With the Queens Jubilee only days behind us. I was given the book Lady in Waiting. An autobiography of Lady Anne Glenconner.
Glenconner, the eldest child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, had what would seem an idyllic childhood. Glenconnor’s parents worked overseas, travelled and socialised. They left their two young daughters in the care of Nannies. One who abused her.
With the outbreak of World War 2, Glenconner was dispatched to Scotland along with her sister. Together they made plans to kill Hitler, convinced that Hitler would want to take their family estate of Holkham.
Locked into a male-dominated existence, she suffered because of her sex. Most notable, as the eldest child, she could not inherit the family estate of Holkham. A male cousin inherited it.
There are many references to the Royal Family and some interesting insights into their lives. She was childhood friends with the Queen and her sister and was one of the maids of honour at the Queen’s coronation. She was a Lady in Waiting for Princess Margaret for over 30 years.
Husband and Family
Her husband, Lord Glenconner Colin Tennant, is famed for purchasing the island of Mustique for £45,000 and making the island their home. Tennant gifted Princess Margaret a plot of land and then built her a house. When she came to visit, she moved some of the foundation markers to make the house bigger! The island became a hedonistic destination for the rich and famous, with wild parties that lasted for days.
We are also invited into Glenconner’s home life and that of some of her children. Most notably, her eldest son was addicted to drugs and their struggle to get him ‘clean’. As a result of the drug habit, he was disinherited from the family estate but still loved and was part of the family.
We are also introduced to her second son and the realisation of his homosexuality. Her son caught Aids, and she writes about his death. It was traumatic to read and brought a tear to my eye, but what love she showed him within an age when people feared Aids and all that it entailed.
Glenconner had five children, which is strange, as her husband was demanding and, most times, acted like a petulant child if things didn’t go his way. Hinting off domestic abuse, both physical and mental, Glenconner has become a formidable woman.
In Conclusion to Lady In Waiting
I loved this book, and if you have an interest in the Royal family, it is worth reading. Be aware you won’t find any hidden tittle-tattle. Nevertheless, she speaks with love and compassion for the family, as they are close personal friends. There is a lot of “name dropping”, which is appropriate for her life, they were just people, being a member of the British aristocracy. Glenconner had a roller-coaster life. Glenconner is humble, honest and humorous in her writing style. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it if I had to describe this book in one word: FASCINATING. Full of bizarre events and tragic outcomes.