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Dame Emily Shaw was the wife of Reuben Shaw and the mother of Liz Shaw and Lucy Shaw. By the 1970s, she had at least two grandchildren.

During World War II, she was an ambulance driver. (AUDIO: The Cloisters of Terror)

She had signed the Official Secrets Act more often than Liz and was consequently aware of UNIT's true activities. (AUDIO: The Last Post)

In 1977, she was the dean of St Matilda's College in Oxford, where she taught Medieval Studies. She felt that the disappearance of Lynn Pickering was mysterious. In that year, she encountered the Fourth Doctor and Leela. She didn't think that the disappearance was a case for UNIT. She helped the Doctor research the history of the college. When the Doctor pointed out that nuns had gone missing in a regular pattern, she became concerned as they were happening more frequently. She couldn't believe that there was a spaceship under the chapel. When the spaceship was going to explode, the Doctor took her to the TARDIS so that she didn't die. The TARDIS took them on some detours before she returned to the students. (AUDIO: The Cloisters of Terror)

Her husband died in 1995. (HOMEVID: Ghosts of Winterborne)