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Lady Caroline Blackwood photographed by Walker Evans
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Lady Caroline was born in London to a wealthy, aristocratic Anglo-Irish family. Her parents were Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 4th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, and his wife Maureen Guinness, the brewery heiress. After what she called being "scantily educated" at boarding schools in England and Switzerland, and at a finishing school in Oxford, she made her debut in society at an extravagant ball in 1949. In the 1950s, she was a striking figure in London's bohemian circles. She became an artists' muse, journalist, novelist, and writer. Her debut novel The Stepdaughter (1976) received much critical acclaim and won the David Higham Prize for best first novel. Great Granny Webster (1977). partly derived on her own miserable childhood, was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Other books included
The Fate of Mary Rose (1981), the collection of short stories Good Night Sweet Ladies (1983), and Corrigan (1984). The Last of the Duchess, a nonfiction work about the Duchess of Windsor and her lawyer, Suzanne Blum, was completed in 1980 but could not be published until after the latter's death in 1995. Caroline was married three times and had four children: daughters Natalya, Evgenia, and Ivana, and son Sheridan. See her biography, Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood by Nancy Schoenberger.