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Lady Ursula d’Abo

All photos in this collage are from ‘The Girl With The Widow’s Peak’

Sad news out of the United Kingdom last week- Lady Ursula d’Abo (née Manners), aunt of the present Duke of Rutland, died last Thursday aged 100. On what would have been her 101st Birthday, I’ve decided to feature one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. Born Lady Ursula Manners, the eldest child of the later 9th Duke and Duchess of Rutland, her paternal aunt was the famous Lady Diana Cooper. Growing up at Belvoir Castle, her childhood was marked by hunting and the restoration of Haddon Hall, the Derbyshire seat of the Manners family, where she discovered some lost medieval frescoes in the chapel. In 1937, she served as a train bearer to Queen Elizabeth at the 1937 Coronation, when she became famous as the ‘Girl With The Widow’s Peak’ on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. After a failed wartime marriage, she married Robert Erland d’Abo and resided at West Wratting Park, where the couple raised their three children (including Henry d’Abo, who is married to Tatjana d’Abo, sister of Chris O’Neill, the husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden.) After Robert’s death, Lady Ursula had a relationship with J. Paul Getty, but remained unmarried. In 2014, she published her autobiography ‘The Girl With The Widow’s Peak‘, which is one of my personal favourite books, and features a remarkable account of aristocratic life in the 20th century. Some excerpts are included in our article on the Rutland Tiara. I offer my deepest condolences to Lady Ursula’s family! She will be dearly missed!

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