Born lady Margaret Lyon in 1874, third daughter of the sixth Earl of Beauchamp, Margaret married the second Baron Ampthill in 1894.
Lord Ampthill as Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table and Lady Ampthill as a Lady-in-Waiting at the Court of King Arthur at the Devonshire House Ball, 2 July 1897. Via
In 1900 she was made a Lady of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India, and in 1911 became a lady in waiting to Queen Mary, the lady of the bed-chamber, a position her elder sister had held from 1895. In 1918 she became a Dame Grand Cross of the British Empire. her husband died in 1935, and during World War Two she became chairman of the War Prisoner’s section of the International Red Cross.
As well as carrying out its traditional activities for prisoners of war – such as visiting camps or setting up a central information agency on the prisoners, as in WWI, they organisation also helped civilians cope on a day-to-day basis with the disorganization resulting from the war, such as the famine in Greece and the food shortages on the Channel Islands. Most enemy nations in Western Europe allowed the Red Cross to carry out its work of supporting those who had been taken prisoner, but the same was not as true in the Pacific and Eastern European nations. At the Changi camp run by the Japanese in Singapore, on average, a POW received a fraction of one food parcel sent by the Red Cross in the three-and-a half years that the camp was open. They also received just one letter per year. The Red Cross was linked to the Geneva Conventions on how captured personnel should be treated and Japan had not signed up to this -attempts by the Red Cross to visit allied soldiers captured by the Japanese army were hampered by the Tokyo authorities’ lack of cooperation. With over 5 million Prisoners of War during WWII, the Red Cross had a huge job.
Lady Ampthill was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1946 for her work during WWII. She died in December 1957, aged 83.