For Fans of The Crown
Anne Glenconner had an idyllic childhood. In her memoir, Lady in Waiting, she describes growing up at Holkham, the 27,000-acre estate of her father, the 5th Earl of Leicester. Her boon companions were the Princess Elizabeth and the Princess Margaret. There were Christmases at Buckingham Palace, grand shooting parties, picnics on the beach, and visits to the grand estates and castles of her relatives.
But despite her exalted pedigree, Anne was a mere female, and in accordance with the British tradition of primogeniture, she was unable to inherit any of her family’s wealth-not a parcel, a painting, or a plate. Making her own living was problematic because in keeping with another aristocratic tradition for women, she quit school at age sixteen. So, with no money and no education, she headed to the marriage market.
In 1956, Anne married wealthy Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner. (The Tennant family’s vast fortune was made through the invention of bleach in the Industrial Revolution; the Earl of Leicester was not impressed—nouveaux riches)
Shortly after their marriage, Colin purchased an island in the Caribbean called Mustique and developed a posh, exclusive resort.
Between life at the resort and Anne’s job as a Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret, the Glenconners lived a seemingly glamourous life. But Colin was unfaithful, erratic, and dangerously bad tempered. And as the final insult, after fifty-four years of marriage and five children, he left all of his fortune to his manservant.
Through it all, including the death of two of her sons, Anne maintained the quintessential British stiff upper lip and a sense of humor.
A clear-eyed portrait of a bygone era.
What Other Reviewers Say
Tina Brown: “Anne Glenconner’s life story is a combination of royal magic, personal tragedy, and resilient survival. With humor, courage, a preternatural poise, Anne Glenconner triumphed over all of it and at last tells the story of her uniquely fascinating life.”
Who Wrote It
Anne Glenconner was born Lady Anne Coke in 1932, the eldest daughter of the 5th Earl of Leicester. A Maid of Honor at the Queen’s Coronation, she was later appointed a Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret, a role she held until the Princess’s death in 2002. Her husband, Lord Glenconner, was the original developer of the island of Mustique, where Princess Margaret maintained a home. They had five children.
Widowed in 2010, Lady Glenconner lives in a farmhouse in Norfolk.