Saturday, April 16, 2022

Hon Mrs [Joan] Elizabeth Aitken 1936-2022

 The Hon Mrs [Joan] Elizabeth Aitken, who died 15 April, 2022, aged 85, was the socialite wife of former Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken, and previously wife of actors Richard Harris and Sir Rex Harrison.

She was born 1 May, 1936, as Joan Elizabeth Rees-Williams, the daughter of David Rees-Williams, MP, PC [1903-76], Labour MP for South Croydon, 1945-50, and a member of the U.K. Mission to Sarawak in 1946.  He was chairman of the Burma Frontier Areas Committee Enquiry in 1947, and held the office of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Colonies in 1947. Rees-Williams held the office of U.K. Delegate to the United Nations from 1950, and was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Commonwealth Relations in 1950, and raised to the peerage as Baron Ogmore in that year. Her mother was Alice Alexandra Constance Wills [who died in 1998].

Elizabeth Rees-Williams married firstly, 9 February, 1957 [divorced 1969], the actor of stage and screen Richard St John Harris [1930-2002], by whom she had issue, three sons, Damian, Jared, and Jamie. She married secondly, 26 Aug, 1971 [divorced 1975], as his fifth wife, the actor of stage and screen Rex Carey Harrison [later Sir Rex Harrison] [1908-90]. She married thirdly, in 1981 [divorced 1985], as his second wife, Peter Michael Aitken [born 20 February, 1946], scion of the Barons Beaverbrook. She resumed the surname of Harris by deed poll in 1986. She married fourthly, 25 June, 2003, as his second wife, Jonathan William Patrick Aitken [born 30 Aug, 1942], cousin of her third husband, scion of the Barons Beaverbrook.

Elizabeth Aitken is survived by her fourth husband and her three sons, Damian Harris [born 2 Aug 1958], Jared Harris [born 24 Aug 1961], and Jamie Harris [born 15 May, 1963].


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