See caption
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]



Anonymous. “Human Rights Commission & Marietta Peabody Tree Biography.” PageWise Inc,
Massie, Robert K. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. Ballantine Books, 2003.
Ranft, Bryan. “Beatty, David, First Earl Beatty (1871–1936).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Online, Oxford University Press, 2004.
Staff writer. “Loneliest Man in Chicago.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 7 Apr. 1901, p. 1.
Staff writer. “Marriage of Miss Field.” Chicago Tribune, 2 Jan. 1891, p. 3.
Staff writer. “Countess Beatty Dead.” Gloucester Citizen, 18 July 1932, p. 11.
Staff writer. “Ronald Tree Is Dead in London; Friend of U.S., British Leaders.” New York Times, 15 July 1976, p. 37.