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Daška Marija Ivanović-Banac Kennedy McLean (26 January 1915 – 2004) was a British woman of Serbian and Croatian descent who made headlines in Europe and America when she made her 18-year-old daughter a ward of the court in the U.K. after she eloped with her fiancé in 1957.
Life and career
Ivanović (pronounced "Ivanovich") was born in Osijek, Austria-Hungary (present-day Croatia) on 26 January 1915, the daughter of Dr. Ivan Rikard Ivanović, one of the founders of the National Progressive Party (NNS) and a deputy in Croatia's Sabor (Assembly), who had helped to form the state in 1918. Dr. Ivanović's parents were of Jewish descent but converted to Catholicism. Daška's mother, Milica Popović, was a sister of Dušan Popović, a leading Serb politician in the ruling Croato-Serb Coalition. When her mother remarried, to Croatian shipping tycoon Božidar "Božo" Banac (pronounced "Banats"), her children adopted the surname Ivanović-Banac. Her brother, Vane Ivanović, was the Consul General of Monaco. As a young woman she was considered to be one of the loveliest of Yugoslavia's society girls and was known locally as "The Pearl of Dubrovnik."
Her first husband was Geoffrey Alexander Farrer Kennedy (30 October 1908 – 21 September 1996) whom she married in 1938 and with whom she had three daughters (two twins) and one son. Geoffrey Kennedy came from a leading family of civil and electrical engineers and was the son of Sir John Macfarlane Kennedy, and grandson of Sir Alexander Blackie William Kennedy. The marriage ended in divorce after a decade. Daška married her second husband, Lt. Col. Neil McLean, DSO on 14 November 1949 in Rome, Italy. Colonel "Billy" McLean was a distinguished war hero, having directed guerilla-warfare behind enemy lines in Albania as one of several teams parachuted in by SOE. At the end of the war he served in the Consulate in Sinkiang in China for a while as military adviser before joining MI6 to work on operations against Enver Hoxha. In 1954 he became the MP for Inverness, which he represented for a decade. He died in 1986.
In 1957, one of her daughters from her first marriage, Tessa, became a cause célèbre when, against her parents' wishes, she eloped with society portrait-painter Dominick Elwes, son of Simon Elwes, a favourite artist of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. McLean and Farrer Kennedy, her ex-husband, immediately instituted proceedings to have Elwes arrested and their daughter made a ward of court. Daška McLean was widowed in 1986 and died in London, England in 2004 at age 89.