Lady Trumpington & Yeoman of the Guard.Lords.AndrewParsonsPA

Lady Trumpington has died at 95, one of those wacky birds that Britain is uniquely able to produce; equal parts minor aristocrat, social climber, obscure politician, party girl, World War II codebuster, Tory bigot and celebrity dingbat turned national treasure. Though she was raised to occupy her station and, in later life, made sure to style her hair like QEII, she had plebeian tastes and a craving for adventure; armed with little more than finishing school and family connections, she wangled a clerk’s job at Bletchley Park, the top-secret codebreaking operation where Alan Turing cracked Germany’s Enigma code while she went dancing every weekend at the hotspots of London. The extreme secrecy at Bletchley proved useful to her political ambitions; as the only person in government who ever got along with Margaret Thatcher, who appointed her a baroness to stick her away in the House of Lords, she occupied a series of little-known positions in government, eventually rising to agriculture minister. She plodded along diligently enough until one day, when a well-meaning peer referred awkwardly to her age, she answered with a two-fingered salute that went viral and made her Britain’s favorite dotty old aunt. All she ever wanted was to be rich and respectable, and meet men; here she’s cutting up with the Yeomen of the Guard. (Andrew Parsons/Press Association)

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