Letter: Working holidays of a marquess

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Sir: In his interview of my brother, Lord Christopher Thynne ('The beastly business of Longleat', 3 July), Jim White offensively suggests that I was 'on holiday in St Tropez' while my father lay dying. I had sought my stepmother's advice before departing for the South of France, where I go every year during the summer months for a work retreat. She advised me not to delay my departure, in that my father might linger on for weeks, or even months. She thought life should carry on as normal, and that I should return when summoned.

I know that, in the past, my brother has told the press that the difference between the two of us is that I take holidays down in St Tropez. But I would like to point out that during these 'holidays', I frequently write as much as 100,000 words of autobiography in addition to painting perhaps 10 or 20 inserts for incrustration within my murals at Longleat.

I have spent a lifetime on these endeavours and they should not be belittled as mere vacational frivolity. Can Jim White truthfully claim to have worked any harder during the summer months?

He also infers that I chose not to get involved in the business of running Longleat. This is untrue. My various attempts to persuade my father to replace my brother as manager and to enter into a partnership with myself, were all rebuffed. But that was his choice, and not mine.

There were additional errors in your previous report by Ian MacKinnon of my accession to the marquisate (1 July). He was wrong in stating that my father opposed the Center Parcs scheme that I am currently supporting (for the construction of a 650-villa holiday village in the woods a mile away from Longleat). My father also supported the scheme.

Ian MacKinnon was also wrong in stating that I dropped the final 'E' from the family name of Thynn(e), in an effort to distance myself from the rest of the family. The reasons (which I did publicise at the time) were twofold: to revert to the original spelling of the name, and to arrest the shift in its pronunciation, which is gradually rhyming it with pine instead of pin.

Yours faithfully,

BATH

Longleat House

Warminster,

Wiltshire

6 July

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