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Mother of famous ‘Royal’ triplets

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The mother of triplets who found fame when they were presented to the Queen during her first visit to Bermuda has died.

Joy Agass-Smith, 89, gave birth to babies Elizabeth, Margaret and Philippa in 1953, the year of the Queen's coronation.

The girls' births also coincided with the new monarch's world tour, with her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

A photo captured the young Queen, Elizabeth II, with the triplets and nurses when the Royal couple visited the then-children's hospital on Ireland Island, Sandys.

The triplets had a royal connection of their own — they were named after the Queen, her sister and the feminine form of Prince Philip's name.

Ms Agass-Smith was born in Dorset, England, in 1930.

Her father, Charles, was a major in the British Army.

With her mother, Dorothy, he took the family from Egypt to South Africa and back to Britain at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Ms Agass-Smith said the British vessel they travelled on had to steer an evasive course to shake off German pursuers.

The third of six children, Agass-Smith often had to care for her siblings, including a brother who suffered from a heart condition.

Major Agass was posted here after the war and Joy stayed on the island. Her triplets were born with her first husband, Frank Miller.

The couple lost a son, Michael, to influenza before his first birthday.

The couple later divorced, and Ms Agass-Smith worked several jobs to look after her daughters as a single mother.

Her eulogy said: “It was not an easy time for the triplets either, but they remember how their mother fought to protect them, provide a home and keep them together as best she could, and they loved her for it.”

She later married Alfred “Smudge” Smith, an Englishman stationed at Dockyard with the Royal Navy, who became a father to her three girls. Mr Smith died in 2003 and Ms Agass-Smith's third partner was Dave Ruse, who died in 2016.

Her family wrote: “She was a proud and intensely private woman, often shy — but with a crackling sense of humour and a wicked laugh. She had a great love of reading passed on to her by her father, which she passed to her daughters.”

Ms Agass-Smith's funeral was held last Thursday at St Anne's Anglican Church in Southampton.

Special honour: Joy Agass-Smith's daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret and Philippa, were the first triplets born in Bermuda in 200 years (Photograph supplied)
Grand entrance: the Queen meets the Miller triplets, Elizabeth, Philippa and Margaret, during her 1953 tour of Bermuda. The babies were brought to meet the Queen as they were the first triplets born in Bermuda in over 200 years. Their mother, Joy Agass-Smith died recently, aged 89 (Photograph by AP)

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Published April 01, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 01, 2020 at 6:54 am)

Mother of famous ‘Royal’ triplets

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