Happy Birthday to Fiona Petty-Fitzmaurice, the Marchioness of Lansdowne, who turns 69 today! The daughter of Donald Merrit, she was born in Maldon in Essex and trained as an interior designer at the Inchbald School of Design, before working for Colefax & Fowler. When employed by Charles Hammond in the early 1980s, she met the then Earl of Shelburne, with the couple marrying in 1987, succeeding to the titles in 1999, though she continues to be professionally known as Fiona Shelburne.
Active in the local community, the Marchioness of Lansdowne was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire in 2019, and also served as the High Sheriff of Wiltshire for 2022–23. The Marquess and Marchioness of Lansdowne have both been overseeing the restoration of the family seat at Bowood House over the past few decades.
A close friend of the now Queen Camilla for decades, the Marchioness was made the godmother of her daughter, Laura Parker-Bowles, in 1978. During the 1990s, the now Queen used to find refuge from the media storm at Bowood, and now resides nearby at her own Ray Mill House.
As a sign of this close friendship, in 2022, the Marchioness of Lansdowne was appointed one of six Queen’s Companions, the modern equivalent of Ladies-in-Waiting, following in the footsteps of previous Marchionesses and other family members, like Evelyn, Duchess of Devonshire, who served several previous Queens. In 2023, the Marchioness of Lansdowne was the leading ‘Queen’s Companion’ to serve Queen Camilla during the Coronation Ceremony at Westminster Abbey, alongside the Queen’s sister, Annabel Elliot. There is no doubt we will continue to see the Marchioness of Lansdowne on several splendid royal occasions for years to come!
The spectacular Lansdowne Tiara was worn by the Marchioness at the 2023 State Opening of Parliament, having been worn by an earlier Marchioness at the Coronation of King George V in 1911. Lady Lansdowne wore central element during the Coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey.