25 September 2011

{The Man of the Castle}

In the 1960s Mariga Guinness made Leixlip Castle an unforgettable place: a solid, four-towered mediaeval castle converted in the early 18th century with huge, thick-barred windows and spacious, simple rooms looking down to the Liffey; a massive front door that was never locked; and inside an inspired assembly of mainly Irish 18th-century furniture and pictures, put together and set off with a sense of color and occasion, a mixture of informality and showmanship, to make a setting in which it seemed that anything could happen and anyone might turn up.

               He was the second son of the author and brewer Bryan Guinness, 2nd Baron Moyne and Diana Mitford. He was educated at Eton, Gordonstoun and Christ Church, Oxford. He and his first wife, Mariga (the former Princess Marie Gabrielle of Urach), founded the Irish Georgian Society in April 1958 to help to preserve Irish architecture of all periods. This was timely as the Irish planning
laws were enacted only from 1963.

Nancy Mitford (Desmonds´mother)


Bryan Guiness (Desmond´s father)

                        Married at Oxford in 1954 to Princess Henriette Marie-Gabrielle ("Mariga") von Urach, daughter of Prince Albrecht von Urach and a granddaughter of King Mindaugas II of Lithuania, by whom he had a son, Patrick Desmond Carl-Alexander, and a daughter, Marina. Through Patrick he is a grandfather of the fashion model Jasmine Guinness.

Desmond and Henriette in their wedding day. 1954.
Desmond with his children: Marina and Patrick. Photo taked by Slim Aarons in Ireland 1963.
Leixlip Castle living-room.
Equestrian stuffs of a countryside castle.
Morning light through the gothic window.

In 1958 he bought Leixlip Castle, Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland, where he continues to live with his second wife, the former Penelope Cuthbertson, whom he married in 1984. As a member of the extended Guinness family he has a number of well-known relatives, such as Garech Browne. He has been Master of the North Kildare Harriers.

Desmond Guiness today. His castle behind.
In his despatch in the castle.
Proud of his irish history.

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