Anne Tennant, Baroness Glenconner

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The Lady Glenconner

BornAnne Veronica Coke
(1932-07-16) 16 July 1932 (age 90)
London, England
Spouse(s)
(m. 1956; died 2010)
Issue
  • Hon. Charles Tennant
  • Hon. Henry Tennant
  • Hon. Christopher Tennant
  • Hon. Flora Creasy
  • Hon. Amy Tennant
Parents

Anne Veronica Tennant, Baroness Glenconner LVO (née Coke; born 16 July 1932) is a British peeress and socialite. The daughter of the 5th Earl of Leicester, Lady Glenconner served as a maid of honour at the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, and was extra lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II's sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, from 1971 until the Princess died in 2002.[1] Her 2019 memoir, Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, was a New York Times Best Seller.

Early life[edit]

Lady Glenconner was born Anne Veronica Coke (pronounced "Cook") in London on 16 July 1932. Her parents were The Hon. Thomas Coke and his wife Lady Elizabeth (née Yorke), the son and daughter of the then-Thomas Coke, Viscount Coke and Charles Yorke, 8th Earl of Hardwicke, respectively. Lady Glenconner's great-grandfather, Thomas Coke, 3rd Earl of Leicester, died in 1941, making her grandfather the 4th Earl of Leicester and her father Viscount Coke. A few years later in 1949, her grandfather died, and her father became 5th Earl of Leicester. Lady Glenconner had two younger sisters, Carey (1934–2018) and Sarah (born 1944). Their father was equerry to George VI[2] from 1932 to 1952.

Lady Glenconner was primarily raised at her family's estate, Holkham Hall in Norfolk.[1] During the Second World War, she and her sister Carey stayed at Cortachy Castle with their paternal great-aunt Alexandra, Countess of Airlie, their aunt's husband David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie, and the Airlies' children (including David and Angus).[3]

As the King and Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham House was less than 20 miles from Holkham, Lady Glenconner was a regular playmate of the young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.[4] The King and Queen were friends with Lady Glenconner's parents, and the family was often invited to Christmas parties at Buckingham Palace with the royal family.[5]

In 1950, at the age of 18, she was formally presented at court, and was made 'debutante of the year' by Tatler. In 1953, Lady Glenconner was selected to be one of the maids of honour at the coronation of Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.[3][1] She was engaged to Johnnie Althorp, later father to Diana, Princess of Wales; his father objected to the match on the grounds of "mad blood", a reference to her Trefusis ancestry which was shared by institutionalised relatives of the queen, and the engagement was broken off. (Much later, the director of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute[6] thought that a genetic disease in the Hepburn-Stuart-Forbes-Trefusis family (i.e. of Anne's paternal grandmother)[7] may have killed male members of the family in early childhood and caused learning disabilities in females.[8])

Marriage and children[edit]

On 21 April 1956 at St Withburga's Church, Holkham, Lady Glenconner married the Hon. Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, son of the 2nd Baron Glenconner.[1] The guests included Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret; the Princess's future husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, was the wedding photographer.[3]

Lord and Lady Glenconner had five children, three sons and twin daughters:

  1. The Hon. Charles Edward Pevensey Tennant (15 February 1957 – 19 October 1996). He was a heroin addict for many years, but recovered with the help of Sheilagh Scott whom he later married in 1993.[9][1] His son, Cody Charles Edward Tennant (born 2 February 1994), became the 4th Baron Glenconner in 2010. Charles died of Hepatitis C in October 1996.
  2. The Hon. Henry Lovell Tennant (21 February 1960 – 1 January 1990). He married Teresa Cormack in 1983.[10] He died from AIDS.[9][11] His son, Euan Lovell Tennant (born 1983)[12] is the current heir presumptive to the barony.[13] Euan is married to Helen Tennant.[14] They have two children.
  3. The Hon. Christopher Cary Tennant (born 25 April 1968). He suffered severe brain damage in a motorcycle accident in 1987.[11] He married Anastasia Papadakos in 1996, divorced. They have two children. Married secondly Johanna Lissack Hurn on 11 February 2011.[15]
  4. The Hon. Flora May Pamela Tennant (8 November 1970), a god-daughter of Princess Margaret. She married on 18 April 2005[16] to Anton Ronald Noah Creasy. They have two children.
  5. The Hon. Amy Jasmine Elizabeth Tennant (8 November 1970). No issue.

Lady Glenconner's husband acceded to the title of Baron Glenconner on his father's death on 4 October 1983, having already inherited the family's estate in the Scottish Borders, The Glen. Lord and Lady Glenconner divided their time between Mustique, St Lucia, and the United Kingdom.

Lord and Lady Glenconner were married for 54 years until Lord Glenconner's death in 2010. She now resides in King's Lynn, Norfolk.[3] When Lord Glenconner died in 2010, it was revealed that he had made a new will shortly before his death leaving all of his assets to an employee, Kent Adonai. The family contested this will, and after a legal battle that lasted several years the estate was divided between Adonai and Cody Charles Edward Tennant, the fourth Lord Glenconner.[17][3][18]

Friendship with Princess Margaret[edit]

When Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, Lady Glenconner and her husband offered them a piece of land on their privately owned island, Mustique, which Lord Glenconner had bought in 1958 for £45,000.[19] They also agreed to build a house for the couple on the land. It was designed in 1971 by the leading stage designer and uncle to Lord Snowdon, Oliver Messel, and subsequently named "Les Jolies Eaux" (French: "The pretty waters").[3] Messel also designed other properties on the island.

In 1971, Lady Glenconner entered into the Princess's service as her Extra Lady-in-Waiting. Lady Glenconner was a lady-in-waiting until Princess Margaret died in 2002 at the age of 71. Over the course of her service, she accompanied the Princess on many tours abroad to destinations including the United States, Australia and Hong Kong; once, she stood in for the Princess on a trip to the Philippines to meet with Imelda Marcos, after the Princess became ill with pneumonia.[3] Princess Margaret would visit Lady Glenconner at her Norfolk home, where she would sometimes help by laying the fire or washing the car.[20]

It was Lady Glenconner and her husband who introduced Princess Margaret to Roddy Llewellyn, who began a relationship to the then-still married Princess in 1973, when he was 25 and she 43.[21] The much publicised eight-year relationship was a factor in the dissolution of the Princess's marriage to Lord Snowdon.[22]

Speaking in the 2018 documentary Elizabeth: Our Queen, Lady Glenconner said the Queen discussed Llewellyn with her after Princess Margaret's funeral in 2002. She offered Lady Glenconner thanks for having introduced her sister to Roddy, because "he made her really happy".[23][24]

For her personal service rendered to the Royal Family, Lady Glenconner was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1991 Birthday Honours.

In 2019, Lady Glenconner's memoir Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, was published by Hodder & Stoughton. Speaking on her reason for publishing the book, she said: "I was so fed up with people writing such horrible things about Princess Margaret."[25][26] In particular, she described Craig Brown's Ma'am Darling as "that horrible book, we won't mention the name of the somebody who wrote it. I don't know why people want to rot her like that."[2]

Awards and honours[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

UK Royal Victorian Order ribbon.svg Royal Victorian Order (Lieutenant) 14 June 1991

In popular culture[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown. London: Hodder & Stoughton 2019. ISBN 1529359066
  • Murder on Mustique. London: Hodder & Stoughton 2020. ISBN 1529336341
  • A Haunting at Holkham. London: Hodder & Stoughton 2020. ISBN 1529336406
  • Whatever Next?: Lessons from an Unexpected Life. London: Hodder & Stoughton 2022. ISBN 1529395763

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Cooke, Rachel (24 November 2019). "Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner review – fascinating portrait of English repression". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b Freeman, Hadley (20 March 2020). "'I'm no snowflake': Anne Glenconner on Margaret, marriage and Meghan Markle". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Glenconner, Anne (17 October 2019). Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-1529359060.
  4. ^ Bishop, Chris. "Lifelong friend recalls Norfolk childhood with Elizabeth II". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  5. ^ Briggs, Stacia (10 November 2019). "'We were convinced he was coming to Holkham' - Lady Glenconner on why she and her sister plotted to kill Hitler". edp24.co.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  6. ^ "The History of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Archived 11 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine" website, retrieved 14 November 2011.
  7. ^ Coke, Hope (19 November 2020). "Behind The Crown: The true story of the Queen's cousins, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon". Tatler. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  8. ^ "Bowes-Lyon Retardation Gene May Have Killed Males‎", The Age, 9 April 1987.
  9. ^ a b Blow, Simon (25 October 2012). "How to blow £100 million". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  10. ^ Willis, Tim (23 February 2011). "The final days of London bohemian Henry Tennant". Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Courage of addicted aristocrat praised at funeral". The Herald. Glasgow. 30 October 1996. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Tessa Tennant obituary". The Times. 23 July 2018. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 5 August 2018. [The couple] married on Mustique in 1983. Soon afterwards their son, Euan, who became an electrician, was born. (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Glenconner, Baron (UK, 1911)". Cracrofts Peerage. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Diary". Glen House. 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  15. ^ "The Hon Christopher Tennant and Mrs J. Lissack - Marriages Announcements". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Lavish society wedding for May Tennant". Hello!. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  17. ^ "In the end it took seven years to resolve. While Kent kept a huge amount of land and money, about half of Colin’s estate was handed to Cody." Glenconner, Anne, Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown.
  18. ^ "St. Lucian wins slice of multi-million-pound fortune after long legal battle - St. Lucia News Online". Archived from the original on 18 July 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Our History | Mustique". Mustique-island.com. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  20. ^ Jenkins, David (2 June 2020). "Portrait of a Lady: Lady Anne Glenconner on her Extraordinary Life". Tatler.
  21. ^ Caroline Davies (11 February 2002). "I followed my heart, says Llewellyn". Daily Telegraph.
  22. ^ "Margaret: Unlucky in love", bbc.co.uk, 9 February 2002.
  23. ^ Hallemann, Caroline (24 November 2019). "Princess Margaret's Relationship with Roddy Llewellyn, in Photos". Town & Country.
  24. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II Was Reportedly Glad Princess Margaret Met Roddy Llewellyn". Oprah Magazine. 22 November 2019.
  25. ^ Davenport-Hines, Richard (18 October 2019). "Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner review — Princess Margaret, Mustique and me". The Times. Retrieved 21 November 2019. (subscription required)
  26. ^ Sampson, Annabel (15 October 2019). "Lady Anne Glenconner's memoir reveals her as the ultimate in royal companions". Tatler. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019.