Recently fashion guru/talent spotter Isabella Blow passed away. I'd seen her on various TV shows, usually sporting really weird looking hats. I always found her rather ridiculous.
Then I read her obituary, and not only am I sorry I thought of her that way, her early life reads like something out of, well, a romance novel.
Her grandmother was Lady Vera Delves Broughton, her father was Sir Evelyn Delves Broughton, 12th Baronet (now there are some names for ya!) and her family had lived in a castle on 15,000 hectares of land since the 14th century, until they had to sell it to pay off Isabella's grandfather's gambling debts. Yes, gambling debts -- and what debts they must have been! Isabella grew up able to see the family castle from the cottage they lived in on the estate. Isn't that like something out of a Regency or Victorian-set historical?
Isabella also, sadly, witnessed the drowning death of her little brother, aged two, in an ornamental pool. Even more sadly, after that, her parents apparently had little interest in their daughters.
Now Isabella's motive for bizarre headgear seems clear. This was a woman seeking attention because she'd been ignored as a child.
Some people's lives really do seem the stuff of novels.