Lady Grace Drummond-Hay
British journalist, and first woman to circle the earth by air in 1929 (on board the Graf Zeppelin LZ-127), after being a passenger aboard the first transatlantic flight of a civilian passenger Zeppelin in 1928
Grace Lethbridge was the eldest daughter of Sidney Thomas Lethbridge and his wife Grace Emily (née Willis).
She was married in 1920 to Sir Robert Hay Drummond-Hay (1846–1925) at the age of 25, her husband being nearly fifty years older. Sir Robert was born in Tangiers, Morocco and had been the British consul-general for years in Beirut, Lebanon. Sir Robert was previously married to Euphemia Katrina Willis Flemming. Four children were produced in this marriage, Arnold Robert, Edward William, Cecil, and Florence Caroline. The children were all significantly older than their new stepmother, Florence Caroline being 15 years older.
After six years of marriage, Sir Robert died. Lady Drummond-Hay then was 31 years old. As a young aristocratic widow she lived in her apartment in London.
Having contributed to British papers such as The Sphere, she began to write for Hearst papers in the late 1920s. She wrote a series of articles for the Chicago Herald and Examiner, as one of the passengers aboard the first transatlantic flight of a civilian passenger zeppelin in 1928.
She went to war zones such as Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and was a foreign correspondent in Manchuria (China). She worked closely together for many years with her senior colleague Karl von Wiegand. Lady Drummond-Hay was a well-known and respected journalist of the time, known for her extraordinary beauty and wit, and the intelligence and flair of her writing.
During World War II, Lady Drummond-Hay and von Wiegand were interned in a Japanese camp in the Philippines. When they were set free in 1945, she was very ill. They returned to the United States, but during their stay in New York, Lady Drummond-Hay died of coronary thrombosis in the Lexington Hotel.
At her funeral service, many notable people paid their last respects, including William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie presented her with a precious jewel, which was displayed on her body at her funeral. After she was cremated, her ashes were brought to the United Kingdom by von Wiegand.
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