Did low-flying plane cause Queen Mother to lose a son?
Former RAF pilot claims his comrade caused the Queen Mother to miscarry the future king
DID a daredevil RAF pilot accidentally cause the Queen Mother to miscarry a boy in 1929? A boy who, if he had lived, might have become king? An old comrade certainly believes so.
In the 1920s and 1930s, between the wars, young flyers liked to "buzz" very low over the hedgerows. It was a move punishable by court-martial because of the shock it caused to people on the ground.
During a training flight in October 1929, pilot Walter Beisiegel claimed he swooped down and buzzed a garden at Carberry Tower, in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.
He later found out that one of the women in the garden was the pregnant Queen Mother, then the Duchess of York, who was staying with her eldest sister, Lady Mary.
He was told that the Duchess had lost the child, who had been a boy – and under contemporary rules would have taken precedence over his older sister Elizabeth in line to the throne.
Beisiegel died in 1973 but the story has been relayed by his comrade Group Captain EE 'Tubby' Vielle, also a pilot.
Vielle, now 99 and writing his memoirs, has told The Daily Mail he learned of the incident in 1935 when he narrowly escaped a court-martial for the same offence. He was told that the only other RAF flyer who had ever escaped a court-martial for low flying was Walter Beisiegel.
"He wasn't court-martialled because none of the Royal Family or their friends were prepared to give evidence, so it was quietly dropped," claims Vielle.
Vielle says Beisiegel later confirmed the whole story and told him the miscarriage took place on the Royal Yacht or on a Royal Navy ship.
Buckingham Palace confirmed for Vielle in 1999 that the Queen Mother did remember the aircraft flying low but denied that she suffered a miscarriage "in any part of Great Britain" during the years he mentioned.
Vielle believes the response was carefully limited to 'Great Britain' because the miscarriage allegedly occurred on a yacht or fleet ship in the waters off Fife, not technically in Great Britain.