about the quality and quantity of food for prisoners, whose typical menu is porridge or a fry-up for breakfast, a Scotch Pie and beans for lunch and a pastie and chips for dinner. 

The small cells and the carb-heavy meals are a world away from Bowes-Lyon’s life at Glamis, where he lives in one of the UK’s most beautiful castles and can roam its 14,000 acre estate freely. Parts of the castle are open to the public for private tours and it is well known for its local produce, and famed for delicacies such as the Glamis pheasant and duck burger as well as world-class venison and game.

Pronounced ‘Glams’, the castle was the beloved childhood home of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who died aged 101 in 2002, and the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret was born at the castle in 1930 – the first royal baby born in Scotland for more than 300 years.  

Bowes-Lyon was led away to prison in handcuffs today after being jailed for ten months for a violent sexual assault at his ancestral home in the Highlands where the Queen Mother enjoyed an idyllic childhood and Shakespeare was inspired to write Macbeth. 

Simon Bowes-Lyon (right), the Earl of Strathmore, is escorted in handcuffs from Dundee Sheriff Court, after being jailed for ten months today

The cells at Scotland’s oldest prison HMP Perth, where the laird is starting prison life, were criticised in 2018 for being so cramped

The violent incident, to which the 34-year-old aristocrat has admitted, took place at Glamis Castle – the childhood home of the Queen Mother. The castle, found near the village of Glamis in Angus, Scotland is the seat of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne


Bowes-Lyon, whose friends call him Sam instead of The 19th and 6th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, is unlikely to be released before July from HMP Perth (pictured left and right)

The dining all at Glamis, which dates back to the 12th century, where the chefs are famed for serving venison, duck, partridge and pheasant

The Queen Mother’s chamber, Glamis Castle, where she was born and gave birth to Princess Margaret

Glamis’ grand living room in the castle, which has been a royal residence since 1372 

February 13, 2020: Simon Bowes-Lyon forced his way into a sleeping woman’s room and assaulted her during a travel PR weekend he was hosting at the 16,500-acre estate, Glamis Castle.  

He sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons. 

Bowes-Lyon admitted repeatedly pushing her onto a bed, forcibly grabbing her breasts, repeatedly trying to pull her nightdress, pushing her against a wall, touching her bottom and genilalia and trying to kiss her.

February 14, 2020: The woman fled the castle in the morning and flew home to immediately report the matter to police. Both Police Scotland and the Metropolitan Police were involved in the investigation.

Bowes-Lyon emailed an apology to the woman – but gave police a ‘no comment’ interview at Dundee HQ.

January 12, 2020:  At Dundee Sheriff Court he admitted he sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons. 

The wealthy aristocrat was granted bail and placed on the Sex Offenders Register as sentence was deferred for reports. 

February 23, 2020

Bowes-Lyon is jailed for 10 months.

Sitting at Dundee Sheriff Court this morning, Sheriff Alistair Carmichael, told Bowes-Lyon that the offence was so serious that he had to go to prison because it would send the wrong message to others, ignoring the laird’s plea for a suspended sentence.

Bowes-Lyon forced his way into the woman’s room, grabbed her breasts, put his hand up her nightie and forced her on to the bed telling her he was ‘going to f**k her’.

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had undergone ‘cognitive behaviour therapy’ in the wake of the attack and still has nightmares more than a year after the incident, the court heard.

Sheriff Carmichael told him as he stood in the dock: ‘She had no sexual interest in you and had done nothing that could be interpreted by you to the contrary.

‘You went to her bedroom and persuaded her to open the door, pushed your way into the room, pushed her onto the bed and grabbed her hard on the nipple and tried to push her nightdress up.

‘You told her that you were going to f**k her and that she needed a shafting. You continued to pull at her and tried to kiss her. Throughout all this she made it clear she wanted you to stop.’. 

The 19th and 6th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne was styled Lord Glamis until his father’s death in 2016. He is a first cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II. His family owns Glamis Castle – the childhood home of the Queen Mother and the home of Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s play – and inherited a share of his father’s £40million estate. 

The current Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne found himself in the dock after he barged his way into the woman’s bedroom while she was sleeping during an event he was hosting at Glamis Castle.

Bowes-Lyon – who as a 15-year-old walked behind Prince William in the Queen Mother’s funeral cortege – issued an apology to his victim as he left court after pleading guilty last month, adding that he is ‘greatly ashamed’ of his conduct and that ‘alcohol is no excuse’. 

He repeatedly grabbed his victim and told her he wanted to have an affair with her – although he is unmarried – during the drink-fuelled assault, which lasted more than 20 minutes. 

He is said to have tried to pull up her nightdress, and pushed her up against a wall and groped her bottom and genitals.   

Even after she managed to get him out of the room, the terrified woman heard Bowes-Lyon coming back and trying to get back in a second time.

The Earl of Strathmore, who was swept from court in a prison van this afternoon, had pleaded for a suspended sentence but the judge refused and said he must be jailed

Bowes-Lyon, a distant cousin of the Queen, pleaded guilty to forcing his way into the room of a guest at Glamis Castle and groping her viciously, injuring her breasts

Bowes-Lyon (circled) – who as a 15-year-old walked behind Prince William in the Queen Mother’s funeral cortege – issued an apology to his victim as he left court, adding that he is ‘greatly ashamed’ of his conduct and that ‘alcohol is no excuse’

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael said today: ‘She was afraid to the extent that she locked the door and wedged a chair under the handle. She was left shaking.

‘Even now, one year on, she still has nightmares and feels panic because of being sexually assaulted by you. It was made worse that you were her host.

‘You assaulted her in the face of repeated protestations to stop and you repeatedly prevented the complainer from getting away. The force, aggression and persistence you used are concerning.

‘The sentence must reflect the gravity of this crime and the need for punishment to adequately express society’s disapproval.’

He imposed an initial sentence of 15 months and reduced it to ten months to recognise the plea of guilty at the first opportunity by Bowes-Lyon. 

The Earl poses with his brothers John and George, who have homes in London, County Durham and also lived together at the family castle in Scotland

Troubled Laird’s brushes with police and how his sex assault conviction is another cursed day for the Bowes-Lyon family


The fourth season of The Crown tells the tragic story of the Queen’s ‘hidden’ cousins Katherine (left) and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon (right), who were locked up in an asylum and neglected

Simon Bowes-Lyon is facing jail for a violent sex assault – but it is not the first time he’s been in trouble with the law – and yet another stain on the Queen Mother’s family.

The troubled Earl is a first cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II, and a great-great-nephew of the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. His family owns Glamis Castle and inherited a share of his father’s £40 million estate.

His father was known for his chequered relationships and struggles with alcohol. 

In June 2020, Durham Police contacted the Earl for violating the COVID-19 related travel restrictions then in place. 

A report said he travelled 200 miles to Holwick Lodge, Middleton-in-Teesdale, and was outed when his butler went to the shops. 

In 2010 he was banned from the road for nine months after he was clocked riding his motorbike at 100 mph on a 60 mph stretch of road.  

The latest episode is yet another stain on the Bowes-Lyon family.

The latest series of The Crown told the tragic story of the Queen’s ‘hidden’ cousins who were locked up in an asylum and registered as dead after being born with severe learning difficulties.

The Netflix drama offers its take on the shameful scandal that saw sisters Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon – the Queen Mother’s nieces – neglected and forgotten about for decades. 

At the ages of 15 and 22 respectively, the pair, who were unable to speak due to their condition, were secretly placed in the Royal Earlswood Institution for Mental Defectives in Redhill, Surrey by their parents in 1941. 

They remained at the institution, cruelly dubbed The National Asylum for Idiots, for the majority of their lives and, according to reports, were barely ever visited and registered as dead.  

Counsel for the accused, John Scott QC, asked the court to impose a non-custodial sentence and said his client had expressed genuine remorse for his behaviour. 

He said: ‘His sense of deep regret and deep shame comes through. It is entirely out of character for the accused.

‘He does not wish to be treated better than anyone else and nor should he be. Nor should he be treated any worse.

‘Character references speak to his otherwise exemplary behaviour and a picture of some of the challenges he has had in life that might not necessarily be widely understood or known, and rather assumptions are made about his privilege.

‘He has recognised he did something very bad and he is sorry for it. He is only at medium risk of reconviction.’ 

Mr Scott told the court that Bowes-Lyon had childhood issues but had not fully expressed them to social workers as he preferred to focus on the happy parts of his upbringing.

The aristocrat was hosting a party for a luxury lifestyle magazine, where guests enjoyed gin tasting, helicopter rides, shooting and a tour of the castle.

His victim took pity on her attacker when she noticed no-one was talking to Bowes-Lyon during dinner and she engaged him in conversation, he then took her outside to show her one of his many classic cars.

The following evening there was a black tie dinner and, after the victim went to bed, Bowes-Lyon carried on drinking before arriving uninvited at her room at 1.20 am and carried out the attack on the woman, who cannot be named. 

In a statement outside court after pleading guilty last month, Bowes-Lyon apologised and said he is ‘greatly ashamed of my actions which have caused such distress to a guest in my home’.

He said he had ‘drunk to excess’ on the night of the attack, which he said was ‘no excuse’ for his actions.

He added: ‘I did not think I was capable of behaving the way I did but have had to face up to it and take responsibility.

‘Over the last year this has involved seeking and receiving professional help as well as agreeing to plead guilty as quickly as possible.

‘My apologies go, above all, to the woman concerned but I would also like to apologise to family, friends and colleagues for the distress I have caused them.’

Bowes-Lyon, known for his love of fast cars and holidays with reality TV stars, was named one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors by Tatler in 2019. 

Last month MailOnline revealed that just weeks after the sex attack, in June 2020, Durham Police contacted the Earl, whose friends call him Sam, for violating the COVID-19 related travel restrictions banning from people leaving home. 

He had travelled 200 miles to England to stay at one of his second properties, a lodge on the family’s £20million Holwick estate in Middleton-in-Teesdale, just outside Barnard Castle, where Dominic Cummings went on his notorious lockdown drive to test his eyesight a month earlier. 

Bowes-Lyon was outed to local detectives when one of his servants was seen as he went to the shops. ‘It’s the talk of the village,’ a local source said at the time. ‘His butler was spotted buying newspapers.’  The Earl then agreed to return to Glamis Castle in Scotland – the childhood home of the Queen Mother, north of Dundee.

And in 2010 he was banned from the road for nine months after he was clocked riding his motorbike at 100 mph on a 60 mph stretch of road. It was noted in court, as the then 24-year-old was fined £500, that his licence had already accumulated 23 penalty points due to various speeding convictions.

His father, the rambunctious Mikey, was a larger-than-life character who battled alcohol problems, married three times, romped with escorts and was known as the ‘head of the Queen’s Scottish family’.  

Bowes-Lyon, known for his love of fast cars and holidays with reality TV stars, was named one of the UK’s most eligible bachelors by Tatler in 2019. Pictured: Simon Bowes-Lyon with his father the Earl of Strathmore in 2000

 Bowes-Lyon, 34, who is the Queen’s cousin twice removed, admitted a charge of sexually assaulting the woman

Police: Conviction of Queen’s cousin shows that ‘status’ doesn’t protect you from prosecution

Police have welcomed the conviction of a relative of the Queen who admitted sexually assaulting a woman at his ancestral home.

Simon Bowes-Lyon, 34, the Earl of Strathmore, attacked the woman at Glamis Castle, Angus, in February last year. 

Detective Inspector Marc Lorente, from Police Scotland’s Tayside Division Criminal Investigation Department, said: ‘We welcome the conviction of Simon Bowes-Lyon who has admitted to his actions.

‘Working with the Metropolitan Police, we carried out a thorough investigation into this sexual assault and I would like to thank the victim for her bravery, courage and support throughout our inquiries.

‘This case shows that no matter the status of an individual involved, we will listen to victims and investigate thoroughly to ensure offenders are held accountable for their actions.’ 

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

This highly-colourful lifestyle – and a series of scandals – meant the young Lord Glamis, along with his two brothers John ‘Jock’ Bowes-Lyon, 31, and George ‘Geordie’ Bowes-Lyon, did not have the most conventional start in life. 

Glamis Castle is the seat of the earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, part of the late Queen Mother’s family.

The nobleman and peer was styled Lord Glamis from 1987 until his father’s death in 2016. He is the eldest son of Michael ‘Mikey’ Bowes-Lyon, 18th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorn, and Isobel Weatherall. His parents divorced in 2004, and he succeeded his father in 2016. 

His father was known for his chequered relationships and struggles with alcohol. The former Scots Guards captain was considered to be ‘head of the Queen’s Scottish family’ and walked behind Prince Charles and Prince William at the Queen Mother’s funeral.

The Bowes-Lyon brothers certainly seem at home at Glamis. 

In one Instagram video posted by Geordie, a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in Brideshead Revisited unfolds as what appears to be Sam and a friend whiz up the main drive in a motorbike and sidecar. 

Driving at some speed, they narrowly avoid clipping the verge while bemused tourists look on.

Indeed life for the trio seems to be something of a whirlwind of walked up grouse shoots, society parties and girls in pretty dresses – another of their father’s weaknesses.

The demise of Mikey’s first marriage to the boys’ mother was turbulent. Isobel – known to friends as Iso – demanded the right to live at Glamis until 2016, the year Geordie would reach the age of 25. 

In the end, she accepted a £5million settlement which, at her insistence, included paintings and the couple’s matrimonial four poster bed.

She later sold the bed at auction in London, where she raised eyebrows by scribbling out the ‘Countess of Strathmore’ title from her name badge and writing in ‘Iso’ instead.  

Earl’s castle was home to the Queen Mother… and Macbeth 

Glamis Castle inspired Shakespeare and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother.

It has witnessed some of Scotland’s most momentous historical events over the past 1,000 years. King Malcolm II was killed at a hunting lodge on the site of the present-day castle in 1034.

In the Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth lived at Glamis Castle in the 11th century, although in reality the king had no connection to the place.

Glamis has been the seat of the Bowes-Lyon family since 1372. The Queen Mother, who was born Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1900 (pictured), grew up there.

During the First World War she worked as a nurse when part of her ancestral home was used as a hospital for wounded troops.

Glamis Castle was where she was wooed by the then-Duke of York – the future George VI – and they spent part of their honeymoon there.

The Queen Mother, pictured, gave birth to Princess Margaret on a stormy night at Glamis in 1930. She was the first royal baby born in Scotland since 1600.

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