Former housekeeper to the Queen Mother, Sadie Ewen RVM, has died aged 89.
She and her husband Jimmy, latterly of Kingswells, both worked at Birkhall. They each received the Royal Victorian Medal for their services to the monarch and the royal family on their retirement.
Daughter of Jimmy and Emma Duncan, Sarah – later known as Sadie – was was born in Edinburgh on November 2 1934.
One of three girls for the couple, she and her sisters had a transient start to life, accompanying their father, who was a Gordon Highlander, to his various army postings.
Sadie first attended school in Guildford before a short spell in Aberdeen. In 1944 the family relocated permanently to Ballater where Sadie’s mother had been born.
Completing her education on Royal Deeside, she started working as a shop girl for Strachan’s of Ballater when she finished school.
In 1954, a year after they started courting, Sadie wed James Ewen – known as Jimmy – in Glenmuick Parish Church.
Jimmy worked for the Forestry Commission and they began their marriage living in Ballater.
Life would change for the couple in 1957 when Jimmy became a gamekeeper and ghillie on Balmoral Estate. That same year son James arrived, followed by his sister Jayne, in 1963.
Describing it as a happy time for the family, Jimmy was later asked to join the staff of the Queen Mother at Birkhall.
In the early 1980s Sadie, who had kept house at a fishing lodge, also joined the Queen Mother’s staff.
Unlike the usual tradition of housekeepers living in as single women, Sadie and Jimmy lived with their family in a cottage on the estate.
Loyal to their time at Birkhall, Sadie kept her time serving the royal family private.
“They were very happy during those years. It was a role suited to mum. She was an incredibly organised, hard-working woman who was very good at looking after people,” said Jayne.
Both Jimmy and Sadie retired in 1993. Following the Queen’s New Year Honours the same year the couple each received the RVM.
The Royal Victorian Medal, an award reserved for those who had rendered faithful service to the monarch and the royal family, was presented to the couple by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in early 1994.
On moving from Birkhall, Sadie and Jimmy initially retired to Peterculter before a final move to a house in Kingswells.
While Jimmy worked for the Marcliffe Hotel, Sarah was happy to spend her later years as a doting grandma to Jayne’s sons Christopher and Scott.
She also developed a reputation for being a master baker, especially when it came to pancakes and shortbread.
Following illness and after 69 years of marriage to Jimmy, Sadie passed away at home on Sunday November 26.
Predeceased by her son James who was tragically killed in an accident in 1984, she will be remembered as a devoted wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma and great-grandmother.
Her funeral service took place on Thursday December 7 at Baldarroch Crematorium.
The family added that she will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.