Our own Grande Dame, Olivia Mary de Havilland DBE celebrates her 104th birthday today. In June 2017, two weeks before her 101st birthday, de Havilland was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to drama. She is the oldest woman ever to receive the honour. In a statement, she called it “the most gratifying of birthday presents”. Taken in 1970, the photograph below, depicts Miss de Havilland at National Trust of Guernsey’s first ‘Guernsey Evening’ at the Guernsey Folk Museum Courtyard on Monday 6th July.
“Gracing this delightful occasion was Olivia de Havilland the famous actress of Guernsey descent. The Bailiff and Lady Arnold were there with Lieutenant Colonel FG McCartney, President of the National Trust of Guernsey which sponsored the event. Representatives of La Société Guernesiaise, Count Blücher (whose residence Havilland Hall was the home of Miss de Havilland’s ancestors), Miss M Bonamy-Collings and a great many more, with visitors included. Miss de Havilland arrived by carriage, one of the Museum’s exhibits. It was driven by Miss DC Meldrum and later, it was available for carriage drives around the park, with another horse-drawn conveyance. Miss de Havilland was accompanied by Sir William and Lady Arnold and Mr CH de Sausmarez. Miss D Heaume greeted Miss de Havilland in Guernsey French and for the benefit of the uninformed, Mr de Sausmarez translated her words. She welcomed all and said she hoped they would have a happy evening.” – The Guernsey Evening Press and Star
A Dior party dress, made for Olivia de Havilland and worn at an unknown event in the 1960’s, forms part of the National Trust of Guernsey Costume Collection. Regularly exhibited – but not currently – it will undoubtedly form part of a costume showcase in the future. Many happy returns to Dame Olivia de Havilland!