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Anne Glenconner exposes more appalling abuse at the hands of Lord Glenconner who ‘spiked’ her drink

Sex earlier than marriage was unthinkable for a lady from my background, and divorce a shameful admission of failure. As the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, I completely accepted these beliefs.

Like many different Fifties debutantes, I used to be anticipated to shortly make what my family and friends would regard as an excellent match.

I used to be wanting ahead to having a standard marriage that appeared very very like that of my mother and father. Instead, I married Colin Tennant, inheritor to Lord Glenconner.

We’d met at a debutante dance a year or so after I used to be maid of honour at the Queen’s Coronation, and I quickly fell in love. He was so completely different from my father’s boring capturing fraternity – very handsome, charming, a marvellous dancer and, finest of all, he talked about more than capturing and fishing.

He was half of Princess Margaret’s set and knew all types of glamorous folks, writers and artists. When we married in April 1956, I’d identified him for lower than a year and was completely ignorant about intercourse. If I’d hoped Colin would assist me study intercourse with gentleness and kindness, I used to be unsuitable.

On our marriage ceremony evening in Paris, Colin had a tantrum that left him exhausted, in order that was a non-starter, and the consummation, when it occurred, was awkward, painful and never significantly pleasing or romantic. Apparently this was my fault. Pictured: Colin Tennant, third Baron Glenconner, and his spouse Anne, on the island of Mustique, which he owned privately, in March 1973

When we married in April 1956, I’d known him for less than a year and was totally ignorant about sex. If I’d hoped Colin would help me learn about sex with gentleness and kindness, I was wrong. Pictured: Princess Margaret and Lord Glenconner on the Island of Martinique for Weekend magazine

When we married in April 1956, I’d identified him for lower than a year and was completely ignorant about intercourse. If I’d hoped Colin would assist me study intercourse with gentleness and kindness, I used to be unsuitable. Pictured: Princess Margaret and Lord Glenconner on the Island of Martinique for Weekend journal 

On our wedding night in Paris, Colin had a tantrum that left him exhausted, so that was a non-starter, and the consummation, when it happened, was awkward, painful and not particularly enjoyable or romantic. Apparently this was my fault. Pictured: Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner, and his wife Anne, on the island of Mustique, which he owned privately, in March 1973

On our marriage ceremony evening in Paris, Colin had a tantrum that left him exhausted, in order that was a non-starter, and the consummation, when it occurred, was awkward, painful and never significantly pleasing or romantic. Apparently this was my fault. Pictured: Colin Tennant, third Baron Glenconner, and his spouse Anne, on the island of Mustique, which he owned privately, in March 1973 

On our marriage ceremony evening in Paris, Colin had a tantrum that left him exhausted, in order that was a non-starter, and the consummation, when it occurred, was awkward, painful and never significantly pleasing or romantic. Apparently this was my fault.

When he took me to a brothel an evening or two later to look at a personal intercourse present, I felt he was saying: ‘You’re hopeless at it, however you may get some good ideas from watching this.’ It was so humiliating.

He’d had quite a few affairs earlier than we met however that did not imply he regarded it as his function to show me methods to discover this aspect of life with gentleness or generosity. As lengthy as Colin and I had been sleeping collectively, our intercourse life was marked by criticism and disappointment. He used to get very cross with me, which of course made issues worse and I used to dread going to mattress with him. I attempted to be enthusiastic however it by no means labored between us. For a really very long time, I felt I should be in charge.

The one time he appeared happy with me was years later in the Grenadines. I feel he organized for my drink to be spiked and, from what I do know now, I think it was LSD. I had the most terrifying expertise, with visions and hallucinations, however we ended up making passionate love regardless of my feeling so scared. It was extraordinarily energetic and uninhibited.

The subsequent day, Colin mentioned: ‘That was wonderful and that is the method I would like you to behave all the time.’

‘Well, I felt terrible and I nonetheless do,’ I replied.

He did not lace my drink once more however how unusual and someway typical of Colin that, fairly than being tender, he determined he might simply drug me into doing what he preferred.

Sex was on no account our solely drawback. As I recounted in yesterday’s extract from my new guide, Colin usually had violent rages – one of them so extreme that I believed he’d find yourself killing me.

Not solely was his mood on a hair set off, I used to be astonished to search out myself blamed for every little thing that went unsuitable, or every little thing he felt had gone unsuitable. I needed to be taught in a short time methods to cope with his sudden calls for, defuse troublesome conditions and transfer swiftly to restore any harm his behaviour had induced. The set off for an almighty meltdown might come from the most unpredictable place. He’d lose his mood immediately and provide you with little or no time to place proper no matter he’d objected to. I discovered to remain calm, be vigilant and climate the storms.

From the earliest days of our marriage, every little thing went a method: from me to Colin. His personal emotions took priority in any and each scenario.

How exhausting and lonely it might be. I felt as if components of me had been dying with nobody to nurture or cherish me after I wanted it. It was like having one other baby, however a very giant, disruptive one.

He shocked, offended and terrified different folks most of the time and I needed to type out the outcomes. Too usually I existed simply as a buffer between him and everybody else.

Nowadays I all the time really feel nervous round marriages the place I sense one celebration in management. My antennae for which can be extremely developed and I can usually really feel when the energy is disproportionately weighted to 1 aspect. I do not assume it is ever wholesome. Another aspect of Colin [who died in 2010] that may check me was his fixed restlessness.

Party people: The Glenconners on Mustique in 1973 and Princess Margaret with the couple on the island in 1986

Party folks: The Glenconners on Mustique in 1973 and Princess Margaret with the couple on the island in 1986

Soon after I gave start to Charlie, the first of our 5 youngsters, he introduced he’d simply purchased a mews home in London’s Knightsbridge. I used to be startled as I hadn’t even seen it. Nothing ever glad Colin for lengthy. Even once we gave the impression to be settled in a single place, I could be informed that the home had been bought from underneath us and there was per week or at most a fortnight to pack the whole contents and go away.

Colin’s restlessness meant so much of travelling. One of the hazards of accompanying him was that I all the time needed to carry his baggage as he claimed he wasn’t robust sufficient. I used to be like a packhorse, labouring behind him laden with circumstances.

It was usually frightfully embarrassing in airports as there’d be an enormous queue of folks ready to examine in and Colin would merely march to the entrance, whereas I adopted, strung with baggage. ‘Come on, Anne,’ he’d order loudly. ‘Put my circumstances on that conveyor.’

The unusual factor was that, other than a number of grumbles, folks did not complain – maybe as a result of they had been so amazed at his effrontery. Not that Colin would have taken any discover if they’d. He was so frightfully impatient and his wants had been all the time the precedence. Everything needed to occur now, now, now! He was all the time dashing and shouting, ‘Keep up! Keep up!’ That led to some nice expeditions, however was clearly a horrible pressure.

The husbands of my technology, who normally held all the monetary playing cards, had been usually flagrantly untrue. Colin was, from the earliest days of our marriage.

The wedding of Lady Anne Coke and Mr Colin Tennant at St Withburga's Church in Holkham, Norfolk

The marriage ceremony of Lady Anne Coke and Mr Colin Tennant at St Withburga’s Church in Holkham, Norfolk

Lady Anne Glenconner (pictured) served as Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting for 3 a long time

Lady Anne Glenconner (centre) at the book launch of Lord of the Isle - the Extravagant Life and Times of Colin Tennant in Mayfair, London alongside Lady Annunziata Asquith and Countess Davinia Alexander

Lady Anne Glenconner (centre) at the guide launch of Lord of the Isle – the Extravagant Life and Times of Colin Tennant in Mayfair, London alongside Lady Annunziata Asquith and Countess Davinia Alexander

For the most half, wives merely put up with it and did not make a fuss however many made preparations of their very own. I’m so glad I had that chance.

Ten years into my marriage, I took a lover, which did me an unlimited quantity of good. I had been taught to assume of divorce as not possible however I used to be in nice want of some kindness and cherishing, and having fun with some of that affection modified my life.

Our relationship lasted 34 years till my buddy died. I used to be very fortunate. It was excellent, although it was solely lunch as soon as per week and the occasional magical weekend once we had been in a position to escape collectively. It was solely with my buddy that I realised how wonderful intercourse might be and what I had been lacking. While I used to be so grateful to expertise that, I could not assist feeling unhappy that it had been so troublesome with Colin.

It’s exhausting to not really feel cross now. I’d lastly found it takes two to have nice intercourse, so it was all the time going to be troublesome with somebody who solely thought of his personal desires. I not needed to blame myself for these difficulties.

My buddy’s spouse was very beneficiant to me. She knew about our association and, the truth is, had one of her personal. There was no question of any of us leaving our marriages, although. It merely wasn’t carried out and I do not assume we ever thought of it.

There was one long-term mistress who was particularly painful for me. He didn’t tell me about her but I saw them together at a party and knew at once just by the way they were standing together. Pictured: Lady Anne Coke and Colin Tennant pictured as they announce their engagement, December 16 1955

There was one long-term mistress who was significantly painful for me. He did not inform me about her however I noticed them collectively at a celebration and knew at as soon as simply by the method they had been standing collectively. Pictured: Lady Anne Coke and Colin Tennant pictured as they announce their engagement, December 16 1955

When my buddy was dying, his spouse rang me and mentioned he want to say goodbye to me, so I used to be in a position to go to see him. I used to be all the time grateful to her for that and that she despatched me a memento of him after he died. Colin, nevertheless, wasn’t happy. He was terribly jealous. One of the issues that aggravated him was that my buddy wasn’t significantly handsome and Colin could not perceive it: he was so handsome and excellent, how on earth might I need to be with anybody else?

The reality I’d get pleasure from the company, out and in of mattress, of somebody who was persistently form to me didn’t appear to happen to him.

There wasn’t a lot Colin might do about my friendship, contemplating he was untrue all the time and did not hassle hiding it.

There was one long-term mistress who was significantly painful for me. He did not inform me about her however I noticed them collectively at a celebration and knew at as soon as simply by the method they had been standing collectively.

I mentioned nothing however ultimately Colin informed me himself. This mistress tried very exhausting to make him marry her however he by no means left me.

As lengthy as I might tolerate his extramarital affairs with out tears and tantrums, and stay discreet, he would stick with me. And, of course, he might hardly complain when the boot was on the different foot, so he put up with it.

In the late Nineteen Sixties, Colin – who preferred to be forward of the curve – went ‘to see my shrink’, as he put it, feeling very modern, little doubt. But remedy appeared to make little distinction to his psychological wellbeing.

One day, he informed me he lay in silence for the whole session. ‘Don’t you say something?’ I requested disbelievingly. This therapist was not low-cost and extremely really useful. ‘Not a phrase,’ Colin mentioned, as if this was a serious personal triumph. I feel he was happy with himself for managing to provide you with a brand new tackle speaking remedy: mendacity there in livid silence.

Meanwhile, my stress ranges had been rising and our household physician referred me to my very own therapist. For a couple of year, I ended up speaking a terrific deal about Colin, and it helped enormously. I realised, crucially, that he could not be helped. There was nothing I might resolve for him.

Whatever had occurred to Colin to make him the method he was had occurred in his childhood and I might by no means change him. I do not know why he behaved as he did, although I could make some guesses.

After Colin’s brother was born, his mom Pamela took to her mattress and refused to go away her room. He used to listen to his father screaming at her by means of the closed door. They parted when Colin was 9.

His father, who’d by no means been affectionate with him, had little contact with him after that. When Colin turned a father, he was confused when our sons Charlie and Henry tried to hug or kiss him.

Therapy helped me have somewhat more sympathy for him – and absolve myself of duty for him. Very importantly, it gave me the power to imagine in my price as my very own individual.

I started to see clearly how drained I used to be. Colin was so very exhausting to dwell with: there was no room for me as an individual as a result of I used to be all the time so busy taking care of him and anticipating his wants in addition to defending the youngsters.

Pictured: Princess Margaret, Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner and Anne Tennant, Lady Glenconner wait on the jetty for Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip's arrival to Mustique on Britannia in 1977

Pictured: Princess Margaret, Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner and Anne Tennant, Lady Glenconner wait on the jetty for Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip’s arrival to Mustique on Britannia in 1977

Therapy also helped me see that I needed to stop trying to be the ‘good wife’ at such a great cost to my own mental wellbeing. However many of Colin’s storms and tantrums I prevented or smoothed over, there would always be something that drove him into a frenzy. Pictured: Lord Glenconner in Mustique with life-long friend Princess Margaret

Therapy additionally helped me see that I wanted to cease making an attempt to be the ‘good spouse’ at such a terrific value to my very own psychological wellbeing. However many of Colin’s storms and tantrums I prevented or smoothed over, there would all the time be one thing that drove him right into a frenzy. Pictured: Lord Glenconner in Mustique with life-long buddy Princess Margaret

Therapy additionally helped me see that I wanted to cease making an attempt to be the ‘good spouse’ at such a terrific value to my very own psychological wellbeing. However many of Colin’s storms and tantrums I prevented or smoothed over, there would all the time be one thing that drove him right into a frenzy.

Crucially, I additionally discovered to treasure the many moments of pleasure and laughter we shared with household and pals and admire the instances Colin was at his finest, charming and enthusing the folks round us.

Making peace with the scenario turned simpler as soon as we spent more time aside. He’d purchased the island of Mustique in 1958, spent a fortune growing it and was ultimately dwelling there more than not.

Though we nonetheless spent so much of time collectively, we not shared a everlasting residence. Even so, I sorted him as a lot as I might. I used to be nonetheless his spouse and that meant being at his aspect in public at his extravagant events in the West Indies.

Had I not been dwelling independently in England, I might most likely have needed to go away Colin totally. As it was, I used to be in a position to keep married. I received on with it, and paradoxically grew more assured.

It was my alternative, which I settle for wouldn’t be everybody’s – however I do not remorse it.

Colin Tennant and Princess Margaret, at a gold themed 50th Birthday Party of Colin Tennant on Mustique, West Indies, November 22 1976

Colin Tennant and Princess Margaret, at a gold themed fiftieth Birthday Party of Colin Tennant on Mustique, West Indies, November 22 1976

The one factor that started to alter about Colin as he aged was his look. Ahead of the curve as all the time, he embraced beauty surgical procedure.

He had his eyelids lifted and his baggage carried out in his 40s, and after that he received a style for it and began having facelifts. When I requested him why, he mentioned that his job was promoting land and homes to folks on Mustique they usually weren’t going to purchase something from a decrepit previous man.

I privately thought that they had been impossible to belief somebody who appeared bizarre and surgically altered. Although his facelifts did not look too unhealthy, he did get that clean, waxy sheen to his pores and skin and his lifted eyes appeared barely odd.

Later in life, he additionally had dentures that had been somewhat giant for him, so when you weren’t used to him, you might discover him considerably startling: clean pores and skin, lifted eyes and massive white enamel.

Generally, he appeared to heal fairly properly from his operations however not all the time.

He was staying with me in London after one facelift, in order that I might take care of him whereas he recovered. I’d gone out for lunch and after I received again he wasn’t there.

I went into the lavatory and, to my horror, it was drenched in blood. I almost fainted on the spot. Off I rushed to the hospital to search for him and there he was, livid. I received an absolute earful.

‘Typical!’ he shouted. ‘You weren’t there after I wanted you!’

‘But, Colin,’ I mentioned, jolly relieved to see him alive, and not upset by his flashes of mood, ‘what on earth occurred?’ It turned out his stitches had exploded, or that was what he claimed, however I think he’d tried to take out one or two himself. I could not blame him: he appeared like Frankenstein’s monster, as if he’d been patched up with thick black thread in a foul blanket sew.

Colin’s nasty expertise of exploding stitches did not put him off. He continued to have beauty operations, together with a number of more facelifts and tweaks.

‘You ought to get a facelift, Anne,’ he informed me generally. ‘Why do not you get your neck carried out?’

‘After your expertise, I hardly need an exploding neck!’ I replied.

I’m very glad I caught to my weapons and nonetheless look comparatively regular.

Colin’s mood by no means improved.

One day I used to be going to Royal Ascot with my pricey buddy Tim. He, his associate and I had been in my flat in London, simply on the brink of go away when Colin arrived unexpectedly. He was carrying one thing Tim admired. But when my buddy went to really feel the materials of his lapel between his fingers – a wonderfully innocuous gesture between such previous pals – Colin merely whacked him as exhausting as he might and threw an absolute match.

My neighbours knocked on the door to see what on earth was occurring. Tim’s shock was apparent, however his innate good manners meant he did not reply angrily.

Now I ponder if half of that violent response may need been as a result of Tim is overtly homosexual.

People have usually requested me if Colin was homosexual or bisexual. They had been significantly suspicious after his will was learn and it was discovered he’d left every little thing to Kent, his valet in the West Indies. The innuendo was continuous and inescapable.

The reality is, I nonetheless do not know.

Colin all the time had male pals whom he mentored and inspired, however he by no means gave me any indication that he was sleeping with them. On the different hand, I used to be painfully conscious of the a number of affairs he had with girls.

Perhaps Colin was bisexual however, in his unusual method, could not bear the thought I’d know, and his horror at Tim making even a slight intimate gesture was what had set him off. I keep in mind after I got here residence that night, Colin did apologise, saying he hoped he hadn’t spoiled my day. I informed him he hadn’t, as a result of I merely did not let him upset me in the method he as soon as had.

The christening of baby Charles Edward Pevensey, the son of Colin Tennant and Lady Anne in 1957

The christening of child Charles Edward Pevensey, the son of Colin Tennant and Lady Anne in 1957

Lady Anne, then 23, in her wedding dress as she married Colin Tennant in 1956

Lady Anne, then 23, in her marriage ceremony dress as she married Colin Tennant in 1956

In 1987, Colin moved to St Lucia, the place he invested in an undeveloped 480-acre property. He needed to create someplace as spectacular as Mustique, however this time his enterprise failed. He ended up dwelling alone, tended to by Kent.

By 2010, it was clear he was dying of prostate most cancers. I spent a while taking care of him in the West Indies as he would not come again to England for remedy.

Seeing him so skinny and unwell was desperately upsetting. One night, after a session at the clinic we went again to the place we had been staying. We had separate bedrooms with a speaking door and that evening I used to be crying quietly to myself, considering Colin could not hear me.

He got here in and climbed into the mattress subsequent to me, hugging me tightly. He hadn’t carried out something like that for years, and virtually with shock mentioned: ‘Oh you are fairly slim, aren’t you, and your pores and skin is so clean.’

It had been so lengthy since he’d touched me, he’d forgotten what I used to be like. Then he mentioned: ‘It wasn’t all unhealthy, was it, Anne?’

‘No, Colin,’ I mentioned. ‘Of course not.’

I left quickly after that to return to England for per week or two, however would by no means see him once more. I used to be devastated by his dying.

I nonetheless do not know why he took the terrible choice to go away every little thing to his valet however I skilled it as one final flourish of his sadistic aspect, the aspect that revelled in the misery of others and which at instances had made any type of marriage to him appear an not possible burden.

I couldn’t and wouldn’t be damaged by him from past the grave, any more than I might permit it when he was alive. I made a acutely aware choice to not dwell on that last act of cruelty.

Our marriage had lasted for 54 years. I can now look again and really feel proud that I managed to discover a strategy to keep married to Colin – and even to agree with him that it wasn’t all unhealthy.

  • Whatever Next?, by Anne Glenconner, is revealed by Hodder & Stoughton on November 17 at £22. ©Anne Glenconner, 2022 To pre-order a replica for £19.80, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or name 020 3176 2937 earlier than November 13. Free UK supply on orders over £20.
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