FAMILY and friends aged between three and 93 gathered for a special early party at Alnwick Castle, to celebrate Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland’s 90th birthday.
The magnificent State Dining Room hosted the well-wishers, who enjoyed a gala lunch and were kept entertained by a group of singers who performed songs from the 1930s and ’40s, accompanied on the piano.
Duchess Elizabeth, who turns 90 tomorrow, is the mother of the current Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, one of seven children she had with husband Hugh, the 10th Duke. The couple married in 1946.
Born in 1922, the Duchess – whose maiden name is Lady Elizabeth Montagu Douglas Scott – is the eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch.
During the Second World War, she served as a Navy Wren and her duties included code-breaking activities. She then devoted herself to family and public life and acted as patron or president of many charities and other beneficial organisations, including the Red Cross and the Duchess’s School.
After her husband’s death in 1988, she took on the role of Honorary Colonel of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.
A Percy family spokeswoman said: “The Duke made a speech praising her parental skills, her courage and great sense of love and duty towards Northumberland and its communities.”