Anne Parsons, Countess of Rosse

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Anne Parsons, Countess of Rosse (née Messel, previously Armstrong-Jones; 8 February 1902 – 3 July 1992), was a society hostess and one of the founders of The Victorian Society and the mother of Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon.


Anne Messel was born 8 February 1902, the second child and only daughter of Maud (daughter of Edward Linley Sambourne) and Leonard Messel. She was sister to Linley Messel (1899–1971) and celebrated theatrical designer Oliver Messel (1904–1978).

Marriage and children[edit]

Anne made her debut in society in 1922 and three years later married Ronald Armstrong-Jones, a barrister, with whom she had two children, Susan (b. 1927, later Viscountess Vesci) and Antony (b. 1930, later Earl of Snowdon). Anne and her husband separated in 1933.

On 19 September 1935, Anne married for secondly to Michael Parsons, 6th Earl of Rosse, with whom she had two more sons, Brendan and Martin.

The Victorian Society[edit]

At a Guy Fawkes night party in 1957, inspired by her house at 18 Stafford Terrace and the reaction of its visitors, Anne, Countess of Rosse proposed founding a Victorian Society to encourage the preservation and appreciation of what was then unfashionable art and architecture. A handful of enthusiasts, including Sir John Betjeman and Nikolaus Pevsner, agreed to support the cause. The Victorian Society was founded at 18 Stafford Terrace in February 1958 with the aim of preserving Victorian and Edwardian architecture and encouraging research into the art and history of the period.


  • De La Haye, Amy; Taylor, Lou; Thompson, Eleanor (2005). A Family of Fashion: The Messels: Six Generations of Dress. Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0856676101. 
  • Robbins, Daniel; Suleman, Reena; Hunter, Pamela (2003). Linley Sambourne House: 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. ISBN 0-902242-20-2.