Mr. McCarthy greets the Queen Mother during a
garden party at Hilsborough.
LOCAL man held in such high regard by the Queen Mother that he
stayed at Glamis Castle as her guest has passed away.
Victor Cuthbert McCarthy, who died at the end of last month,
treasured memories of these visits all his life and often told
his family how he swapped ghost stories with the former
Elizabeth Bowes Lyon while sitting in front of the Castle's
'roaring fire. His daughter Victoria outlined one memorable
occasion when the Queen Mother stopped a car in which she was
being driven away from Hillsborough forcing the following
vehicle to also come to a halt.
This, she explained, was being driven by her father who was
employed as a Chauffeur at Government House.
He immediately got out of his own car and went to the one in
front where he asked what was wrong. Victoria said The Queen
Mother told him she could not leave without saying goodbye to
her 'Irish Boy'.
Mr. McCarthy first came into contact with the Royal Family
when he took up a footman's position at Government House after
returning from armed service during the Second World War.
His employer was the then Governor of Northern Ireland Lord
Granville whose wife Lady Granville was one of the Queen
He moved on to the position of chauffeur and enjoyed many
visits to the Scottish stately home where Victoria said he
always felt he was 'treated like one of the family.
On occasions, she added, Lord Granville took the wheel while
her father sat in the rear of the car.
Mr. McCarthy also travelled with the Governor and his wife to
their flat in London where he had to 'nip out' at times to
purchase muffins which were served when the Queen Mother called
to have tea with her sister. When Lord Granville's period as
Governor came to an end he offered his chauffeur a fully stocked
60 acre farm in Scotland.
However, Victoria explained her father felt unable to avail
of this opportunity as her grandfather was very frail at the
Lord Granville was succeeded by Lord Wakehurst but the Queen
Mother never forgot Mr. McCarthy.
During the years that followed he was a guest at many garden
One of these was hosted by the Queen Mother who specifically
asked for him to be invited.
She was told by this stage he had grown more facial hair so
she joked she would 'just look out for a beardy man.
Victoria said family members suspect her father forged a 1919
birth certificate to enable him to join the Royal Navy at the
age of just 16.
They believe he was in fact born on October 3, 1923 at
Demniville Avenue in Maze.
His parents moved their family to Dromore Road in
Hillsborough while he was a young boy and he attended Maze
'He used to call it Maze University and also claimed to have
gone to Friends School because he said 'we were all friends
there'," Victoria added
Mr. McCarthy left school at the age of 13 and worked for
local farmers until he joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal
During the Second World War he served on the battleship King
George V, motor torpedo boats and on aircraft carriers.
These vessels worked in the North Sea, the Atlantic, Irish
Sea, Orkneys and Scapa Flow and his main role was aircraft
His employment at Government House began at the end of the
conflict and 10 years later, on St. Patrick's Day 1956 he
married Anne Lyness, a farmer's daughter from Portadown.
He went on to work as a bus driver in Co. Tyrone and was
employed by the Ministry of Agriculture at Stormont and was also
well known in Lisburn as an ambulance driver.
He indulged his passion for flying at Newtownards and later
at Aldergrove based Woodgate Aviation, achieving his ambition to
hold a solo licence.
The McCarthys celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on
March 17 2006 but Anne sadly passed away just three months later
on June 22. Mr. McCarthy suffered declining health, first being
cared for at Anahilt Residential Home before moving to Lisadian
His long life drew to a very peaceful close on October 27
while he was surrounded by family members.
He was laid to rest in Hillsborough Parish Graveyard
following a very well attended service in Priesthill Methodist