Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
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Deputy Chairman of the Wilson Shipping Line, Hull; High Sheriff of Yorkshire
After Mrs Wilson died, she left her villa to her quite singular and eccentric daughter, Muriel Wilson, who had broken the hearts of some of the most famous names of that era including Winston Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl of Ancaster and the American Robert Goelet. By then she was married to the penniless but dashing Major Dick Warde, albeit already "unhappily". In 1923, the English novelist Ford Madox Ford was invited to inspect the gardens, "not knowing who the owners were... So, in the Drawing Room - of an impossible gorgeousness - I walk straight up and am introduced - to Muriel Wilson of the Tranby Croft case (a referral to the Royal Baccarat Sandal that unfolded there) - a woman I most intensely dislike! However, she seemed to like me, there being no reason why she shouldn't, and begged me to go to play tennis there any time. I shan't."
Widowed since 1932, as Muriel aged and her fortune declined, she and her companion, Mademoiselle Jeanne Beliac, moved into another house on the estate, Le Clos, which was smaller but no less elegant. This allowed them to rent out the main house while continuing to get full use of the magnificent gardens that she adored. Paul Allen has since ensured their upkeep and although private property, they remain as Peto planned them.
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