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Vol 58 No 20

Published 6th October 2017

The Duke of Richmond, 1929-2017

We are saddened to hear of the death of Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, on 1 September, which marks the passing of an era for Africa Confidential.

Gordon-Lennox was the last of the team which founded Africa Confidential in 1960. Like the others, James Lemkin CBE, Lord John Vernon and Charles Janson, Gordon-Lennox had strong ties to Africa through family associations and work. Launching the newsletter in the year that British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan gave his 'Wind of Change' speech in South Africa's parliament setting out an agenda for decolonisation and reform, the founders said they wanted to produce 'something reasonably objective'. 

Janson, a former Paris correspondent for The Economist, told successive editors of the newsletter that its job was  'to take Africa seriously'. Although never directly engaged in editorial matters, Gordon-Lennox suggested that coverage could be broadened to include demography, educational development and culture. A chartered accountant, Gordon-Lennox, with Lemkin, a senior lawyer, oversaw the business affairs of Miramoor, the company that owned Africa Confidential until its sale to Blackwell Publishing in 1994.

A thoroughly modern aristocrat, Gordon-Lennox and his wife Susan Grenville-Grey had five children and adopted two mixed-race daughters: Nimmy, whose father was a musician from South Africa, and Maria, whose father was from Ghana. Nimmy, a celebrated actress, has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared in a succession of television dramas.

Over the last three decades, Gordon-Lennox and his son Charles focused on improving the management of the estate, in the family for over three centuries, as well as the Goodwood racecourse, five miles north of Chichester, West Sussex. 'Glorious Goodwood' remains a key fixture in the horse-racing calendar. They also reintroduced motor-racing to Goodwood: an event known as Goodwood Festival of Speed was launched in 2010 and soon became commercially successful.

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