13th September 1932

Death of the man who delivered the Queen

Henry Simson was a founder of London’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, so it’s appropriate that in 1916 he was also the appointed obstetrician to the royal family. In this role, he helped deliver both Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Princess Margaret.

Introduction of heirs

The Dundee Courier of 15 September 1932 noted that “he probably brought more famous children into the world than any living doctor. He supervised the introduction into this world of many heirs to famous titles… [he] was in attendance at the birth of both Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. A reporter who saw a great deal of Sir Henry when he was at Glamis Castle at the time of the birth of Princess Margaret said he was cool, quiet and reserved. The bulletin announcing the Princess’s birth on the night of August 21 1930 in the midst of a thunderstorm was in his own handwriting, and it was he who incorporated in a second bulletin the old Scots phrase when he announced that the infant Princess was ‘doing fine’.”

Simson’s early life

Simson was born in India to Scottish parents, raised in Edinburgh when he was still a child and studied at the University of Edinburgh. He worked in the city, then moved to London’s Hospital for Women. He was a keen golfer, was interested in art, and was on the Hanging Committee of the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.

He died of heart failure, aged 59. His body was cremated, and his ashes scattered at Edinburgh’s Dean Cemetery.

Henry Simson’s death

It was reported that he had died while undergoing an operation, but the Edinburgh Evening News of 16 September carried a clarification from an unnamed colleague who “said that many incorrect reports had appeared describing the way in which he had died. ‘I would like to make it clear that Sir Henry died suddenly from a heart attack while waiting to examine a patient under an anaesthetic in a London nursing home,’ he added. ‘There was no question of an operation’.”

However, his death wasn’t unexpected. The Helensburgh News of 16 April revealed he had been ill for more than two months. He’d “had a shock of paralysis some two months ago, from which he never fairly recovered, and having had a second attack a fortnight ago, he gradually became weaker, until death supervened.”



Other events that occured in September

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