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Author Anthony Russell launches his memoir of a childhood at Leeds Castle

By Angela Cole

An Englishman’s home is his castle, and for Anthony Russell that actually was true.

The Hon Mr Russell, grandson of Lady Baillie, the last private owner of Leeds Castle, returned to his childhood home in Maidstone to launch a book about growing up at there.

Lady Baillie set up a foundation to run the estate after her death in the 1970s and although the castle is no longer in his family’s ownership, Mr Russell said he still felt at home.

Anthony Russell chats to visitors about his book about Leeds Castle

Accompanied by his wife, Catherine, he said his home in Beverley Hills was modern in comparison, although it has antiques which his grandmother – Granny B as he knew her - had given him before her death.

He said: “It is so beautiful, and Leeds is so welcoming to us. It is a pleasure to come back here. We love all around here, especially Hollingbourne, which is spectacularly beautiful. We love to drive around the countryside around here. We absolutely love Kent.”

His memoir Outrageous Fortune: Growing up at Leeds Castle, tells how he and his brothers and sister grew up living in the Maiden’s Tower.

Anthony Russell launches his book at his former childhood home, Leeds Castle

“Granny B’” had acquired the castle in 1926 with her husband at the time, and she renovated and lovingly restored it over many years. She was a wealthy Anglo-American heiress who loved to throw parties, and many big names of the time came to Leeds for weekends.

Mr Russell added: “Growing up with Leeds Castle as my second home had the less than desirable effect of effortlessly rendering me more spoiled than a Buckingham Palace corgi before I understood the meaning of the word.”

The book is published by Robson Press. Visit www.anthony-russell.com, and for more details about Leeds, go to www.leeds-castle.com

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