Lady Pauline Laetitia Tennant Rumbold (Lady Rumbold)

Lady Pauline Laetitia Tennant Rumbold

Actress, Poet, Socialite. A noted beauty and performer in her youth, she was later a respected author. Born to wealth and privilege, she was raised initially on a Wiltshire estate though her aristocratic father David Tennant allowed the too-attractive-for-her-own-good Pauline to rub elbows with many noted personalities of the day at his Soho nightspot, The Gargoyle Club. Her actress mother Hermione Baddeley apparently delighted in demeaning her but she still followed her onto the stage, making her professional debut at 15 in “Mr. Cochran’s Youngest Lady”. Pauline’s first starring role came two years later in a West End production of Ben Travers’ comedy “She Follows Me About” while her appearance in 1945’s “No Medals” earned her the cover of “Theatre World”; that same year saw her first appearance on the silver screen as Vicky Calder in “Great Day”, the story of British women’s club members waiting for a visit from Eleanor Roosevelt. In her later teen years Pauline also served as a model for artists of the day most notably Lucian Freud whose 1946 drawing of her has been part of several exhibits. The 1946 first of her three marriages shortened her acting career though she was to appear as the Young Countess in the 1949 “Queen of Spades”, a gothic tale of a young girl’s attempt to get out of a bargain with the devil. Her union with archeologist Julian Pitt-Rivers lasted until 1953 and saw her spend time in Iraq and become something of a Middle East expert while her 16 year marriage to nobleman and diplomat Euan Douglas Graham was apparently mainly endured. Pauline’s 1974 final marriage to retired diplomat Sir Anthony Rumbold continued until her husband’s death in 1983 and was by all accounts her happiest. Always an active writer and skilled linguist, Lady Rumbold spent her final years in Dorset busy with literary persuits; she founded the Prayer Book Society, dedicated to preserving the liturgy of 1662, published her poem “The Ascent” in 1989, and also in 1989 saw the Folio Society release her plain English translation of the works of William Barnes. In 1992 an anthology of her own poems entitled “Loaves and Fishes” was released. Her final days were devoted to travelling to both sises of the Atlantic, writing, and socializing. At her death from an accumulation of chronic problems “The Queen of Spades” was preserved on DVD and continued to have a cult following. Some sources give her birth year as 1929 but the earlier date is more in line with her stage career and first marriage. (bio by: Bob Hufford)  Family links:  Parents:  David Pax Francis Tennant (1902 – 1968)  Hermione Baddeley (1906 – 1986)


  • February, 06, 1927
  • England


  • December, 12, 2008
  • England


  • St Michael's Churchyard
  • Dorset
  • England

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