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Marchioness of Winchester

The Marchioness of Winchester (Bapsy) was born Bapsybanoo Pavry at Bahrat, India, in 1902, the daughter of Khurshedji Erachji Pavry. The family were very wealthy and Bapsy attended Columbia University, New York, and in 1928 was presented at court to King George V. Bapsy led a cosmopolitan lifestyle, was entertained by the rich and famous and in 1952 married the twice-widowed 16th Marquess of Winchester, who by then was 90 years old. The Marquess was to live for a further 10 years and died in 1962 not long before his hundredth birthday. The marriage was not a happy affair. The Marquess spent much of the time with his previous fiancée, Mrs Fleming, the mother of writer Ian Fleming and in 1957 Bapsy took Mrs Fleming to court suing for enticement. The judge found against Mrs Fleming but in 1958 this was overruled by a court of appeal and the Marquess spent his last few years in Monte Carlo with Mrs Fleming.

All through her life Bapsy endeavoured to ingratiate herself with the famous; the world's political, social and religious elite with whom, mostly through their private secretaries, she conducted a long correspondence. Believing her place to be amongst this international ruling elite, Bapsy secured a position as a delegate at the UNESCO Paris Peace Conference in 1947 and was a member of council of the World Alliance for International Peace through Religion. The Marchioness also endowed two fellowships for the study of international relations and human rights at Oxford University in memory of her brother and herself. After the death of her husband she spent much of her time with her brother Dasturzada Dr Jal Pavry and they spent their time trying to secure invitations to functions.

The Marchioness's brother died in 1985 following which she posted, and received replies to, letters informing the world's great and good of his death. As a result of the letters Bapsy was able to say that she had received messages of sympathy from all over the world. Bapsy herself died in September 1995 in Bombay, India. Her legacy to Winchester comprises a portrait of herself, an archive of personal and social memorabilia and a bequest, initially of £500,000, for a community hall to be built in her name.

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