Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner

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The Lord Glenconner
Stefan Szczesny and Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner.jpg
Lord Glenconner. with sculptor Stefan Szczesny. in front of Glenconner's statue on Mustique
Born(1926-12-01)1 December 1926
Died27 August 2010(2010-08-27) (aged 83)
Tenure4 October 1983 – 27 August 2010
Other titles4th Baronet (Tennant Baronetcy)
Spouse(s)
Lady Anne Coke (m. 1956)
IssueHon. Charles Edward Pevensey Tennant
Hon. Henry Lovell Tennant
Hon. Christopher Cary Tennant
Hon. Flora Creasy
Hon. Amy Tennant
ParentsGrey Tennant, 2nd Baron Glenconner
Pamela Winefred Paget
Successor
Cody Tennant, 4th Baron Glenconner (grandson of Colin Tennant)
Arms of Tennant: Argent, two crescents in fess sable on a chief gules a boar's head couped of the first[1]

Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner (1 December 1926[2] – 27 August 2010), was a British aristocrat. He was the son of Christopher Grey Tennant, 2nd Baron Glenconner, and Pamela Winefred Paget. He was also the nephew of Edward Wyndham Tennant and Stephen Tennant, and the half-brother of the novelist Emma Tennant.

Before succeeding to the peerage in 1983, he had travelled widely, especially in India and the West Indies. He was an avid socialite and a close friend of Princess Margaret, to whom his wife was a lady-in-waiting. In 1958, he purchased the island of Mustique in The Grenadines for £45,000.[3]

Early life[edit]

Colin Tennant was born on 1 December 1926, the son of the second Baron Glenconner. His mother Pamela was the daughter of Sir Richard Paget, 2nd Baronet. After his parents divorced in 1935, he was educated at Eton College; but, for years, Tennant rarely saw his father. Holidays from Eton were spent with his maternal grandmother, Muriel Paget, a formidable grande dame who had diverted a train from the Crimea to Siberia in World War I to save the lives of 70 British nannies.[citation needed]

After finishing his schooling at Eton, Tennant enlisted in the Irish Guards, serving during the tail end of World War II[4] and attaining the rank of lieutenant.[5]

After the war he went up to New College, Oxford. At Oxford, he gained a reputation for being "terribly kind to plain girls with nice manners and extremely waspish to pretty ones with nasty manners".[4]

After graduating, he worked for the family's merchanting business, C. Tennant, Sons & Co, and at the same time, began to attract the attention of the gossip columns as Princess Margaret's escort.[4] During the early 1950s, he was often involved in amateur dramatics; in 1953, he took part, with Princess Margaret, in a production for charity of an Edgar Wallace play, The Frog; Tennant played the title role (a serial killer) and the Princess was Assistant Stage Director.

It was during this period that Tennant was spotted as a possible husband for Princess Margaret, who had been publicly hurt by the collapse of her hopes of marrying the divorced commoner Group Captain Peter Townsend[6] during 1953. During the following year, he was forced to deny newspaper reports that he would shortly announce his engagement to the Princess. "I don't expect she would have had me," he was quoted as saying, in later years.[4] Princess Margaret met future husband Tony Armstrong-Jones, who was hired to take wedding pictures at Tennant's 1956 wedding to Lady Anne Coke.

Mustique[edit]

After purchasing the Caribbean island of Mustique in 1958, Tennant built a new village for its inhabitants, planted coconut palms, vegetables, and fruit, and developed the fisheries.

In 1960 the British royal yacht Britannia carried Princess Margaret and her new husband, now Lord Snowdon, on a honeymoon cruise around the Caribbean. The royal couple visited Mustique to accept a wedding gift from Tennant, a plot of land on which the Princess was to build her holiday retreat, Les Jolies Eaux.

The cost of running Mustique depleted Glenconner's family fortune, and he was obliged to take on business partners. Eventually, he went into exile on St. Lucia, where for many years he ran the "Bang Between the Pitons" restaurant (now sold to the adjacent Jalousie Plantation hotel). Glenconner and his involvement in Mustique has been the subject of multiple documentaries. In 1971, he was interviewed by Alan Whicker for an episode of Whicker's World set on the island. In 2000, a documentary by Joseph Bullman was made, entitled The Man Who Bought Mustique. It chronicled Glenconner's first visit to Mustique since his exile.[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

In 1963, his father, the 2nd Baron Glenconner, sold the family business to Consolidated Goldfields, and Tennant suddenly inherited £1 million. At first father and son were retained as chairman and deputy chairman, but after his father's retirement in 1967, Tennant failed to become chairman and resigned.[4] Over the years the Tennants became significant landowners as well as industrialists. Part of their land was in the West Indies, including a neglected 15,000 acres in Trinidad.[6]

Family and inheritance[edit]

Anne Tennant, Baroness Glenconner, in 1950.

On 21 April 1956, Tennant married Lady Anne Veronica Coke. Lady Anne is the daughter of Thomas Coke, 5th Earl of Leicester. Lady Anne had been one of Queen Elizabeth II's Maids of Honour at the 1953 coronation,[7] and was also a close friend and lady-in-waiting of the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret.[8]

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

  1. Hon. Charles Edward Pevensey Tennant (15 February 1957 – 19 October 1996). He married Sheilagh Scott in 1993. He became a heroin addict and died of Hepatitis C.[9] His son Cody Charles Edward Tennant (born 2 February 1994) became the 4th baron.
  2. Hon. Henry Lovell Tennant (21 February 1960 – 1990; died of AIDS[9][10]), married 1983 Teresa Cormack;[11] their son, Euan Lovell Tennant (born 22 July 1980), is the current heir presumptive to the barony.[12] Euan is married to Helen Tennant.[13]
  3. Hon. Christopher Cary Tennant (born 25 April 1968). He suffered severe brain damage in a motorcycle accident in 1987.[10] He married Anastasia Papadakos in 1996, divorced. They have daughters Bella Tennant (b. 1997) and Demetra Tennant (b. 2000). Married secondly Johanna Lissack Hurn on 11 February 2011.[14][15]
  4. Hon. Flora May Tennant (born 8 November 1970), a god-daughter of Princess Margaret. She married 18 April 2005[16] Anton Ronald Noah Creasy. They have daughter Honor Rose Creasy (b. 2006).
  5. Hon. Amy Tennant (born 8 November 1970).[17] No issue.

Colin Tennant inherited the peerage title and the Tennant baronetcy, along with the family's Scottish estate of The Glen, in 1983, on the death of his father. The couple came to divide their time between their house on St. Lucia and their home in England. Together with his daughter May and her husband Anton, Glenconner began to develop the Beau Estate property between the Pitons. As his eldest son, the Hon. Charles Edward Pevensey Tennant (1957–1996), predeceased him, Glenconner was succeeded by his grandson, Cody Charles Edward Tennant (born 2 February 1994).

In December 2009, Tennant, then aged 83, learned that he was also father to London psychotherapist Joshua Bowler. Bowler's mother, the artists' model and bohemian Henrietta Moraes, had become pregnant following a weekend spent with Tennant after the New Year's Eve 1954 Chelsea Arts Club Ball. However, she never told Tennant about the pregnancy, and married the actor Norman Bowler seven months later; the couple divorced two and a half years after that. After Moraes' death in 1999, Bowler decided to investigate his parentage and wrote to Tennant after a mutual friend recalled seeing the young Tennant and Moraes leave the 1954 ball together. A paternity test revealed that Tennant was indeed Bowler's father, news that Tennant looked upon as "quite magical."[18] Tennant later announced his intention to recognise him in his will.[19]

In popular culture[edit]

Colin Tennant is portrayed by Pip Carter in the Netflix television series The Crown.[20] Anne is played by Nancy Carroll.[8] Colin is portrayed by Jonathan Hansler in the television film The Queen's Sister (2005).

In 2019, Lady Anne's memoir Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, was published by Hodder & Stoughton. "I married all of my husband," she writes. "Colin could be charming, angry, endearing, hilariously funny, manipulative, vulnerable, intelligent, spoilt, insightful and fun."[21][8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Montague-Smith, P. W., ed. (1968). "Baron Glenconner". Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage. Kingston-upon-Thames: Kelly's Directories Ltd. p. 488.
  2. ^ "Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner". The Peerage. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  3. ^ "The History of Mustique". The Mustique Company. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Lord Glenconner". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  5. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd.
  6. ^ a b Barker, Dennis (29 August 2010). "Lord Glenconner". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  7. ^ Demoskoff, Yvonne. "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page > Queen Elizabeth II's ladies-in-waiting at her coronation, 1953". Yvonne Demoskoff. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
  8. ^ a b c 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.
  9. ^ a b Blow, Simon (25 October 2012). "How to blow £100 million". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Courage of addicted aristocrat praised at funeral". The Herald. Glasgow. 30 October 1996. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  11. ^ Willis, Tim (23 February 2011). "The final days of London bohemian Henry Tennant". Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Glenconner, Baron (UK, 1911)". Cracrofts Peerage. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Diary". Glen House. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Hon. Christopher Cary Tennant". ThePeerage.com. 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. ^ "Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner". ThePeerage.com. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  18. ^ Driscoll, Margarette (10 January 2010). "Joshua Bowler: the daddy of all Mustique secrets". The Times. London, UK.
  19. ^ Walker, Tim (29 August 2010). "Glenconner recognises his illegitimate son Joshua in his will". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK.
  20. ^ "Pip Carter". IMDb.
  21. ^ 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)

External links[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Christopher Tennant
Baron Glenconner
1983–2010
Succeeded by
Cody Tennant