CLARISSA Eden, the ninth and last daughter of Lord Mountbatten, Countess of Wessex, died on June 13, 2018. She was 101.
The news, announced in a family statement obtained by The Washington Post, comes after a health scare for his daughter.
The statement said: “After many years of difficult illness, Clarissa died peacefully in her sleep this morning. She was 101.”
Eden, who was renowned for her temper, often seemed on the brink of a fistfight. During one apparent meltdown in 1990, she described a “terrible failure” of Britain’s Parliament and told the Telegraph: “I think we should elect one Prime Minister. Cut the fat out of all of them.”
In response, the publication described her as “a ruling class manqué.”
“At 101, Clarissa had nothing to prove. She and her husband were thoroughly modern in their attitudes to hygiene and today’s early morning Botox injections. They had two daughters in their early 30s. In the later years, Clarissa was a dab hand at knitting.”
A lithe and wryly acerbic beauty, she always dressed the part of the social graces at a time when women of a certain stature wore tweed skirts and fine lace blouses with coordinating lace necklaces.
In the United States, she was noted for her poised career as a communications consultant to several political giants, including President Richard Nixon, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
But her most important role was as an adviser to Prince Charles and Prince William in their support of mental health issues.
“I feel more than ever the important role that mental health plays in the nation,” she told the U.K.’s Sunday Times in 2016. “Over the years I have become quite sensitive about it.”
Stressed-out children, she said, “show a much more destructive personality than those who are confident.”
Still, she was not shy of public warring, as when she defied a court order on the grounds of age and ill health not to have a root canal.
The “Shakespeare and isles” alumna was born Clarissa Kay Lane on April 3, 1917, in Whatford-on-Thames, England. Her parents were the 8th Earl of Berkeley and his wife, the Countess of Wessex.
Raised at home with her maternal grandparents, Lord Auckland and Lady Veronica Mountbatten (the sister of Queen Elizabeth II) in the aristocratic neighborhood of Oakham, she attended the elite public school, Sherborne, the following year.
As a young woman, she was determined to live an independent life despite her royal lineage. She liked to brag that she owned the only poker machine to have been operated by the British army during World War II.
During the tumultuous London Blitz of 1940, the charge of 3,000 machines, along with an ammunition truck, were kept intact in the Sussex county council offices on London’s Cheapside.
After her parents’ divorce, she was raised by a succession of relatives. It was during the years of her mother’s unemployed status that she gravitated toward social and intellectual pursuits.
Eden later admitted that she tended to adopt a bitter, personality-lycoupled attitude toward the world.
“I feel that I’ve left a lot of upset about my childhood behind,” she told the BBC in 1989. “I feel what I’ve said in the past was hurtful.”
Her own children say her attention was drawn to social causes, such as disability rights and environmental issues, because of her ethical upbringing and political awakening.
When the second Earl of Chesterdemont IV died of skin cancer at age 57, and Prince Richard V, who had been born while her father was still alive, died at 32 of lung cancer, Eden remarked that she was the only royal grandchild whose “beautiful, loyal, loving parents lived to meet you in your great adolescence.”
“My own parents weren’t hurt by me saying I was going to be an actress,” she said. “No one cared.”
Besides her husband of 70 years, David Cushing, a landscape architect, and the grandchildren she had with him, survivors include her son, Rod Eden, and daughter, Gilliana Cushing.