Former Hackney mayoress Vicky Masters – who refused to curtsy to Princess Margaret – dies aged 89

PUBLISHED: 11:32 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:32 14 January 2020

Vicky Masters, the last mayoress of the former Metropolitan Borough of Hackney, who has died aged 89.

Vicky Masters, the last mayoress of the former Metropolitan Borough of Hackney, who has died aged 89.


Vicky Masters, the last mayoress of the former Metropolitan Borough of Hackney, has died aged 89.

Vicky and alderman Bob Masters, at a Christmas party in 1964.Vicky and alderman Bob Masters, at a Christmas party in 1964.

Aged 34, Vicky was one of the youngest civic consorts in London when she supported her husband, alderman Bob Masters, in 1964-65 - the year before Hackney joined with Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.

She died on December 30, a month before her 90th birthday.

Vicky once caused consternation in the mayor's parlour when she told the town clerk there was no way she would curtsy to visiting royalty, insisting Princess Margaret be welcomed with a polite handshake just like anyone else.

Vicky had been a Labour councillor in her own right during the 1950s, but preferred to support her husband in his political activities and bring up their son Andrew.

Vicky and Bob Masters at a Hackney school.Vicky and Bob Masters at a Hackney school.

She worked as a clerk with the London County Council and had served with the Woman's Land Army in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Both she and Bob were active in the Community Relations Council and committed anti-racists.

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In 1979 Bob was chair of the borough's planning committee and refused permission for a racist organisation to use a warehouse in Shoreditch as their national headquarters.

The family home was bombarded with threatening telephone calls, to which Vicky gave a typically robust response.

Hackney Council made Bob a Freeman of the Borough on his retirement and soon afterwards they moved to Ramsgate in Kent.

Typically they both became active in the local Labour Party there and Bob was elected to Thanet Council, once again supported by Vicky.

Bob died in 2000 and her son Andrew died in 2011, leaving his wife Samantha and two granddaughters.

For the last years of her life she lived in a residential home, as she coped with deteriorating eyesight. For many years she enjoyed the Gazette tapes for blind people, and later had the website read to her by family and friends.

Vicky's funeral will be held on Thursday next week at 4pm in Thanet Crematorium. It will be conducted by former MEP David Hallam, who Bob and Vicky recruited to the Labour party in 1966.

David said: "Vicky was a warmhearted person. As a young mayoress she certainly created a stir and threw herself wholeheartedly into the role.

"Despite the loss of her sight she remained cheerful and determined to continue working for a just society. She was very much traditional Labour and reminded me, just before Christmas, she wanted a hearty rendering of The Red Flag at her funeral."

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