Barbara Cartland is an English writer and publisher born on 9 July 1901 in Birmingham, England. She is the publisher of both contemporary and historical romance novels, the latter set primarily during the Victorian or Edwardian period. Barbara is one of the best-selling authors worldwide of the 20th century. Some of her books, like A Hazards Of Hearts and Duel Of Hearts, have been made into movies too. She has written a total of 723 novels in her career. Barbara Cartland sold more than 750 million copies of her books, though other sources estimate her total sales at more than two billion.
Barbara Cartland was born on 9 July in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. She is the only daughter and the eldest child of British Army Officer Major James Bertram and Mary Hamilton Scobell. She had two brothers, Major Ronald Cartland, a Member of Parliament who served as an Army Major in World War II, and James Anthony Cartland. Both died in war conflict in Flanders.
Barbara Cartland did her schooling at a private girls’ school, The Alice Ottley School, Malvern Girls’ College, and Abbey House, an educational institution in Hampshire.
After 1922, she became successful as a society reporter and began writing romantic fiction. Barbara took author Elinor Glyn as her idol and eventually became his friend.
In 1923, after a year of working as a gossip columnist for the Daily Express, Barbara Cartland published her debut novel, Jigsaw. In the 1920s and 1930s, Cartland was a prominent young hostess in London society, noted for her beauty, energetic charm, and daring parties. Her fashion sense also had a part, and she was one of the first clients of designer Norman Hartnell; she remained a client until he died in 1979.
In the 1950s, Barbara wrote a guide to married life which was banned in Ireland. In 1976, she wrote 23 novels, earning Guinness World Record for most books in one year. Her publishers calculated that since Barbara Cartland’s career began in 1923, she has more than 723 titles in her name.
In the mid-1990s, Vogue called Barbara The Queen of Romance. She became a public figure who spoke against topics like divorce and infidelity.
Barbara Cartland declined 49 marriage proposals. She eventually married Captain Alexander George McCorquodale, on 23 April 1927, a British Army officer from Scotland and heir to a printing fortune. They divorced in 1933. The couple also had a daughter, Raine McCorquodale, born on 9 September 1929.
Barbara Cartland maintained a long friendship with Lord Mountbatten of Burma, whose death in 1979 she said was the “greatest sadness of my life.” She is also the step-grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Death and Legacy
Barbara Cartland passed away in her sleep on 21 May 2000, seven weeks before her 99th birthday. She had dementia and ill health for six months before passing.
Her sons, Ian and Glen McCorquodale were present at her bedside when she died. Raine also visited her mother’s house after her death. Barbara Cartland left a gross estate of £1,139,123.
How old was Barbara Cartland when she died?
Barbara Cartland was 98 years old when she died.
Who inherited Barbara Cartland's estate?
Barbara’s eldest son and heir, Ian McCorquodale, who has remained the custodian of the estate since his mother’s death, co-owning it with brother Glen, fears with mounting maintenance costs they could lose the 19th-century mansion for ever.