Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk

Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard

The Duchess of Norfolk, 1939
Born 22 March 1916 (1916-03-22)
Kingston Hall, Nottinghamshire
Died 10 December 1995 (1995-12-11) (aged 79)
Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Lavinia Mary Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk LG CBE (22 March 1916 – 10 December 1995) was a British noblewoman.


Born Lavinia Mary Strutt, she was the only daughter of Algernon Strutt, 3rd Baron Belper and his wife, Eva and was educated at Abbot's Hill School. On 27 January 1937, she married Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk (but did not convert to Roman Catholicism, her husband's religion) and they had four daughters, only one (the youngest) of whom has children:

At the Coronation of George VI in 1937, the Duchess of Norfolk was one of four duchesses who held the canopy above the Queen Elizabeth during the latter's anointing. In 1953, she took the part of Queen Elizabeth II during dress rehearsals for the Coronation at Westminster Abbey. The Duke of Norfolk was hereditary Earl Marshal, and organised both coronations as well as important state events in later years.


The Duchess was involved with many charities and was appointed a CBE in 1971 for her work. Among firsts for women, she was the first woman Lord Lieutenant as Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex from 1975 (a post she took over from her husband after his death that year), first woman steward of Goodwood from 1975 and the first non-royal Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter.

The Duchess was the Princess Anne's predecessor in the presidency of the Riding for the Disabled Association. The presidency passed from the Duchess to the Princess in 1986.


For many years, the traditional curtain-raiser to the English international cricket season was a match between Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk's XI and the visitors, played at Arundel Castle. It played on in the Duchess' name after the Duke's death in 1975, reverting to its original name after her own death in 1995.

The Duchess was an owner of racehorses: her best winners included Moon Madness (St Leger Stakes), Sheriff's Star (Coronation Cup) and Lucky Moon (Goodwood Cup).


External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Norfolk
Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex
Succeeded by
The Duke of Richmond
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