Kilburn High Road falls silent for ‘everyone’s Granny’ Diana Lane
Horse-drawn cortege for 103-year-old who fled German invasion of Cyprus with baby son
16 October, 2017 — By Tom Foot
Diana Lane’s funeral cortege makes its way along Kilburn High Road, on its way to Sacred Heart Church
KILBURN High Road fell silent on Tuesday morning as a horse-drawn hearse led the funeral cortege for a 103-year-old described as “everyone’s granny”.
The procession led to a service for Diana Lane, where mourners at the Sacred Heart Church in Quex Road remembered an “indomitable British woman” who lived a life around the world – and once had dinner with the Queen.
Her son, Adrian Lane, told the service how as a baby he was evacuated with his mother from Cyprus, following the German invasion of Greece during the Second World War. “German subs were patrolling and our troop ship was in danger,” he recalled, adding that during onboard safety drills his mother had never once let go of his cot. “That is real love,” he said.
Landing in Kenya, Diana would become the first woman to join the police force, Mr Lane said, designing her own uniform. She later married a “dashing South African major” before moving to San Francisco where daughter Nicola, who now lives in Canfield Gardens, was born.
A “diplomatic life” would see her travel to north Africa, Istanbul, Bangkok, west Africa and Venice where she and her husband became friends with writer Evelyn Waugh and the socialite Peggy Guggenheim. “But the highlight was the visit of Her Majesty the Queen on the Royal yacht, with all her Royal entourage,” said Mr Lane.
The service heard how in later life she moved to “caretake” Lord Castle Stewart’s stately home in Northern Ireland, but Mr Lane said: “I have to say my mother hated it.” He added: “Luckily, for my mum, when they left, the IRA decided to blow up Lord Castle Stewart’s stately home – and I have to say my mother was very pleased.”
In the early 1990s, she moved to Hilltop Road to be near to her daughter.
Actor Tim Morand read a passage from the Book of Wisdom and grandson Louis Morand spoke about how happy he was that his granny had lived long enough to “see what I what would amount to”. He said: “She was a special person, not just to me, but also to everyone she came into contact with – a neighbour with genuine interest in others, she was everyone’s granny.”
Sacred Heart priest, Father Terry Murray, described Diana’s home as an “oasis” and thanked her family for ensuring that she received the “very best care”, and the Camden carers for attending the funeral.
He added: “If it was not for her care she would have been here many years ago. She lived 103 years. She lived a life full of adventure, full of journeys and travels.”