Countess Marianne “Bunny” Esterházy (1938-2021)

Countess Marianne Esterhazy in 1998.

Announcements in The Times and The Telegraph have noted that Countess Marianne “Bunny” Esterházy died on 27 November 2021 at the age of eighty-two. 

 
The death announcement in The Telegraph.
The countess was a private person, with many fascinating connections, and she will surely be deeply missed by her surviving son, her grandchildren, her family, and her friends.

 

Bunny’s mother Etti.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Central Press.

Born on 12 December 1938 at Budapest, Countess Mária Anna “Bunny” Berta Felicie Johanna Ghislaine Theodora Huberta Georgina Helene Genoveva Esterházy was the first and only child of Count Mária Tamás “Tommy” Pál Esterházy (1901-1964) and Countess Maria “Etti” von Wurmbrand-Stuppach (1914-2003), who married in 1938 and divorced in 1944. Bunny’s mother Etti was married six times. Etti’s memoirs, Horses and Husbands, are a fascinating read; they were published after her death with the great assistance of royal and noble biographer Hugo Vickers. 

Countess Bunny Esterhazy in 1956.

In her memoirs, Bunny’s mother recalls with a touching dose of self-reflection: “We had one daughter… Of course, I did not look after Bunny myself when she was little. We had lovely English nurses. One of them had been nurse to the Queen and Princess Margaret and she loved dogs. So there were always dogs in the nursery. We were not very happy about that, but she assured us that in England babies and dogs were always together. It was so funny. I know that I was neither a good nor attentive mother. Both Tommy and I adored Bunny, but we either left her with the nannies or despatched her to stay with friends.” Despite the divorce of Bunny’s parents, it is clear from her mother’s memoirs (which are really a must have!) that they both fiercely loved their daughter, in their own way. In April 1956, Bunny’s mother Etti and her stepfather Arpad Plesch hosted a ball for the young countess at Claridges in London. The then seventeen year-old Bunny had been presented to society the previous month. In 1957 and 1958, it was reported that Bunny Esterhazy was a good friend of the Aga Khan, who was only a few years older than her. 

Dominic Elliot and Bunny Esterhazy upon their engagement.

On 4 May 1962 at London, Countess Bunny Esterházy married London 4 May 1969 the Honourable George Esmond Dominic Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound (1931-2018), the youngest son of the 5th Earl of Minto. The wedding of the Countess and the son of the Earl of Minto was attended by The Queen as well as her sister The Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon in addition to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. Dominic Elliot had been a youthful beau of Princess Margaret. The reception following the wedding was held at Lord Astor’s Carlton House Terrace alongside the Mall. 

Dominic Elliot and Bunny Esterhazy on their wedding day.

The Elliots went on to have two children: sons Alexander (1963-1985) and Esmond (b.1965). Dominic and Bunny divorced in 1972, having separated some years before. In 1970, Bunny Esterhazy was romantically linked to the Earl of Carnarvon, a connection which her mother Etti strongly denied when asked for comment. In 1974, Bunny Esterhazy and Keith Mason, 4th Baron Blackford, were reported to be in a relationship; however, this did not result in a marriage.

Countess Bunny Esterhazy with the then Marchioness of Tavistock (later Duchess of Bedford), 1980.
Photo (c) ANL/Shutterstock.

May the Countess Rest in Peace.

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