Kenneth Hugh DE COURCY
- Born: 6 Nov 1909, Oldham, Lancashire, England
- Marriage: Rosemary Catherine BAKER in Sep 1950 in Eton
- Died: 1999 aged 90
Extract from the "Courcy and Kingsale" website
James, 3rd son of David, 15th Baron, had issue:
James (1st son of James), who had issue:
David, 1612-1677, exiled to Connaught in 1641, who had issue:
Patrick, 1644-1728, 1st son of David, who had issue:
Michael, 1722-1797, 1st son of Patrick, who had issue:
Patrick, 1788-1835, 1st son of Michael, who had issue:
Stephen, 1825-1919, 1st son of Patrick, who had issue:
Stephen, 1869-1911, only son to leave male issue, who had issue:
Kenneth, 1909-1999, only son to leave male issue.
Note from Robert Ashe: The National Library of Ireland website identifies a document in their possession with this description:
"Copy of confirmation of arms to the descendants of Walter Stephen de Courcy, son of Stephen de Courcy of Ballinaboy House, co. Galway and to the grandson of the said Walter, being Kenneth Hugh de Courcy of Alderbourne Manor, Bucks, Oct. 13, 1951."
Thus, I suspect there may be a generation missing in the above tree.
Extract from England and Wales 1911 Census
Name: Kenneth H. De Courcy
Birthplace: Oldham, Lancashire
Residence: Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Extract from Courcy's Intelligence Service
Courcy's Intelligence Service was founded in London in 1934 by the brothers John and Kenneth de Courcy to provide early warning intelligence and analysis in the turbulent years leading up to World War II.
Extract from the "Gloucestershire Echo" dated Friday, 13 March 1936
Imperial Policy Group Sends Envoys To Paris
Following a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Imperial Policy Group in the House of Lords to discuss the foreign affairs situation, the Earl of Mansfield and Mr. Kenneth De Courcy were sent on "a special secret mission" to Paris.
"The committee" it is stated "takes an extremely grave view , and has decided to call the council of the group, which consists of some 50 members of both Houses of Parliament as well as a number of leading Conservatives, to meet on Monday in the House of Commons.
"There will be a further meeting on Tuesday which will be thrown open to all members of the House of Commons who feel acute anxiety that the international situation is greatly deteriorating".
Extract from the "Gloucestershire Echo" dated Monday, 3 September 1945
Mr. Leslie Hore-Belisha is to pay another visit to Gloucestershire shortly, this time as the guest of Mrs Stephen de Courcy and Mr Kenneth de Courcy at Iccomb Place, Stow-on-the-Wold.
Accompanied by Mrs Hore-Belisha, he will stay at Iccomb from September 14 to September 17.
Sir George Rendel, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, will also be there that weekend.
The Maugersbury Estate of 1,700 acres, including almost the entire village of Maugersbury and a rent roll of approximately £2,300 a year has been sold privately.
Mr Kenneth De Courcy, on behalf of a Trust, of which he is the Chairman, has, we understand, signed a contract for the purchase. The bulk of the estate is to be transferred to the Iccomb Place property which Mr de Courcy purchased privately in 1944, and also with two smaller properties in the vicinity, also purchased last year by his mother, Mrs Stephen de Courcy.
Maugersbury Manor itself, the Park, a small portion of agricultural land and a few cottages are for the present being retained by Mr. De Courcy's trust.
Extract from the "Gloucestershire Echo" dated Tuesday, 30 April 1946
Mr Kenneth De Courcy, of Iccomb Place, Stow-on-the-Wold, has left England on a visit to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the south of France.
He has gone via Geneva, where he expects to see King Leopold of the Belgians. En route to Geneva, he is stopping for three or four hours in Holland for some important talks there.
It wil be recalled that ten days ago he went to Holland as the guest of Prince Bernhard and Princess Juliana of the Netherlands.
Extract from "The Sunday Telegraph" dated 22 November 2009 by Christopher Wilson
Revealed: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's secret plot to deny the Queen the throne
Secret correspondence between the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor and their confidant Kenneth de Courcy has revealed a dastardly scheme to change the course of British history by denying Queen Elizabeth II the crown, says royal biographer Christopher Wilson
It was the spring of 1946. The Second World War had drawn to a close, King George VI's health was starting to fail and, from their homes in Paris and the south of France, the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor were having deeply ambitious thoughts.
More than 60 years ago, according to correspondence unearthed in a Californian library, the former King Edward VIII considered the idea of returning to Britain to become Regent, pushing aside his niece \endash now the Queen.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that amid the deteriorating health of the Duke's brother King George VI, who had succeeded him after the 1936 abdication crisis, furtive discussions began among rattled courtiers and senior politicians to the possibility of a "caretaker" monarch.
The natural successor, and heir apparent, was the then Princess Elizabeth. But in the spring of 1949, when the plot was at its height, she was just 23 \endash four years younger than Prince William is today \endash and at the time there was a heavy bias against her taking the throne so young because she was perceived to be vulnerable to "the Mountbatten influence" \endash a reference to the combined forces of the dynastically ambitious Earl Mountbatten, and his nephew Prince Philip of Greece, now the Duke of Edinburgh, whom the Queen had married in 1947.
Lord Mountbatten, the vainglorious empire-builder, saw his young relation's marriage to the future monarch as a defining moment in British history, when the House of Windsor would become the House of Mountbatten.
Traditionalists within the Royal court were terrified of the consequences. And in correspondence \endash that I have uncovered during research for my latest book \endash between the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Kenneth de Courcy, a maverick aristocrat and confidant of the Windsors, a plot emerged that would have the Duke return to Britain, buy an estate, and settle down to wait for others to suggest he should ascend the throne once again.
The first written evidence of a dastardly scheme comes in a typed letter from the Duke of Windsor to de Courcy, dated March 19, 1946 and signed "Edward", which makes a thinly veiled reference to what had effectively been a treasonable private conversation. Referring to "the subject we discussed in Paris", the Duke added: "It certainly is a situation of great delicacy but, at the same time, one in which it would seem I hold fifty per cent of the bargaining power in order that the Duchess and I can plan for the future in the most constructive and convenient way.
"For obvious reasons, I prefer to say no more in this letter but look forward to another talk with you when there is an opportunity which I hope may be soon, when we can also take up the question of the reference to the subject in the Review of World Affairs which could easily be of assistance to all concerned. But as you say, it needs very careful thought."
The Duke, who barely a decade before had sat atop the most powerful empire in the world, remained deeply ambitious for a return to public life, and to the adulation he felt was still his by right. What he was increasingly coming to suspect, however, was that the invitation might never come.
The news of her brother-in-law's failing health would not have troubled the Duchess greatly. Humbled and humiliated by George VI's aloofness during the war, she and her husband were now riding out the early years of peacetime in limbo \endash waiting, in vain, to be invited home to Britain by the British Royal family.
There is no doubt that the Duchess, whose divorce from her first and second husbands had forced her third husband to give up the throne, was also in on the plot. In a hand-written note to de Courcy of July 18, 1946, she said: "We are always busy turning things around and around in our heads \endash there's no doubt that something must be done \endash perhaps a good thunderstorm would clear the atmosphere. Anyway I can't sit by and see the Duke of Windsor wasted."
By the spring of 1949, George VI, the reluctant king who had cried on his mother's shoulder when he learned the job was his, lay in bed in Buckingham Palace following an operation to cut a nerve at the base of his spine. It was designed to counteract the arteriosclerosis the King now suffered as a result of too much stress \endash and too many cigarettes.
Just weeks after the ailing George VI underwent a major operation, the plot thickened. In a letter dated May 13, 1949, de Courcy wrote to the Duchess of Windsor saying: "The King is gravely ill and out of circulation and he will not be in circulation again… the King faces the fearful tragedy of losing first one leg then the other… The King will be able to do extremely little and moreover that those around him will gain greater and greater power. I may tell you most confidentially that a Regency has already been discussed and it seems likely enough that presently [a Regent] will be appointed."
To de Courcy, the situation mirrored the position of King George III during his years of madness \endash still king in name, but unable to reign. He foresaw a protracted time when George VI would remain alive, but could not appear in public.
"I do not think it too much to say that if the Regency should be one primarily influenced by the Mountbattens [ie Lord Mountbatten and Prince Philip], the consequences for the [Windsor] Dynasty might be fatal… the Mountbattens, thoroughly well-informed of the situation, will do everything in their power to increase their influence…"
The letter, written carefully to avoid a treason charge should it fall into the wrong hands, goes on to offer advice as to how the Windsors should now play this dynastic game. "While in this case the Duke is of course not concerned with winning the Crown, he could be concerned in something even more important than that, namely, in laying entirely fresh foundation-stones in the place of those which are now endangered… none of this can be done without extremely careful and painstaking work."
To prompt the Duchess \endash who, it has to be said, needed little encouragement \endash he painted the bleakest possible picture of the Sovereign's health. "The King is suffering from a grievous malady which is incurable, it has spread over his whole body and the result is the blood does not flow freely through the arteries… I am told on the highest medical authority that the King faces… the fearful tragedy of losing first one leg and then the other within two or three years."
Therefore, argued de Courcy, the circumstances could not be more propitious for a return. With the need to keep Princess Elizabeth out \endash for the time being, at least \endash and with no other candidate in sight, if the Duke made his move at the right moment, the traditionalists within the Royal court might very well endorse his candidature for the job of Regent.
"[The Duke] could, in these difficult circumstances be a decisive influence for good \endash making it absolutely impossible for the Mountbattens to become the decisive political and social influence upon the Regency and the future Monarch," he argued sweetly.
This was fighting talk indeed \endash a rare declaration on paper that the Windsors refused to be exiled and forgotten. He also advised: "I should like to see you and the Duke buy an agricultural property somewhere near London and the Duke devote a good deal of his time to experimental farming on the most advanced modern lines. This would make a great appeal to the country…
"There should be a rigid refusal to be seen anywhere which might in the faintest degree give enemies the chance of putting out a play-boy propaganda… Your property here ought to be sufficiently near London to make it possible for people to drive down for dinner, etc, and the [guest] lists should be most carefully considered… I venture to say that if this advice were followed, the results would be remarkable."
The ball was in the Windsors' court. In the 13 years since his abdication, the Duke had never ceased to complain that his country still needed him. The war had muddied the water, but now at last was the moment to strike back. His actions in buying an agricultural property near London would appear innocent enough \endash and if a constitutional crisis erupted within the Palace, well, he was there to help if needed.
It was the one great opportunity for the Duke to re-assert his place in history \endash and he flunked it. He dithered, and he lost; for within weeks his younger brother, the King, was on the road to a temporary recovery.
King George VI lived on, "walking with death" as Winston Churchill described it, until the early morning of February 6, 1952. It was nearly three years since de Courcy had tried to usurp the future Queen.
By the time his brother died, the Duke of Windsor had already embarked on the fruitless journey which was to occupy the rest of his life, wafting from Paris to New York to Palm Beach in the company of rich, bored, vacuous people. But by then, the job of monarch was being done \endash admirably, capably, deftly, magnificently \endash by the woman who has done it ever since, Queen Elizabeth II. The nation had enjoyed a lucky escape.
Extract from the "Gloucestershire Echo" dated Friday, 9 June 1950
Engagement: Mr Kenneth de Courcy -- Miss Rosemary Baker.
The engagement is announced between Mr. Kenneth Hugh de Courcy, of Alderbourne Manor, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, and 11 Eaton Place, London S.W.1., second son of the late Stephen de Courcy, of County Galway, Ireland, and Miss Rosemary Catherine Baker, daughter of Commander H.L.S. Baker, O.B.E., R.N. (retd.), of Carrowduff House, Ballymacurley, County Roscommon, Ireland, and Mrs L. Stewart, of 60, Coleherne Court, London, S.W.5. Owing to the very recent death of Mrs Stephen de Courcy, the marriage, which will take place shortly, will be entirely private.
Extract from HANSARD dated 9 July 1964.
Written Answers (Commons)
Kenneth de Courcy
56. Mr. Driberg asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the escape from custody of Kenneth de Courcy; what is the yearly average number of prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs who are granted leave to appeal against conviction and are allowed to attend the hearing of their appeals; how many of these are given permission to consult their solicitors at the solicitors' offices instead of in prison; and why de Courcy was given this special privilege.
Special facilities for the preparation by this prisoner of his appeal were granted at the request of his solicitors because the matters at issue involved reference to a large number of documents. These were so numerous that it would scarcely have been possible for the necessary consultations between the prisoner and his 129W legal advisers to take place within the prison, as is the normal practice. It was solely for this reason that I authorised visits by the prisoner to his solicitors' offices while the appeal was pending.
Owing to a failure in the transmission of instructions within my Department which I greatly regret, these special facilities were wrongly allowed to continue during the hearing of the appeal. I have expressed my apologies to the Court of Criminal Appeal for this serious mistake. Steps have been taken to safeguard against any recurrence.
The yearly average number of prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs who have been produced in court in connection with an appeal against conviction has in recent years been about 20. No other case has arisen in which the grant of special facilities to visit their solicitors' office while preparing their appeal has been necessary.
Extract from "Family History" by Rosemary Aldworth (née Johnston)
Minnie's eldest son Kenneth was an astute businessman and rapidly became rich, owning a chain of tobacco shops and various other businesses, including a newspaper.
Kenneth married in his mid-forties shortly after his mother's death. He began to deal in real estate involving new townships, guaranteed infrastructure, etc. A land deal in Rhodesia went sour and although he declared his innocence, he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to nine years in Wormwood Scrubs, a well known English jail. Strangely enough the trial was reported in the Natal Witness published in Pietermaritzburg. He tried to escape from prison dressed as a washerwoman, but didn't get far! After that his behaviour was a model of correctness and he was released before completion of the nine years. At the prison gates were his chauffer driven Rolls Royce and, waiting to carry his suitcases to the car, his valet! In 1981 he unearthed a title from his father's ancestry and was able to add a handle to his name, Marquise. Kenneth and his wife Rosemary had four children, but Rosemary needing, I suspect, a quieter life divorced Kenneth some years later,
Extract from "The Weekly Telegraph, No. 396, February 24 - March 2, 1999"
OBITUARY: Kenneth de Courcy, who has died aged 89, led a life as rich in vicissitude as in the fantasies which sustained him.
In the 1930's de Courcy was a confidant of Cabinet ministers and a dining companion of the Duke of Windsor. By the 1960's he was an intimate only of the spy George Blake, with whom he was sharing a table in Wormwood Scrubs. In 1934 de Courcy became secretary of the Imperial Policy Group, which favoured appeasement as the best means of preserving the Empire.
In this capacity he travelled the Continent in the years before Munich, being received by Mussolini and Eduard Benes, president of Czechoslovakia. Neville Chamberlain regularly asked for de Courcy's reports of these interviews, much to the annoyance of the Foreign Office.
In 1938 de Courcy began to write and publish Intelligence Digest, a private subscription newsletter that served as a platform for his well-informed, if defeatist, analysis of the drift to war.
After the war de Courcy continued for 30 years to publish Intelligence Digest and The Weekly Review.
As they enriched him, he began to slip into a life of fantasy. He bought a flat in the Empire State Building and had his Rolls-Royce waterproofed for underwater driving. Things began to go awry in the early 1960's, when de Courcy's scheme to build a garden city in Rhodesia failed and he was unable to return 1 million (pounds) put up by investors. He resorted to fraud and forgery and was sentenced in 1963 to seven years' jail.
In later lifed he styled himself Duc de Grantmesnil. No one appeared to dispute his right to the title. Equally straight-forward was its omission from the Almanach de Gotha.
Extract from the Online Archives of California
Register of the Kenneth Hugh De Courcy Papers
1909 November 6 Born, Oldham, Lancashire, Great Britain
(?) Educated, Kings College School, London
1933 Honary Secretary, unoffical committee on Conservative Party policy, chairman Sir Reginald Banks
1934-1942 (?) Honorary Secretary, Imperial Policy Group
1938-1976 Editor, proprietor of Intelligence Digest
(?) Chairman Ridgeway Courcy and Company
1950 Married Rosemary Catherine Baker
1951-1976 Editor, proprietor of Weekly Review
1953-1964 Member of the committee of the Exangelical Alliance which organized "crusades" by Billy Graham in Great Britain
196? Chairman, Overseas Land Purchasing Trust
1963-1964 Trial and convication for forgery and other offences
1968 Released from prison
1969-1972 Editor, Banker's Digest
1973 Marriage dissolved
1973- Editor, Special Office Brief
1977 Chancellor, Order of the Three Orders
Kenneth married Rosemary Catherine BAKER in Sep 1950 in Eton. (Rosemary Catherine BAKER was born on 26 May 1932.)