Greville, Frances Evelyn (1861–1938)

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Greville, Frances Evelyn (1861–1938)

Countess of Warwick, British philanthropist, and social leader. Name variations: Daisy Warwick. Born Frances Evelyn Maynard in 1861; died in 1938; married Charles Greville, Lord Brooke (who became 5th earl of Warwick in 1893), in 1881 (died 1923).

A celebrated beauty and a woman of enormous wealth, Frances Evelyn Greville inherited the estates of her grandfather, Viscount Maynard, who died when she was just a child. Following her marriage in 1881, to Charles Greville, Lord Brooke, heir to the fourth earl of Warwick, she became a member of the "Marlborough House Set," the prominent social circle of the prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), with whom she reportedly had a long affair during the 1890s.

Apparently inspired by reforming journalist W.T. Stead, Greville founded various organizations for the welfare of the poor, as well as a home for crippled children in Warwick. In 1895, following criticism of an extravagant ball she gave at Warwick Castle in the socialist paper The Clarion, she went to meet the editor, Robert Blatchford. Under his influence, she gradually turned into an active socialist, establishing schools for rural children in the late 1890s, and eventually founding the Lady Warwick College, an agricultural institution located at Studely Castle, Warwickshire, for training young women in horticulture, dairy, bee, and poultry keeping. From 1899, she served as editor of the Women's Agricultural Times and also published pamphlets and several books, including Warwick Castle and its Earls (1903) and William Morris, his Home and Haunts (1912).

Under the aegis of the Social Democratic Federation, which she joined in 1904, Greville lectured on Socialism in London and the United States. In opposition to World War I (although she worked for the Red Cross), she published her views in A Woman and the War (1916). Following the war, she joined the Labor Party and made an unsuccessful bid as a candidate for Warwick and Leamington in the 1923 election, losing to her relative, Sir Anthony Eden. After the death of her husband in 1923, she was forced to rely exclusively on her writing for income. Her later works include two autobiographies, Life's Ebb and Flow (1929) and Afterthoughts (1931), a novel, Branch Line (1932), and a natural history book, Nature's Quest (1934). Remembered as somewhat eccentric but essentially warm-hearted and generous, Frances Greville died in 1938.

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Greville, Frances Evelyn (1861–1938)

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