Loelia Lindsay

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The Duchess of Westminster, by Glyn Philpot
Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, by William Acton

Loelia Mary, Lady Lindsay of Dowhill,[1] née Ponsonby (6 February 1902 – 1 November 1993), was a British peeress, needlewoman and magazine editor.

Family and first marriage[edit]

Lindsay was the only daughter of the courtier Sir Frederick Ponsonby, later 1st Baron Sysonby, and Victoria Lily (Kennard), Lady Sysonby, the well-known cookbook author. She spent her early years at St James's Palace, Park House at Sandringham, and Birkhall. One of the Bright Young People, she met the twice-divorced Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster. They were married on 20 February 1930 in a blaze of publicity, with Winston Churchill as the best man, but were unable to have children.[2] Her marriage to the enormously wealthy peer failed, and was described by James Lees-Milne as "a definition of unadulterated hell". It was dissolved in 1947 after years of separation.[3]

Life after divorce[edit]

After her divorce, Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, established herself as a skillful hostess at Send, Surrey, occupying herself with needlework and gardening, passions she had inherited from her mother.[3][4] Her needlework collection was bequeathed to the National Trust. During the 1950s she worked as a feature editor for House & Garden magazine, and covered the wedding of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly.[3]

Lindsay is believed to have popularised the aphorism (falsely attributed to Margaret Thatcher): "Anybody seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life", which appears to have been coined by poet Brian Howard.[5]

Lindsay's second marriage, to the divorced explorer Sir Martin Lindsay, 1st Baronet, came as a surprise to her friends[4] but was much more successful.[3] The couple were married on 1 August 1969. Sir Martin, a devoted husband,[4] died in 1981, and Lady Lindsay chose to spend her last years in nursing homes. Her memoirs, written in 1961 and titled Grace and Favour: The Memoirs of Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, are a significant record of aristocratic life between the First and Second World Wars.[3]


  1. ^ "Loelia" rhymes with "Delia"
  2. ^ Anne Duchess of Westminster
  3. ^ a b c d e Lady Lindsay of Dowhill
  4. ^ a b c Loelia Lindsay
  5. ^ Panjwani, Abbas (2019-04-26). "Did Margaret Thatcher say bus users over the age of 25 were failures?". Full Fact. Retrieved 2020-04-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Further reading[edit]