Dame Barbara Cartland (Dame Barbara Cartland)

Dame Barbara Cartland

Author, Aviation Pioneer, Society Figure. A lady of many talents, she is probably best remembered as a writer of romantic fiction. Born Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland to a middle class family, she showed writing talent from an early age, was educated at the Alice Ottley School, Malvern Girls’ College, and Abbey House, got her first job as a gossip columnist for “The Daily Express”, and in 1922 produced her first novel, “Jigsaw”. Over the years she published 657 books, making her, according to the 1983 edition of “The Guinness Book of World Records”, the largest selling author on earth. While she wrote biographies, including a well-received study of Lord Mountbatten, and books on health, she is best known for ladies’ Victorian-era romance novels, and though the best selling “Blood Money” was banned in 1926 as being too ‘racy’, at least for the time, most of her novels were considered tame, with a lack of explicit content. She had an interest in aviation and in 1931 helped develop the prototype for a troop-carrying glider for which she received the 1984 Bishop Wright Air Industry Award. During World War II Dame Barbara was deeply involved in the war effort, serving as Chief Lady Welfare Officer of Bedfordshire and working with several war charities. One of her favorite projects was collecting wedding dresses so that every wartime bride could have a proper white dress. For her wartime work she was invested with the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (CStJ) in 1953. From 1955 to 1964 she was Conservative member of the Hertfordshire county council and while in office helped secure legal rights for gypsies, including education of their children. Dame Barbara was married twice; the first, from 1927 to 1932 to Alexander George McCorquondale produced a daughter, Raine, who was to become the step-mother of Princess Diana. Her second husband, Hugh McCorquondale, a cousin of her first, died in 1963. Though she continued writing, in 1978 she even produced a record entitled “An Album of Love Songs” on which she was backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1983 she set another Guinness world record when she published 23 novels; for her long lifetime of service to England, she was invested Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in 1990. Suffering a decline in her health and vision over her final years, she remained active as long as possible; when she died of advanced age she was, at her request, buried in a cardboard coffin. (bio by: Bob Hufford)  Family links:  Parents:  James Bertram Falkner Cartland (1876 – 1918)  Siblings:  James Anthony Hamilton Cartland (____ – 1940)*  Barbara Cartland (1901 – 2000)  John Ronald Hamilton Cartland (1907 – 1940)* *Calculated relationship


  • July, 09, 1901
  • England


  • May, 05, 2000
  • England


  • Hatfield Estate
  • Hertfordshire
  • England

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