Queen Mum maid left like ‘prisoner’ in her home

Margaret Young is unable to use her stairlift. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Margaret Young is unable to use her stairlift. Picture: Ian Georgeson
6
Have your say

A FORMER royal maid who served the Queen Mother has become a “prisoner in her own home” after being told her broken stairlift won’t be replaced “for months”.

Widow Margaret Young, 91, has been stranded on a single floor of her two-storey house for weeks after the machine stopped working – and spent a fortnight trapped upstairs.

Margaret Young served the Queen Mother and Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth during her stint working and living at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Picture: contributed

Margaret Young served the Queen Mother and Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth during her stint working and living at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Picture: contributed

Mrs Young said she became so distressed that she threatened to “throw herself out” of the upstairs window of her home in Prestonpans, East ­Lothian.

A bed has since been fitted in the ground-floor living room after she was told it could take several more weeks for the council to replace the faulty equipment.

The grandmother-of-one worked at the Palace of Holyroodhouse during the reign of King George V.

Today she branded delays to replacing her stairlift “a disgrace” and said: “I feel like I’ve been put on the scrap heap.”

Mrs Young said: “It’s really dreadful what I’ve had to put up with at my age – a fortnight in my bedroom because I couldn’t get down the stairs.

“All I’ve been seeing is my carers and my nephew. The rest of the time I’ve had four walls to stare at. I’ve been going out of my mind.

“I still don’t know when I’m going to get a new one, they’ve said it could take months. This is how they treat old people nowadays.”

Mrs Young lived in the Palace of Holyroodhouse as a housekeeper until she married late husband John in 1950 and moved into her current property. She was presented with a photograph and letter from the Queen Mother as thanks for a silver wedding gift.

The pensioner fondly remembers the excitement when the royal family visited. She said: “The Queen Mum was great fun. Whenever there was a ball on she would be singing to us and roaring laughing. She would show us her dress. The king was a quiet man.

“Margaret was a little devil and loved people curtseying to her. She would follow you about as she knew you would have to keep curtseying – she was full of mischief.

“I remember when Elizabeth got engaged she came up to the palace with Philip. Philip came and spoke to us. He asked whether we stayed here all the time so I said, ‘yes, we sleep in the palace’. He was certainly surprised.”

She regularly returned to the palace for tea with the head housekeeper and was invited back last year for the garden party to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Now worried friends said Margaret is being “robbed of her dignity” – forced to use a commode and be washed in the kitchen sink as she cannot get to the upstairs bathroom.

Family friend Jennifer Todd said the way she was being treated was “criminal”.
She added: “She’s been a prisoner in her own bedroom for a fortnight, it’s absolutely terrible. Even now she’s downstairs it’s hardly ideal for a 91-year-old. At least when she had the stairlift, she could get upstairs for a bath but now she’s stuck.”

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said: “We carried out an immediate ­inspection and a replacement stairlift has been ordered which will be installed in a matter of weeks.”