Obituary: Earl Cawdor

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The Independent Online
HUGH CAWDOR was an aristocrat who made the breed worthwhile, writes Anthony Blond. He had the noble qualities of courage, courtesy, generosity, style and disdain, like the Duc de Saint-Simon, for literary renown. He had an infinite capacity for taking pains in private matters. He also had noble defects, partiality to the bottle - usually a good bottle - connoisseurship of bad behaviour and a thorough indulgence in the good things of life. His passage down St James's Street on his visits to his shirtmaker, his cigar supplier and his wine merchant was a noble rite and if, by mistake, he performed it twice in the same day, none of them commented.

Despite this sort of carry-on, Hugh was no snob. I once told a 'guinea- pig', an airman whose burnt face had been repaired by Archie McIndoe, to call at Cawdor on his highland tour by caravan and he wrote to me that he had been shown round the house, surely one of the most glamorous in Europe, with every object wittily captioned in his lordship's calligraphic hand, immediately he announced himself.

Nothing in Hugh Cawdor's elegant form indicated a skilful satirist. I think of him after dinner at Cawdor reciting his Dunciad on the wedding of Patrick Lichfield to the daughter of the Duke of Westminster, and remember watching his stony face disintegrate every now and again into delighted and delightful laughter.