Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Glenconner
Lord Glenconner and Stefan Szczesny in front of Glenconner's statue at Mustique
|Born||1 December 1926|
|Died||27 August 2010(aged 83)|
|Tenure||c. 1983 – 27 August 2010|
|Other titles||4th Baronet (Tennant Baronetcy)|
|Successor||Cody Tennant, 4th Baron Glenconner (grandson of Colin Tennant)|
|Spouse(s)||Lady Anne Coke|
|Issue||Hon. Charles Edward Pevensey Tennant
Hon. Henry Lovell Tennant
Hon. Christopher Cary Tennant
Hon. Flora Tennant
Hon. Amy Tennant
|Parents||Grey Tennant, 2nd Baron Glenconner
Pamela Winefred Paget
Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner (1 December 1926 – 27 August 2010) was a Scottish 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 brother of novelist Emma Tennant.
Before succeeding to the peerage, he had travelled widely, especially in India and the West Indies. He was a close friend of Princess Margaret, to whom his wife was a lady-in-waiting, and an avid socialite. In 1958, he purchased the island of Mustique in The Grenadines for £45,000.
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.
After the war he went up to New College, Oxford: "I read Diplomatic History from 1898 to 1904. It was not very helpful." 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.
After graduating, he worked for the family firm, C. Tennant, Sons & Co. in London and, at the same time, began to attract the attention of the gossip columns as Princess Margaret's escort. 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 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.
In 1956, Tennant married Lady Anne Coke, by whom he later had three sons and twin daughters. Lady Anne was 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, and was also a friend of the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret.
It was as a guest at their wedding, Princess Margaret met Tony Armstrong-Jones (later her husband), who was hired to take wedding pictures.
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 rang the "Bang Between the Pitons" restaurant (now sold to the adjacent Jalousie Plantation hotel). In 2000, a documentary by Joseph Bullman was made about Lord Glenconner, entitled The Man Who Bought Mustique. It chronicled Glenconner's first visit to Mustique since his exile.
In 1963, his father, the 2nd Baron Glenconner, sold the family's merchanting business, C. Tennant & Sons, 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. 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.
Family and inheritance
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." Tennant later hosted a family party to welcome and introduce Joshua Bowler to the Glenconner clan, and announced his intention to recognise him in his will.
The Lord and Lady Glenconner had five children:
- Hon. Charles Edward Pevensey Tennant (15 February 1957 – 1996; his son Cody Tennant became the next baron)
- Hon. Henry Lovell Tennant (21 February 1960–1990), married Teresa "Tessa" Cormack; their son, Euan Lovell Tennant, is the current heir presumptive to the barony.
- Hon. Christopher Cary Tennant (born 1967)
- Hon. Flora May Tennant (born 1970), a god-daughter of Princess Margaret.
- Hon. Amy Tennant (born 1970)
- "Colin Christopher Paget Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner". The Peerage. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "The History of Mustique". mustique-island.com. The Mustique Company. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "Lord Glenconner". The Telegraph (London, UK). 29 August 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- [S37] Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
- Barker, Dennis (29 August 2010). "Lord Glenconner". The Guardian (London, UK: guardian.co.uk). Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Oliver, Sarah (17 May 2013). "'We were the Queen's Coronation Spice Girls!': A disastrous perm, fainting fits and nightclubbing with Arab sheiks". Daily Mail (London).
- Driscoll, Margarette (10 January 2010). "Joshua Bowler: the daddy of all Mustique secrets". Times (London, UK).
- "Glenconner parties with his lovechild". Daily Mail (London, UK). 20 July 2010.
- Walker, Tim (29 August 2010). "Glenconner recognises his illegitimate son Joshua in his will". Daily Telegraph (London, UK).
- Tim Willis "The final days of London bohemian Henry Tennant", Evening Standard, 23 February 2011
- "Glenconner, Baron (UK, 1911), cracroftspeerage.co.uk; accessed 30 March 2016.
- Colin Tennant interview, Daily Mail, 27 December 2009
- Cotton House Hotel on Mustique
- Beau Estate
- The Man Who Bought Mustique
- The Mustique Company
- Firefly Hotel on Mustique
- St. Lucia Calling
- Stefan Szczesny
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|