I opened The Times today to read the obituary of Angela Culme-Seymour. I met Angela in 1983, when she was already 71 years old, although she was very cagey about her age. Still tall and elegant, she lived with her last husband Bulent Rauf in the biggest house on Bitez seafront. Going to visit Angela was like walking into the pages of an Evelyn Waugh novel. The house was full of Bulent Bey's students of the "Esoteric" who were beautiful young people with an "Hon" somewhere in their name and Angela's friends who would gossip wonderfully about British aristocracy and especially about the size of Princess Margaret's bust. Angela was a talented water-colourist and I'd often see in her large straw hat, perched on a stool, painting road-side wild flowers . I visited her once in Dorset where, in her late eighties, she was still painting and selling her work to greetings card companies.
When I was quite new to Turkey and eager to learn, Angela languidly handed me a copy of Lord Kinross' biography of Ataturk saying, "Take this, you might like it. I was married to the author once." The mind-boggling details of Angela's love-life are detailed in the link below so I won't repeat them here. It always amused me to hear the locals call her "Melek Hanim " as she definitely was no angel. One comment will stick in my mind for ever. Discussing her many lovers and husbands, she was asked why her marriages didn't last:
"Because of my uncontrollable infidelity" she replied without batting an aristocratic eyelid.
The funeral of Angela Culme-Seymour will take place in Scotland on Tuesday, 21st February