Catherine Masters
Catherine Masters
Birth: 23 November 1899
Dundee, Scotland, UK
Death: 14 February 2011
Oxford, England, UK
Age: 111 years, 83 days
Country: United Kingdom UK

Catherine Masters (née Cromb; 23 November 1899 – 14 February 2011) was a British supercentenarian.


Catherine Murray Millar was born in Dundee, Scotland, the daughter of David Lyall Cromb (1875–1961),[1] an editor of the local Courier newspaper.[2] The family moved to London in 1908 (or 1909)[1] where her father eventually changed his career path to literary agent.[2] Masters married twice, had a son, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.[3]

In 1921, she married John McInnes,[2] who worked for a tea importing company,[4] but McInnes died in 1962, and their son died of cancer in 1968. Her marriage to her second husband, Albert Masters, lasted from 1972 to his death in 1993. Following this she lived with one of her grandsons before he emigrated to South Africa in 2006.

In 2009, she wrote to Buckingham Palace to complain that she had received a birthday card with the same design for five consecutive years. This led to a 40 minute visit and an apology[5] from Prince William[3] at the Grange Care Centre in Stanford-in-the-Vale, Oxfordshire, where she lived from around 2006.[6]

At the end of her life, Masters was the oldest living person born in Scotland and the third oldest person in the United Kingdom.[3] She died from complications following an operation to insert a heart pacemaker, but was able to live with no nursing at all up to 10 days before her death.[7] She was survived by a 48-year-old grandson and two great grand-daughters.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Cromb, David Lyall" in Dennis Griffiths (ed) Encyclopedia of the British Press 1422–1992, London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992, p.176. Griffiths' brief entry differs from the account of Lyall's career given in The Courier article about his daughter.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Catherine Masters celebrates turning 111 and becoming oldest living Scot", The Courier (Dundee), 23 November 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Andrew Ffrench "Oxfordshire's grandest old lady Catherine Masters passes away at the age of 111", Oxford Mail, 15 February 2011
  4. "Prince William makes surprise visit to apologise to 109-year-old who complained about the Queen's birthday cards", Daily Mail, 13 May 2009
  5. "Prince apologises to 109-year-old", BBC News, 12 May 2009
  6. Rebecca English "The Queen makes 110-year-old Catherine Masters' day with a new-look birthday card", Daily Mail, 24 November 2009
  7. "Oxfordshire's grandest old lady Catherine Masters passes away at the age of 111", Daily Record 18 February 2011
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