Jacqueline Aldine Leslie Castellani, born in Ceylon on January 13 1910, and passed away October 9, 2015.
The Dowager Lady Killearn, who has died aged 105, remained, in old age, as vivacious, colourful and controversial as she had been as the glamorous young wife of Britain’s wartime ambassador to Cairo.
Her mother was a Yorkshire Protestant, but Jacqueline took more after her Italian father, Sir Aldo Castellani, a flamboyant Florentine bacteriologist turned Harley Street doctor who discovered the parasite that transmits sleeping sickness, pioneered various vaccinations and founded the International Society of Dermatology.
Jacqueline’s girlhood was spent in Ceylon, London and Rome, where she was “adopted” during school holidays by Sir Ronald Graham, the childless British ambassador there, one of her father’s closest friends.
A great dancer and a great flirt, in due course she was presented at Court in London, and was one of the outstanding debutantes of her year. Her fragile, porcelain-doll beauty, her exotic and sophisticated background and her vivacity won her many followers.
Lady Killearn is survived by her three children – Victor, Lord Killearn, and her daughters Jacquetta, a noted beauty who married (and later divorced) Peregrine, Earl of St Germans, and Roxana “Bunty” Ross, who scandalised London in 1963 by wearing white Bermuda shorts to her debutante ball, and subsequently married Ian Ross, founder of Radio Caroline.
The Dowager Lady Killearn died on October 9 2015.