Nesta Wyn Ellis’ The Marquess Of Bath: Lord Of Love was published by Dynasty Press. It is a fact that the publishers decide on the titles of books they care to publish but a more inept title could hardly have been chosen. It would be of an advantage to read the book and understand its content before giving it an unsuitable title.
This should not distract from the brilliant book Ellis has written. She drew on 40 hours of interviews she conducted with the Marquess to compile his life history. Her brilliance is not the recounting of a rather flat and uninspiring life of someone living in the void, but in the psychological analysis of how her subject got there.
Alexander Thynne was born as the elder son and heir of Henry 6th Marquess of Bath. His parents divorced when he was eight. His father was a well known Nazi sympathizer and Hitler fan. He collected Nazi memorabilia and ran the family like a German military unit. His mother outed herself as a cougar after the divorce. Both didn’t inspire Alexander to lead a more worthwhile and rewarding life, contrariwise.
Alexander never forgave his father for selling part of the Longleat library as this sale cut into his inheritance. Typically though, he sold heirlooms for 24 million pounds in 2004. After his father’s death, he waited just long enough to be sure the body was securely entombed before chucking out his brother Lord Christopher Thynne from Longleat. He professes to socialism and meritocracy while ferociously clinging on to title and inherited worldly goods. And these are his more charming character traits.
In 1969, he married Hungarian born Abigail Gyarmarthy for the sole reason to procure an heir. The Marchioness lives in Paris for obvious reasons. If Scrooge hadn’t already been invented, the Marquess would be the model upon which the character was built. He is no pauper with an estimated fortune of over 150 million pounds. But he is a miser; Longleat serves plonk and tinned food should you be unlucky enough to have to visit there. When holidaying in France in his house there, he refuses to eat out. While he says that it is because of his dislike for French cuisine, we all know what eating out in France costs.
He had 75 mistresses before and since his marriage to Abigail. He calls them wifelets and some of them inhabit cottages on the estate of Longleat. While this might give the impression that they received at least a consolation prize, in reality they pay a normal rent to bolster his miserly income. None of them ever saw a penny from him, just in case you wondered. Current and past wifelets wage a constant and tiring war of attrition (now you know why the Marchioness lives in Paris, apart from food and drink).
Ellis’ mastery in this book does not stop at the mere collection of sordid facts; she analyses the freak of Bath step by step by looking into all these happenings. The picture she paints is shocking, and after you overcome your distaste about the person of the Marquess, you might even consider giving him some sympathy for being such a loser.