Anne Parsons, Countess of Rosse

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The Right Honourable
The Countess of Rosse
Personal details
Born Anne Messel
(1902-02-08)8 February 1902
Gloucester Terrace, Paddington, London, United Kingdom
Died 3 July 1992(1992-07-03) (aged 90)
Nymans, Sussex, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Ronald Armstrong-Jones
(m. 1925; div. 1934)

Michael Parsons, 6th Earl of Rosse
(m. 1935; d. 1979)
Children Susan Vesey, Viscountess Vesci
Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon
Brendan Parsons, 7th Earl of Rosse
Martin Parsons
Parents Leonard Messel
Maud Frances Sambourne
Occupation Socialite
Known for Founder of The Victorian Society

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. She married Ronald Armstrong-Jones on 22 July 1925 and they were divorced in 1934. They have two children, nine grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren:

  • Susan Anne Armstrong-Jones (12 February 1927 - May 1986) she married John Vesey, 6th Viscount de Vesci of Abbey Leix, on 20 May 1950. They have five children and eight grandchildren:
    • Hon. Emma Frances Vesey (17 March 1951) she married Norman Zalkind in 1986. They have one daughter:
      • Susan Zalkind (1987)
    • Hon. Catherine Anne Vesey (19 May 1953) she married Bruno Cretton in 1984. They have four children:
      • Matthew John Cretton (1985)
      • Cecily Anne Cretton (1986)
      • Alexis Pierre Cretton (1988)
      • Madeleine Cretton (1991)
    • Thomas Eustace Vesey, 7th Viscount de Vesci of Abbey Leix (8 October 1955) he married Sita-Maria Arabella de Breffny on 5 September 1987. They have three children:
      • Damian Brian John Vesey (1985)
      • Hon. Cosima Frances Vesey (1988)
      • Hon. Oliver Ivo Vesey (16 July 1991)
    • Hon. Georgina Mary Vesey (2 Sep 1963-14 March 1965)
  • Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon (7 March 1930 - 13 January 2017) he married Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon on 6 May 1960 and they were divorced on 5 July 1978. They had two children and four grandchildren. He remarried Lucy Davies on 21 July 1978 and were divorced in 2000. They had one daughter and three grandchildren. Also he had an illegitimate son with Melanie Cable-Alexander. Also he had an illegitimate daughter with Camilla Fry.

She remarried Michael Parsons, 6th Earl of Rosse on 19 September 1935. They have two sons, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren:

  • Brendan Parsons, 7th Earl of Rosse (21 October 1936) he married Alison Cooke-Hurle on 15 October 1966. They have three children and two grandchildren:
    • Lawrence Patrick Parsons, Lord Oxmantown (31 March 1969) he married Anna Lin Xiaojing in 2004. They have two children:
      • Hon. Olivia Rose Xuewei Parsons (8 January 2006)
      • Hon. William Charles Parsons (28 June 2008)
    • Lady Alicia Siobhan Margaret Nasreen Parsons (11 March 1971)
    • Hon. Michael John Finn Parsons (9 November 1981)
  • Hon. Desmond Oliver Martin Parsons (23 Dec 1938-16 July 2010) he married Aline Edwina Macdonald on 22 May 1965. They have two sons:
    • Rupert Alexander Michael Parsons (3 September 1966)
    • Desmond Edward Richard Parsons (30 October 1968)

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 Sir 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.

Title and styles[edit]

  • 8 February 1902 – 22 July 1925: Miss Anne Messel
  • 22 July 1925 – 1934: Mrs Ronald Armstrong-Jones
  • 1934 – 19 September 1935: Mrs Anne Armstrong-Jones
  • 19 September 1935 – 5 July 1979: The Right Honourable The Countess of Rosse
  • 5 July 1979 – 3 July 1992: The Right Honourable The Dowager Countess of Rosse