Born: March 8, 1925;

Died. July 29, 2022.

LADY Myra Butter CVO, who has died aged 97, was a lifelong friend of the Queen, a cousin of Prince Philip and one of their most discreet confidantes. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark often stayed  with Lady Myra’s family during the holidays.

On her marriage to Major David Butter she became a prominent and popular figure in Perthshire. In recent years she often appeared as a recognised authority on royal matters in television programmes, once describing the Queen as having a "very good sense of humour, which has gone on for all her life".

In addition to being a descendant of Tsar Nicholas 1 Lady Butter was the great-great-granddaughter of the Russian poet and playwright Aleksandr Pushkin. In the 1980s she established the Pushkin Prize, a creative writing competition for school pupils as a pilot scheme in Tayside. In time, it spread to cover all of Scotland. It soon expanded to include not only all Scottish secondary school pupils from first and second year, but to cover 60-odd English language specialist schools in St Petersburg.

In 2019 Lady Butter said at a ceremony in Edinburgh, where she was presenting the prize to Scottish and Russian students, that Pushkin “had the strongest feelings for Scotland. He worshipped Scott and Burns and always wanted to come here, but was never given permission.”

In 2018 she was awarded the Medal of Pushkin for her work with the Prize but returned it in March 2022 in protest at the invasion of Ukraine. "To witness the terrible suffering taking place now is unbearable", she declared. "Every human being only wishes to live in a peaceful world and we can only pray that the war will end with the utmost speed".

Myra Alice Wernher was born in Edinburgh in 1925, the daughter of Major-General Sir Harold Wernher and Lady Zia Wernher. She was grand-daughter of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia, a great-grandson of Tsar Nicholas I, who had married Countess Sophia Nikolaievna von Merenberg (Countess de Torby).

Maj-Gen Wernher was involved in the planning for Operation Overlord (the D-Day Landings) and Churchill put him in charge of overseeing the construction of the Mulberry harbours.

Myra was brought up in London during the war and was privately educated before training as a nurse. She was a regular guest at Windsor Castle during the war and learnt to swim with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose.

Lady Butter was also a member of the 1st Buckingham Palace Company of Girl Guides when it was launched in 1937. The Queen was in the Kingfisher patrol, Lady Butter in the Robin patrol. She later described the Guides (which she supported throughout her life) as “great fun. We learnt how to do Morse code and tie knots. Just a normal sort of pack, really.”

She served as an auxiliary nurse but as the war was ending she met Major David Butter MC, a member of an old Perthshire family. During the war he had seen distinguished service with the 2nd Battalion the Scots Guards in the Western Desert.

They were married in 1946 at St Margaret’s Westminster and it was the first post-war society wedding with senior members of the Royal Family attending. The couple first went to live in a house on the banks of the River Tay at Pitlochry. They moved to nearby Cluniemore, where they brought up their five children and became familiar figures throughout Perthshire.

Her husband was a much-respected Lord Lieutenant for Perth and Kinross from 1975 to 1995 and appointed KCVO in 1991. He died in 2010.

Lady Butter supported many charities in Scotland personally and through the Butter Charity Trust. She was a county commissioner for the Girl Guides, founded a home for the physically disabled, and was a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh awards. There are competitions at the Pitlochry Golf Course with cups donated by Lady Butter.

One of her greatest joys was to succeed her husband as Chieftain of the Pitlochry Highland Games – an event she had attended annually since 1946. For her charitable work she was awarded the CVO in 1992.

She shared with the Queen a great love of horses – mostly flat racing – and was a passionate breeder of horses. Lady Butter took a keen interest in their two studs – the Someries Stud in Newmarket, and Blackhall Stud in County Kildare. She sold both to Sheikh Mohammed in the early 1990s.

As an owner Lady Butter enjoyed some notable victories on the Flat, notably Formulate, winner of the Waterford Candelabra Stakes and trained by Henry Cecil.

Lady Butter was nominated by Tatler magazine a decade ago as "the smartest woman in Scotland" and as someone who "is always immaculately dressed."

In Pitlochry she is warmly remembered today as a genial, kindly lady. One local and friend described her as being “generous of her time and energies and [who] never courted publicity. Myra was a gracious, courteous and approachable person who gave immense support to local causes.”

Lady Butter much enjoyed entertaining her friends and was a keen conversationalist on local and national affairs and politics. She was a fine mimic and often entertained the royals "over the hill", as Balmoral was known in the Butter household.

Lady Butter is survived by her five children: Sandra, Marilyn, Rohays, Georgina and Charles.