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Beauchamp, Else, Countess

British, 1895 - 1989

Schiwe, Else; Dornonville de la Cour, Else


Countess Beauchamp was born Else Schiwe in Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 19, 1895, and was brought up in the home of her grandfather, Admiral Schiwe, a member of a leading Copenhagen family. She learned to speak six languages and spent much of her early life globetrotting, from China to Paris. Her first husband was a Copenhagen property developer, Direktor Christian Dornonville de la Cour, but she was widowed at the age of 28.

She met her second husband, William Lygon, then Viscount Elmley and a Liberal Member of Parliament, on Worcester's Shrub Hill station when she paid her first visit to the county in the early 1930s. Her second wedding, in London, was one of the most glittering society occasions of 1936, and when her husband inherited the title of 8th Earl Beauchamp on his father's death in 1938, he left Westminster to devote himself to the family landholdings at Madresfield Court in Worcestshire, and she became involved in local affairs. She was Worcestershire president of the St. John Ambulance for 29 years, she organized the Women's Voluntary Service, was the County Wartime Organizer of the Central Hospital Supply Services, was President of the Worcestshire Girl Guides Association, and revived a local Red Cross detachment of which she became the Commandant. She was appointed MBE for her Women's Voluntary Service work, and she was also a Grand Commander of the Order of Dannebrog of Denmark.

The Countess Beauchamp and her husband had no male heirs, and the title became extinct after their deaths. The 8th Earl died in 1979, and the Countess died at Madresfield Court on November 13, 1989. She left a daughter, Nita, from her first marriage.


Obituary, The Times (London), November 17, 1989, 18.

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