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Penelope (née Chetwode), Lady Betjeman

(1910-1986), Author as 'Penelope Chetwode'; wife of Sir John Betjeman; daughter of 1st Baron Chetwode and 7th Baronet of Oakley

Sitter in 14 portraits
Penelope Chetwode grew up in northern India. She married poet and writer John Betjeman in secret but within a year she was abroad, studying in Berlin, while he was having an affair. Animals interested her more than humans. Moving to Berkshire, goats and chickens roamed freely through the house. She converted to Catholicism, having an affair with novelist Evelyn Waugh. Having published a successful book about a Spanish journey with a donkey, in the 1960s she revisited the scenes of her Indian childhood. Her trek from Shimla to the head of the Rohtang Pass was recorded in Kulu: The End of the Habitable World (1972). She continued leading treks in the area, finally dying there.

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Penelope (née Chetwode), Lady Betjeman; Sir John Betjeman, by P.A. Reuter Photos Ltd - NPG x194234

Penelope (née Chetwode), Lady Betjeman; Sir John Betjeman

by P.A. Reuter Photos Ltd
vintage print, 15 March 1960
NPG x194234

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Dr. Murray B. Woldman. I was a friend of Lady Betjeman and knew her in India and England in the 1960s.

01 October 2020, 14:05

Penelope lived at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, United Provinces, India while her father Field Marshal Baron Philip Chetwode, 7th Baronet, was the first Commandant there from 1932 to 1934.

Caroline Ferguson

17 April 2018, 17:57

Penelope is a distant cousin of the literary Sitwells - her paternal grandmother is Susan Alice Sitwell, also John Julius Norwich - her mother's 1st cousin Charles Paget married JJ's aunt Victoria Manners. A cousin of the notorious Henry Cyril Paget(subject of Seriol Davies How to win against History) and HIS cousin Bertha Francis Paget married the uncle of novelist Mary Farmar/Wesley (Camomile Lawn)...