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Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy

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Nationality  British
Education  Paris Conservatoire
Name  Ruth Baroness

Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy Ruth Sylvia Roche Gill Baroness Fermoy 1908 1993 Genealogy

Full Name  Ruth Sylvia Gill
Born  2 October 1908 (1908-10-02) Bieldside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Occupation  Extra Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Known for  Maternal grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales
Spouse  Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy
Grandchildren  Diana, Princess of Wales, Charles Spencer
Children  Frances Shand Kydd, Edmund Roche, 5th Baron Fermoy
Parents  Ruth Littlejohn, William Smith Gill

Died  6 July 1993 (aged 84) 36 Eaton Square, London, England

Similar  Frances Shand Kydd, Peter Shand Kydd, Frances Ellen Work

Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy

Ruth Sylvia Roche, Baroness Fermoy (née Gill; 2 October 1908 – 6 July 1993) was a friend and confidante of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the maternal grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales.


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Lady Fermoy was born Ruth Sylvia Gill on 2 October 1908 at her father's house, Dalhebity, Bieldside, Aberdeenshire, the daughter of Colonel William Smith Gill and his wife Ruth (née Littlejohn). She showed early promise as a pianist and studied under Alfred Cortot at the Paris Conservatoire in the 1920s.

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Her musical career was cut short when she met, and later married in 1931, the wealthy and much older Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy. Lord and Lady Fermoy had three children, including her younger daughter, Frances, who would become the mother of Diana. Lady Fermoy did play the piano in public occasionally after her marriage, most notably with Josef Krips at the Royal Albert Hall in 1950, and with Sir John Barbirolli and the Hallé Orchestra at King's Lynn in 1966. She founded the King's Lynn Festival in 1951 and remained closely involved with the Festival for 25 years, persuading Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother to become its patron.

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In 1956, the Queen Mother appointed Lady Fermoy an Extra Woman of the Bedchamber. The Queen Mother, being a widow herself, showed a preference for appointing widows to her household, and four years later Lady Fermoy was promoted to Woman of the Bedchamber, a post she held for the next 33 years. Lady Fermoy was a firm believer in the sanctity of marriage. In 1969, her daughter Frances and John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, divorced after Frances left her husband for Peter Shand Kydd. Lady Fermoy testified against her daughter, which allowed Lord Spencer to retain custody of Diana.

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The Queen Mother and Lady Fermoy became confidantes, and it was assumed by many that the two women engineered the match between their grandchildren, the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. However, when asked about it, Lady Fermoy remarked: "You can say that if you like – but it simply wouldn't be true". She was also said to have counseled her granddaughter against the marriage, saying: "Darling, you must understand that their sense of humor and their lifestyle are different, and I don't think it will suit you."

Lady Fermoy died at her home at 36 Eaton Square, London, on 6 July 1993, aged 84. It was reported that she was not on speaking terms with Diana when she died.


Lady Fermoy's great-grandmother, Kitty Forbes, was the daughter of Scotsman Theodore Forbes and Indian-Armenian Eliza Kewark. Eliza's father, Hakob Kevork or Kevorkian, was Armenian; her Indian mother was likely to have been Muslim.


Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy Wikipedia