The lonely death of Lady Lucan is another reminder that people do fall out with their children and that we are all at the mercy of the vagaries of life

By Nina Steele 

Instead of bringing them together, the tragic event that led to the disappearance of Lord Lucan on November 7, 1974, tore his family apart. The estrangement of Lady Lucan from the 3 children she had with Lord Lucan, 2 daughters and a son, is as a direct result of these events. She lost custody of all the children in 1982. Her sister Christina and her late husband Bill Shand Kydd, became the children’s legal guardians. The children are now aged 47, 50 and 52 respectively.

Whenever I read about this story, I cannot help being reminded of how unpredictable life can be. None of those involved in this sorry saga could have predicted that things would turn out the way they did. For the children to never know what really happened to their father and then for their relationship with their mother to break down so spectacularly. Credit has to be given to Christina and her late husband Bill Shand Kydd, for the effort they must have put in, in order to make sure that the children didn’t end up completely messed up. That they, the children, have gone on to be successful in their own rights, says a lot about the Shand Kydds.

Which brings me back to Lady Lucan herself. It was clear from some of the interviews she gave during her life, that the estrangement had left her a broken woman. She is said to have never met any of her 5 grandchildren and that “neither did she even know the identity of her eldest daughter’s husband”. Here was a woman who had what some people consider to be the one thing that makes a life worthwhile and will make you happy: children, yet, by the time of her death, she was anything but happy.

She tried her best whenever she was interviewed to point out that she didn’t need her children in her life and that she was ok on her own. There may have been some truth in that. However, there is no escaping the fact that instead of bringing her joy, as we are made to believe is what happens when you have children, she spent almost 40 years of her life alone and bitter, as a result of her estrangement from her children. The story of her life is a stark reminder, once again, that being a parent gives no one an advantage as far as later life is concerned. Life is full of surprises and unless one has a gift for seeing clearly what the future holds, the best thing for everyone to do, regardless of their personal circumstances, is to plan for old age and then hope for the best.

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