Dai Llewellyn

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Sir David St Vincent "Dai" Llewellyn, 4th Baronet (2 April 1946 – 13 January 2009), was a Welsh socialite and playboy.

Some people may call being a playboy a useless occupation, but I'm not so sure. I've not only had fun myself, but there has been fun for many others.[1]

Background[edit]

Llewellyn was born in Aberdare, the son of 1952 Summer Olympics gold medallist showjumper Sir Harry Llewellyn, 3rd Baronet, and the Hon Christine Saumarez, who was the daughter of the 5th Baron de Saumarez, from a family from Guernsey with British naval ties. Llewellyn's middle name, St Vincent, came from his great-grandfather James St Vincent Saumarez, 4th Baron de Saumarez,[2] and originally commemorated the friendship between James Saumarez, 1st Baron de Saumarez, and John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent.[3]

Personal history[edit]

Llewellyn grew up at the family homes of Gobion Manor and Llanfair Grange, both near Abergavenny, and was educated at Hawtreys Preparatory School and Eton College. He did not complete his time at Eton, being moved to Milton Abbey School. He then attended Aix-en-Provence University in southern France, and worked as a travel agent, journalist, male model and as the social secretary of the Clermont Club and the Dorchester club.[4]

Llewellyn was a Knight of the Order of Saint Lazarus (statuted 1910), a humanitarian charity, and in 1992 drove relief convoys in Yugoslavia.

A supporter of the United Kingdom Independence Party, he stood in the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007, as a candidate for the party in Cardiff North,[5] where he came last and polled 3.7% of the vote[6] However his drinking bouts, espousal of UKIP and anti-socialist behaviour earned disapproval in his native Wales for opposing the compulsory teaching of Welsh. Driven out for his "British" agenda he left his beloved homeland permanently for Mayfair, London.

Private life[edit]

Llewellyn married Vanessa Mary Theresa Hubbard in 1980. Driving to the ceremony he was happily swigging a bottle of champagne waving at passers-by. Born on 21 February 1958, Vanessa was a niece of the 17th Duke of Norfolk, with whom he had two daughters, actress Olivia Llewellyn (b. 1982) and Arabella (b. 1983). Despite marrying well, with a good pedigree, Sir Dai could not resist being a 'party animal' regularly bragging about his prowess with women.[7] A known lothario, Dirty Dai's many daily conquests of 'it girls' exposed a mischievous streak to an over-eager press corps. He once said, "Thirty years and I still can't undo a bra..." in a typically risque gibe at his audience, "I know what I want and so do they." Often dressed like a latter-day MFH, he frequented London's clubs quaffing obligatory magnums of champagne earning him the soubriquet "Conquistador of the Canape Circuit". He once told an old friend journalist Peter McKay over lunch that he had left his "secretary tied up in the bath."[8] In his heyday during the swinging sixties he was an habitual seducer and socialite of young women, touring the London clubs, and exotic aristocratic parties of the rich and famous into the seventies. Released from the duties and onerous tax burdens of their social status, many newly-impoverished titled bon viveurs 'let their hair down' to highly extravagant so-called charitable functions where old and new money mixed uneasily. The expression "like a dose of salts" regarding sexual antics is attributed to Llewelyn. From the Playboy Club Clermont Casino to Tokyo Joe's, Wedgies and Annabel's he took part in gambling, drinking and racing at Ascot.

Then in 1976 he stepped into a very public blazing row with his brother Roddy, when he exposed the affair with Princess Margaret to tabloid newspapers. The rift between them deepened, turning into lasting enmity, and it was only during Dai's last days at the hospice that they came to terms.

The couple divorced after seven years in 1987, and Vanessa then married John Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, and one of her children from this marriage is actress Gabriella Wilde. In 1999, Llewellyn inherited the Llewellyn baronetcy upon the death of his father, along with a home in Aberbeeg, near Abertillery.

His younger brother, Roddy Llewellyn, is a British landscape gardener and gardening journalist, who was at one time romantically involved with Princess Margaret. Llewellyn's relationship with his brother was soured when he published a lurid account of Roddy's relationship with Princess Margaret. Although Llewellyn later apologised, his brother found it difficult to forgive him, and later made disparaging comments regarding Llewellyn's then fiancée, Christel Jurgenson. The brothers fell out, with many of their comments aired in the tabloid press. In 2008, on the news of Llewellyn's failing health, the brothers finally reconciled.[9][10]

Although Dai Llewellyn died of bone cancer, he had already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and severe anaemia, the disease had spread, which he himself admitted.[11] His last affair was with a widow and old friend, Ingrid Seward who was with him when he died, aged 62, on 13 January 2009, at Edenbridge and District War Memorial Hospital in Kent.[12] His funeral was held at St Mary's Church, Coddenham, near Ipswich.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/pain-dying-sir-dai-llewellyn-2141490 dated 28 March 2013, retrieved 21 August 2016.
  2. ^ Burke's Peerage, vol. 2 (2003), p. 2370.
  3. ^ "Sir Dai Llewellyn, Bt: playboy and bon vivant". The Times. London. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  4. ^ Wales News online, http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/sir-dai-llewellyn--obituary-2129183 dated 28 March 2013, retrieved 21 August 2016.
  5. ^ Sir Dai says: Wales, vote for me - icWales
  6. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/sir-dai-llewellyn--obituary-2129183
  7. ^ Independent 15 January 2009, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/dai-llewellyn-the-ultimate-playboy-1366717.html, retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 14 January 2009, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/4231516/Sir-Dai-Llewellyn.html., retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ Llewellyn, Dai (13 September 2008). "Doctors told man-about-town Dai Llewellyn give up the drink or die". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Sir Dai Llewellyn". The Daily Telegraph. London. 14 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Wales News Online, dated 28 March 2013, retrieved 21 August 2016, http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/pain-dying-sir-dai-llewellyn-2141490
  12. ^ Burgess, Kaya (14 January 2009). "Sir Dai Llewellyn dies aged 62". The Times. London. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  13. ^ Kay, Richard (22 January 2009). "Sarah Ferguson joins Dai Llewellyn's grieving daughters at funeral of famed bon viveur". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harry Llewellyn
Llewellyn baronets of Bwlffa
1999–2009
Succeeded by
Roddy Llewellyn