Irene Astor, Baroness Astor of Hever

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Irene Astor, Lady Astor of Hever
Irene Astor.jpg
Born (1919-10-07)7 October 1919
Died 12 August 2001(2001-08-12) (aged 81)
Spouse(s) Gavin Astor, 2nd Baron Astor of Hever
(1945–1984; his death)
Children
  • John Jacob Astor VIII
  • Bridget Mary Astor
  • Elizabeth Louise Astor
  • Sarah Violet Astor
  • Philip Douglas Paul Astor
Parent(s) Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig
Dorothy Maud Vivian
Relatives Hussey Vivian, 3rd Baron Vivian (maternal grandfather)
George Haig, 2nd Earl Haig (brother)

Irene Astor, Baroness Astor of Hever (7 October 1919 – 12 August 2001) was an English philanthropist and member of the Astor family.[1] Her philanthropic contributions included being chairman of the Sunshine Fund for Blind Children from 1947 to 1989, during which she raised over £14 million and she served as vice president of the Royal National Institute for the Blind from 1977 to her death in 2001.

Biography[edit]

Lady Astor was born Lady Irene Violet Freesia Janet Augusta Haig on 7 October 1919 (in fact, her father was created Earl Haig when she was 12 days old), the youngest of four children of military officer Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig (1861–1928), and Dorothy Maud Vivian (1879–1939). Her brother was George Haig, 2nd Earl Haig (1918–2009).[1]

During World War II she worked for the Red Cross and was also involved in the Girls' Training Corps.[1]

She married Gavin Astor, later the 2nd Baron Astor of Hever, eldest son of John Jacob Astor, 1st Baron Astor of Hever (1886–1971), and Violet Mary Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound (1889–1965) on 4 October 1945. She became Lady Astor of Hever when her husband succeeded to the barony on the death of his father in 1971.[2] They had five children.

Irene was chairman of the Sunshine Fund for Blind Children from 1947 to 1989. She raised over £14 million as chairman.[1] From 1977 until her death, she served as vice president of the Royal National Institute for the Blind.[3]

She died on 12 August 2001.[1]

Family[edit]

She and her husband had five children:

  • John Jacob "Johnny" Astor VIII (born 16 June 1946) married twice; three daughters from first marriage, two children from second marriage
  • Bridget Mary Astor (born 16 February 1948) married twice; two sons from first marriage, one daughter from second marriage.
  • Elizabeth Louise Astor (born 1 March 1951) married twice; two children from second marriage.
  • Sarah Violet Astor (born 30 September 1953) married George Edward Lopes and has three children. Their son Harry Marcus George Lopes is married to Laura Rose Parker Bowles, daughter of Andrew Henry Parker Bowles and Camilla Shand.
  • Philip Douglas Paul Astor (born 4 April 1959).[2]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Irene Lady Astor of Hever". The Daily Telegraph. 14 August 2001. Retrieved 2014-07-28. Irene Lady Astor of Hever, who has died aged 81, was the widow of the second Baron Astor of Hever - the former proprietor of The Times - and the daughter of Field Marshal Earl Haig, who commanded the British Army during the 1914-18 war; she was also a central figure in the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) and worked hard for a large number of charities, including the Red Cross and Royal National Institute for the Blind. 
  2. ^ a b Irene Astor, peerage.com, accessed June 2009.
  3. ^ "Lady Astor". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 14 August 2001.