05 Jan Book review: Lady in Waiting My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown
I’ve always been fascinated by the royal family, so ‘Lady in Waiting My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner,’ jumped out at me as I went wandering through the library isles. Not least because the front cover photo is Anne Glenconner with a 1 metre high headpiece on.
Colin Tennant later Lord Glenconner was to be Anne’s fate and her husband for 54 years. The shouting, screaming and dramatic outbursts were something she would never get used to but learnt to manage.
The novel, Lady in Waiting was labelled an unexpected success.
Anne Glenconner was born into a life of nannies, butlers, housekeepers and children should be seen and not heard. She almost married Princess Diana’s father, Earl Spencer and took on the roles of lady in waiting and friend to Princess Margaret. Not only that she was a lady in waiting at the Queen’s coronation.
Anne’s life was one of privilege and tragedy. This extraordinary life included being brought up ‘boarding schools, sent to finishing schools and put through the process of ‘the season’ to find herself a ‘suitable’ husband. Never could she have guessed that she would end up with a husband who would take her to a sex show on her honeymoon, later a bestiality show later and help produce five children. Colin Tenant- Glenconner bought and sold many properties including the Caribbean island of Mustique but in the end he left nothing to his loyal wife after 54 years of marriage, instead, leaving it all to his manservant.
Surviving, the death of two of her sons and the near loss of the third, it’s hard to imagine her life, despite all its privilege, facing any more challenges than it already did. Then her husband Colin dies, leaving her biggest challenge of all, to be bitter and fight his will or let go of the past and go on to have a life filled with friends and family. Anne Glenconner chose the later and it was a decision made with her father, early in her marriage, to buy a home in her own name, that was Anne’s saving financial grace. It gave her the stable financial future for the rest of her life after the disastrous reading of Colin Glenconner’s will.
The story doesn’t end there. An illegitimate son, Joshua Bowler came to Lord Glenconner’s memorial service. The West Indies will left nothing to his family, but ‘The Glen’ Estate in England was passed to his 27-year-old grandson and the title to his 17-year-old grandson.
Filled with images and an amazing story of her life, the story of Anne Glenconner is a great read.