After her father's
death in 1911, ten-year-old Catherine Wendell was whisked away from her American roots, to live in Britain.
and with it some dire financial difficulties forced Catherine's courageous mother Marian Fendall Wendall to abandon
her New York home for sanctuary in the village of Sandridge in Hertfordshire, England. It
was here in Sandridge that a wealthy cousin, Gertrude Griffiths offered shelter and safety to Marian and her
four children. Catherine was Marian's third child, there were two older brothers and a younger sister.
As a young woman
Catherine was fair and beautiful, she attracted many suitors. In 1922, through the glorious matchmaking skills of Marian
and Gertrude, Catherine Wendell became wife of Lord Porchester, heir to the Earldom of Carnarvon.
A flashy Society wedding
at St Margaret's Westminster was followed by Catherine becoming Sixth Countess of Carnarvon in 1923. But the marriage proved a hell-hole
for Catherine, her husband Porchey was a swine and adulterer. He had countless affairs, gambled irresponsibly and
treated Catherine badly leaving her physically and mentally abused and scarred.
to pieces, she became a slave to alcohol and lost her spirit and self-respect. In effect she became a social embarrassment.
After a struggle to bring herself back from the brink of near death Catherine's
confidante, friend and saviour was Almina, Fifth Countess of Carnarvon, her most remarkable mother-in-law.
support and help Catherine found an inner strength again, although she had to deal with many other family problems and
overcome the loss of a brother and several close friends.
finally divorced the Sixth Earl ( better known as Porchey Carnarvon) she proved to a singularly brave and
thoughful woman, ( despite taking other hits in her life ).
Catherine ultimately found
some inner happiness and contentment ( again through Almina's guidance ) and a religious conversion
to the Roman Catholic faith. Catherine Wendell found the strength
to show all those who doubted her ( including her closest family ) that she was a fine woman, a worthy mother
and later the good wife of two men who appreciated her love.
Porchey duped Catherine
into marriage, but others were involved in that whole seedy and contrived affair.
of his marriage dimmed Catherine's record as Sixth Countess of Carnarvon. It was a brief one, but as the chatelaine of
Highclere Castle between 1923 and 1935, Catherine was well liked by staff and demonstrated she was an excellent hostess and
contributed greatly to the life of the Estate.
later Sixth Countess of Carnarvon, later Mrs Geoffrey Grenfell, finally Mrs Don Momand died in Switzerland in 1977.