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Countess Beatty photographed in 1915 by H. Walter Barnett
Wikimedia Commons

Ethel Beatty, Countess Beatty (née Field) was a socialite and a member of the aristocracy. The daughter of American millionaire Marshall Field, founder of the American firm Marshall Field’s, she enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. Her mother was Field’s first wife, Nannie Douglas Scott, and she had one full brother, Marshall Field junior.[1]


Ethel married Arthur Tree, son of Lambert Tree, in an opulent ceremony held at the home of her parents, 1905 Prairie Avenue, Chicago, on 1 January 1891.[2] They had one child, Arthur Ronald Lambert Field Tree, commonly known as Ronald Tree, born in Eastbourne on 26 September 1897.[3][4]

Ethel had a secret affair with David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, whom she married on 22 May 1901, ten days after her divorce from Tree was made public. The couple had two children: David, born in Malta on 22 February 1905; and PeterEnglish racehorse owner, businessman and aristocrat, born on 2 April 1910.[5]

According to Robert K. Massie, writing in Castles of Steel, Ethel was a poor mother, abandoning her son Ronald from her first marriage; she also left the children of her second marriage with her husband while she went on a gambling trip to Monte Carlo in 1912.[6]

Death and legacy

Ethel Beatty died in her sleep on 17 July 1932.[7]