Mabell Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie

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The Right Honourable

The Countess of Airlie

Mabell Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie.png
Portrait by Philip de László, 1933
Mabell Frances Elizabeth Gore

(1866-03-10)10 March 1866
Died7 April 1956(1956-04-07) (aged 90)
Paddington, London
OccupationLady of the Bedchamber of Queen Mary
Spouse(s)David Ogilvy, 11th Earl of Airlie
ChildrenLady Kitty Ogilvy
Lady Helen Ogilvy
Lady Mabell Ogilvy
David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie
Hon. Bruce Ogilvy
Hon. Patrick Ogilvy
Parent(s)Arthur Gore, 5th Earl of Arran
Hon. Edith Jocelyn

Mabell Frances Elizabeth Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie, GCVO, GBE, DStJ (née Gore; 10 March 1866 – 7 April 1956) was a British courtier and author.

Early life[edit]

She was born the eldest daughter of Arthur Gore, Viscount Sudley and his wife, Edith, daughter of Robert Jocelyn, Viscount Jocelyn. Her mother died in 1871 and she and her sisters, Cicely and Esther, were raised by their maternal grandmother, Lady Jocelyn. The sisters were educated by governesses and made visits to the Duchess of Teck at White Lodge, where Mabell Gore met and befriended the Duchess's daughter, Princess May (later Queen Mary). When her grandfather, Philip Gore, 4th Earl of Arran died in 1884 and her father inherited the former's titles, she and her sisters were entitled to the nominal prefix of Lady.[citation needed]


On 19 January 1886, she married an army officer, David Ogilvy, 11th Earl of Airlie at St George's, Hanover Square, becoming Countess of Airlie. They had six children, fourteen grandchildren, thirty-three great-grandchildren and twenty-nine great-great-grandchildren.:

  • Lady Kitty Edith Blanche Ogilvy (5 February 1887-17 October 1969) she married Brigadier General Sir Berkeley Vincent on 18 September 1906 and they were divorced in 1925. They have two sons. She remarried Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Gerald Ritsonon 1 June 1926.
    • John Ogilvy Vincent (24 March 1911-1 May 1914)
    • Boris Ogilvy Vincent (1914-1914)
  • Lady Helen Alice Wyllington Ogilvy (21 November 1890-December 1973) she married Major Clement Freeman-Mitford on 25 November 1909. They have two daughters. She remarried Lieutenant Colonel Henry Brocklehurst on 11 July 1918 and they were divorced in 1931. She remarried, again, Lieutenant Colonel Harold Nutting on 21 February 1933.
    • Rosemary Freeman-Mitford (16 September 1911-22 October 2005) she married Commander Richard Bailey on 29 October 1932. They have six children and twelve grandchildren:
      • Richard Lee Clement Bailey (7 September 1933) he married Barbara Joyce Ede on 12 September 1959. They have three children:
        • Melanie Jane Bailey (11 May 1964)
        • Timothy Richard Bailey (12 September 1965)
        • Samantha Kate Bailey (1967)
      • Michael Lee George Bailey (16 December 1934) he married Diana Deacon on 2 May 1964 and they were divorced in 1976. They have two children. He remarried Diana Cainero. They have one daughter.
        • Anthony Michael George Bailey (15 August 1966) he married Kay Shepherd in 1999.
        • Clementine Jane Bailey (21 May 1969)
        • Francesca Diana Bailey (1980)
      • Ann Clementine Bailey (31 October 1936) she married Peter Calver on 19 June 1964.
      • Diana Penelope Bailey (4 May 1940) she married William Leaf on 6 August 1960 and they were divorced in 1979. They have two children:
        • Jessica Frances Rosemary Leaf (6 November 1961)
        • James William Richard Tyrell Leaf (26 June 1963) he married Fiona Hopkins in 2001.
      • Lavinia Jessica Iris Bailey (3 September 1944) she married Anthony Carlson on 11 September 1965 and they were divorced in 1974. They have one dauhgter. She remarried Hugh Bailey in 1975. They have one son.
        • Sarah Rosemary Iris Carlson (17 November 1967) she married Spiros Mouzakitis in 1992 and they were divorce in 2000.
        • David Andrew Robert Bailey (1977)
      • Annabel Lee Christine Bailey (18 December 1945) she married Malcolm Valentine in 1974. They have two children:
        • Richard William Valentine (1976)
        • Clare Rosemary Valentine (1978)
    • Clementine Freeman-Mitford (22 October 1915-17 August 2005) she married Sir Alfred Lane Beit on 20 April 1939.
    • Sir John Brocklehurst, 3rd Bt. (6 April 1926-1981)
  • Lady Mabell Griselda Esther Sudley Ogilvy (22 January 1892-4 November 1918)
  • David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie (18 July 1893-28 December 1968) he married Lady Alexandra Coke on 17 July 1917. They have six children, twenty-one grandchildren and twenty-nine great-grandchildren.
  • The Honorable Bruce Arthur Ashley Ogilvy *15 March 1895-29 September 1976) he married Primrose O'Brien on 28 April 1931.
  • The Honorable Patrick Julian Harry Stanley Ogilvy (26 June 1896-9 October 1917)

On the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, Lord Airlie went with his regiment, the 12th Royal Lancers, to South Africa, where he was killed in action at the Battle of Diamond Hill in 1900. After the end of the war in 1902, Lady Airlie paid a visit to South Africa.[1]

Following her husband′s death, Lady Airlie began to manage Cortachy Castle in Angus on behalf of her eldest son, David, the new earl. After opening the Dundee Sanatorium for Consumptives, which had been built on a site gifted by her late husband shortly before his death on 1900, she was on 26 September 1902 presented with the Freedom of the City of Dundee.[2]

In December 1901, she became a Lady of the Bedchamber to her old friend, the Princess of Wales (as Princess May had become).[3] On the accession of King George V in 1910, Lady Airlie was retained at court as a Lady of the Bedchamber to the-now Queen Mary.[citation needed]

World War I[edit]

During World War I she supported the Red Cross and was appointed a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 1920 civilian war honours list for her services as president of Queen Alexandra's Army Nursing Board. [4]

However, she suffered losses in her family during the war: her son-in-law, Clement (the eldest son of Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale), was killed in action in 1915, her youngest son, Patrick, was also killed in action in 1917 and her daughter, Mabell, was killed whilst exercising army horses in 1918.[citation needed]

Literary works[edit]

When Lady Airlie's eldest son married in 1917, she moved from Cortachy Castle to Airlie Castle, where she began to edit family letters in her possession, for publication. In Whig Society, 1775–1818 (1921) and Lady Palmerston and her Times (1922) were based on the papers of her great-grandmother, Emily (the wife of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper, and later of Prime Minister Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston) and With the Guards We Shall Go (1933), which detailed her great-uncle, John Jocelyn, 5th Earl of Roden, through the Crimean War.

Later life[edit]

In 1953, the countess's employer and lifelong friend, Queen Mary, died, and Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) for her many years of service. She later moved from Airlie Castle to Bayswater Road, London in 1955. She died there a few weeks after her ninetieth birthday in 1956.

As a close confidante to Queen Mary, Lady Airlie was a close observer of the fluctuating relationships within the British Royal Family, and detailed her reminiscences about them in her memoirs, which were unfinished at the time of her death. They were later discovered by Jennifer Ellis,[who?] who edited and published them as Thatched with Gold: The Memoirs of Mabell, Countess of Airlie in 1962.


  • The Honourable Mabell Frances Elizabeth Gore (1866–1884)
  • The Lady Mabell Frances Elizabeth Gore (1884–1886)
  • The Right Honourable The Countess of Airlie (1886–1900)
  • The Right Honourable The Dowager Countess of Airlie (1900–1956)


  1. ^ "Court News". The Times (36896). London. 11 October 1902. p. 11.
  2. ^ ″Countess of Airlie presented with Freedom of Dundee″. Aberdeen Press and Journal, 27 September 1902, page 4
  3. ^ "No. 27382". The London Gazette. 3 December 1901. p. 8559.
  4. ^ "No. 31840". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 March 1920. p. 3757.