Friday, November 11, 2011

How they are related: Anna Chancellor and HH Asquith

We all know that Helena Bonham Carter is the great grandaughter of Liberal prime minister HH Asquith, indeed she lives in his old house at Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire. But I was curious to discover that she is not the only thespian of note descended from old Squiffy. Specifically Anna Chancellor of Spooks, The Hour and Hidden fame (and still better known as Duckface from Four weddings and a funeral) is his great great granddaughter.

Her great grandfather was Asquith's eldest son Raymond, whose tragic death on the Somme was symbolic of the 'lost generation' who fell in the first world war. Raymond's daughter Perdita was Anna Chancellor's grandmother.

In passing I might also mention that  her uncle is Alexander Chancellor, who edited the Spectator in the 1970s and 80s when it was an elegant, eclectic and enjoyable vehicle for fine writing rather than the organ of grim right-wing ideology it is today. And she is playing the lead role in Radio 4's current classic serial, an adaptation by Harold Pinter of Elizabeth Bowen's masterpiece The heat of the day, which is a cut above Spooks, Hidden and other such nonsense.

PS: Had I been blogging at the time I might have remarked that in January of this year, Raymond Asquith's son Julian died at the age of 94. He was just the second Earl of Oxford and Asquith, having inherited the title from his grandfather the former prime minister in 1928. He was therefore an earl for 83 years.

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