Duchess who was key to the development of British dressage dies aged 90


  • The former British Dressage president the Duchess of Richmond and Gordon died peacefully on 13 June, aged 90.

    Born in 1932, the duchess grew up with her grandparents in Tetbury while her parents were in Egypt during World War II. In 1951 she married Charles Gordon-Lennox, the Earl of March and Kinrara, and future 10th Duke of Richmond.

    In 1968 the couple took on Goodwood House and Estate, and the duchess returned to her childhood passion of horses. She developed a love of dressage and rode in the first competition held at Goodwood in 1973 on her Arab, Sword of Islam.

    The duchess became key to the development of dressage in this country, and was president of British Dressage from 2007 to 2012. Goodwood held 21 international dressage competitions between 1973 and 1993, and the duchess was integral in helping to persuade the German riders to bring their top horses to compete in the UK, which gave the British an insight into top-class dressage.

    In 1978 Goodwood hosted the UK’s first World Dressage Championships, where Jennie Loriston-Clarke won Britain’s first dressage medal, a bronze on Dutch Courage. The following year the venue hosted the country’s first international grand prix freestyle competition.

    As well as the international competition, Goodwood hosted the British Dressage National Championships starting in 1981. The 1993 national championships were the last major event to be held at the venue before the duke and duchess retired in 1994. The duchess continued charitable work on the estate, and in 2000 was instrumental in making Goodwood Home Farm completely organic.

    The duchess was predeceased by her husband. She leaves her children Ellinor, Charles, Maria, Naomi, and Louisa, 13 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

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