British countess and political influencer Clarissa Eden dies at 101

By the time her husband became Prime Minister in 1955, a year before the Suez Crisis that came to define her tenure, Britain was entering...


By the time her husband became Prime Minister in 1955, a year before the Suez Crisis that came to define her tenure, Britain was entering a different era, even though the ruling class was still moving in bright circles. “You were perpetually in evening dresses, huge evening clothes – tiaras and god knows what, and long gloves that had to be buttoned up,” Ms. Eden said in “The Goldfish Bowl”.

At the same time, the deference of blue-collar workers who had supported the country’s rigid class system had started to weaken. Ms Eden sparked unfavorable media coverage when she asked Maud Butt, the wife of a farm worker, to refrain from drying her laundry across a path at Checkers, the Prime Minister’s country retreat in Buckinghamshire.

“When we had foreign visitors, we would take them for a walk, and that was one of the places we would walk,” she said. “And then one day suddenly there was this clothesline across. I said, I thought very gently, ‘Would she mind if the laundry wasn’t there?’ “

Ms Butt declined the request and her story appeared in the left-wing The Daily Mirror, drawing a swarm of reporters to Checkers to seek further examples of Ms Eden’s alleged arrogance. But “there was no other evidence of Clarissa’s alleged imperious manners,” Mrs. Booth and Mrs. Haste concluded in their book.

Anne Clarissa Spencer-Churchill was born June 28, 1920, the youngest child of Lady Gwendoline Bertie, a daughter of the Seventh Earl of Abingdon, and John Strange Spencer-Churchill, a stockbroker and decorated veteran who was the younger brother by Winston Churchill. She had two older brothers, Johnnie and Peregrine.

She has gone through several titles over the years. After her husband was knighted in 1954, she was known as Lady Eden, and when knighted as the Earl of Avon in 1961, she became the Countess of Avon.

The couple had no children and Mrs. Eden passed away with no immediate survivors. Mr. Eden, who suffered from persistent health problems, died in 1977.

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Newsrust - US Top News: British countess and political influencer Clarissa Eden dies at 101
British countess and political influencer Clarissa Eden dies at 101
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