Allow me to rephrase that. ‘Who was The Dowager Marchioness of Reading?’ as she recently died on 19 April 2015 at the age of 96 years old. Allow me to school you. The Dowager Marchioness of Reading was a society beauty of the 1930’s and 1940’s here in England. She was independent and lovely in equal measure. In fact, she was one of the first British women to get a pilot’s license and she even competed on the pre-war stock car racing circuit and a became a rally driver in the 1950’s. Yes. Girl. Go. In later life, she was an animal rights campaigner and became an outspoken English nationalist (this is not necessarily a bad thing). Her views so extreme, she once remarked that she was ‘diametrically opposed to most sane people.’ In a later interview she said, ‘ I love England so much and I just feel that the so-called hooligans are just sort of over-enthusiastic. How is it that we conquered the world and that our armies went over the top? Is it because we are a nation of fighters…What an English tough guy does is to fight with his fists, which is a good clean fight…With so many milkstops, and Left-wing liberals and wetties around, I just rejoice in the fact that there are people who keep up our historic spirit.’
She enjoyed a very happy 40 years of marriage, she never conformed to anyone’s expectations. She had her own opinions, loved speed (hence the rally car career) and she was a lover of practical jokes. In the last 20 years of her life she was into protecting animal welfare. She sought treatment for ‘moonbears’ which are kept in China in horrible conditions, where their bile is extracted for use in Chinese medicine. Her husband died in 1980 and she is survived by her daughter and three sons. And am guessing by her title ‘Dowager Marchioness’ she was not short of a bob (money) or two.