Obituary: Diana Caithness
Thursday 13 January 1994
THE SENSE of grief and shock with which the friends of the Countess of Caithness have greeted her death last Saturday, at the age of 40, is a tribute to her character and to her nature. She possessed life-enhancing qualities. Red-haired, clear-skinned, active, she was certainly a countrywoman. She had courage, energy and a resourcefulness for the loss of which we are all the poorer.
There is a creative, sensitive side to the Coke family of which she had her share. In addition to its hereditary concern with agriculture and country pursuits (her great-great- grandfather was the Norfolk agriculturist Thomas William Coke, first Earl of Leicester), an interest in the arts was combined with her love for dogs and horses.
Soon after her marriage to Malcy Caithness in 1975, she worked as a volunteer in the Ashmolean Museum, dealing with the drawings by JRR Tolkien which had been placed on deposit by his son Christopher and the family's trustees. The drawings, which were subsequently transferred to the Bodleian Library, had never been seen in public before. To Diana Caithness's lot fell the work of ordering and listing the very extensive collection, preparing the formal receipt, and then organising the first exhibition (together with the catalogue), which was held in the Ashmolean from December 1976 until February 1977. It was a great success. The Father Christmas Letters, written to Tolkien's children, were then published for the first time.
She drove, fast, into Oxford from Ranger's Lodge, on the Cornbury estate, where she lived before moving to Finstock and ultimately to Chadlington. (It was a chilly house, heated with Super Sers, and surrounded by pheasants.) She worked efficiently, as briskly as she drove, and without reward. She was delightful company, never self-seeking or assertive but a contributor, acute and discerning: 'the delicious red cabbage has been a source of conversation ever since,' she wrote after one dinner party.
To those who knew Di Caithness in North Oxfordshire, in Norfolk, and elsewhere, is left the memory of a brave and vital spirit.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...
Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...