Dame Daphne Winkworth is a recurring fictional character from the Blandings Castle and Jeeves stories of English comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, being a menacing and scowling woman who is rarely seen to smile. She is an intimate acquaintance of Bertie Wooster's Aunt Agatha, another old harridan character. She is the widow of Sir P. B. Winkworth, the noted historian. She has also been a guest at Blandings Castle, making her, along with Roderick Glossop, one of the links between the worlds of Jeeves and Lord Emsworth. She used to be the headmistress of a girls' school in Eastbourne prior to retirement.
Dame Daphne's seat is at Deverill Hall, Hampshire, a large Tudor Manor which has been at its present location in the village of Kings Deverill for longer than anyone can really remember. She lives with her four sisters, all of whom have never been married and have spent their entire lives within the walls of Deverill Hall. They are: Emmeline (the serious one), Myrtle (the artistic one), Charlotte (the deaf one), and Harriet (the masculine one). Dame Daphne, however, is the widow of noted historian Sir P. B. Winkworth, though she wouldn't discuss the subject. She has a daughter, Gertrude Winkworth, who was engaged to Drones Club member and actor Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright with the complete disapprobation of Dame Daphne during The Mating Season, and a son, Huxley, who appears in the Blandings Castle series with his mother. Dame Daphne and Aunt Agatha once arranged for Bertie to marry Gertrude, a proposal against which Bertie protested vehemently, on the grounds that when in company they would be known unflatteringly as Bertie and Gertie. The proposal didn't go ahead, because Gertrude fell in love with Gussie Fink-Nottle, who at the time was engaged to Madeline Bassett.
Bertie has been to stay with Dame Daphne on a number of occasions, though perhaps the most notable of these was when he had to take Gussie's place there after Gussie was arrested for a breach of the peace by swimming in the fountains at Trafalgar Square. Gussie had been summoned for inspection by Dame Daphne, for she was Madeline's godmother, to ensure he was suitable marriage material. However, things went to pot when Aunt Agatha came down to stay and the plot was uncovered. Bertie was packed off back to London in disgrace.
Dame Daphne was featured in one episode of the 1990-1993 British TV series Jeeves and Wooster adapting The Mating Season (episode #15 "Right Ho! Jeeves", fourth of season three, aired 19 April 1992 in the UK), played by Rosalind Knight.
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Dame Daphne is featured in:
- The Mating Season (1949) – Jeeves novel
- Galahad at Blandings (1965) – Blandings novel
- Sunset at Blandings (1977) – Blandings novel
- Sources consulted
- Kuzmenko, Michel (The Russian Wodehouse Society) (2007-03-22). "Wodehouse books". Bibliography. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- Reggie (2007-03-16). "Wodehouse Who's Who: Dame Daphne and Gertrude Winkworth". Blandings, a Companion to the Works of P. G. Wodehouse. Archived from the original on 2007-07-24.