Nadine, Countess of Shrewsbury and Waterford, a famed opera singer and participant in a sensational divorce case, died Feb. 19 in Leighton Buzzard, north of London. She was 90.
In 1954, when she was 41 and the mother of six children, the countess made her debut as a soprano under the name Nadine Talbot in a recital in London at Wigmore Hall.
Three years later, after nursing her husband, John George Charles Henry Alton Alexander Chetwynd, the 21st Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford, through polio, she helped start festival Opera at Ingestre. Ingestre Hall was the family’s estate in Staffordshire in central England.
The festival was held for a second year but then ceased because Lord Shrewsbury sued his wife, then 45, for adultery with his former private secretary, Anthony Lowther, 27. The divorce hearing lasted 18 days, and the news media made much of details like reports that the countess had been seen kissing her lover.
The judge concluded there was some evidence of an affair, but he refused the earl’s petition for divorce, because the earl had committed adultery, too.
In 1960, the earl sold Ingestre Hall and its contents and moved to Madeira with Nina Mortlock. The Shrewsburys were finally divorced in 1962, and Lady Shrewsbury resumed her singing career. The earl married Mortlock and moved to Switzerland.
Lady Shrewsbury is survived by two sons and four daughters.