The Telegraph does the best obituaries, and its subjects seem to live the best lives.
The Dowager Marchioness of Reading, who has died aged 96, was a society beauty of the 1930s and 1940s and a woman of independent spirit.
She was one of the first British women to get a pilotâ€™s licence, competed on the prewar stock car racing circuit, and became a rally driver in the 1950s. In later life she became a campaigner for animal rights and an outspoken English nationalist.
As Harold Brooks-Baker, the former publishing director of Burkeâ€™s Peerage, once observed, Margot Reading had views â€œdiametrically opposed to most sane peopleâ€. At no time was this more clear than in 1998 when, after the maverick Tory politician Alan Clark paid tribute to the â€œmartial spiritâ€ of English football supporters who had gone on the rampage in Marseille, she wrote a letter to The Spectator in which she observed: â€œWe are a nation of yobs. Now we donâ€™t have a war, whatâ€™s wrong with a good punch-up?â€
In a later interview she elaborated on her views. â€œI 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? It is because we are a nation of fighters â€¦ What an English tough guy does is to fight with his fists, which is a good clean fightâ€¦ With so many milksops, and Left-wing liberals and wetties around, I just rejoice in the fact that there are people who keep up our historic spirit.â€
Her comments came in for severe criticism, prompting her eldest son, the Marquess of Reading, to beg her not to take any more telephone calls. â€œI am very fond of my mum, but I do not always agree with her,â€ he explained.
One of three sisters, she was born Margot Irene Duke on January 11 1919. Her father, Percy Duke, was said to have been the last man to wear a wing collar on the floor of the Stock Exchange and , for reasons which remain obscure, divided the world into people he called â€œGeorge,â€ and those he called â€œMcGregorâ€
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Hat tip to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.