London: Extraordinary claims that the Queen Mother's real mother was her family's French cook are to be made in a sensational new book.
Aristocratic author Lady Colin Campbell says the domestic help may have been — an early version of surrogacy — for both Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and her younger brother David.
The cook, an "attractive and pleasant Frenchwoman" called Marguerite Rodiere, gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth because her own mother Cecilia, who already had eight children, was unable to have any more.
According to Lady Colin, this explains the unflattering nickname "Cookie" given to the Queen Mother by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The astonishing claims are contained in The Queen Mother, The untold story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, on sale next month.
The publication of the extracts could not have been more ill-timed, as the Queen yesterday held a service of remembrance for her beloved mother to mark the tenth anniversary of her death.
Held at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, it was attended by almost every senior member of the Royal Family and saw glowing tributes paid to the former Queen and her daughter, Princess Margaret.