An Unlikely Countess

Louise Carpenter

Randolph Stewart was lobotomized as a teenager after a crude diagnosis of schizophrenia. When the operation went wrong, he was hidden away by his aristocratic parents in a mental institution and then taken in by a sect of monks. By the time Lily Budge met him in 1975, he appeared a shy and lonely tramp. In reality he was the future Earl of Galloway, heir to a fortune and a title considered to be linchpin of the Scottish establishment. Lily, an extroverted character from a working-class family, would join him in a powerful bond of love that challenged conventions, made national headlines, and led to enormous heartache.

A vibrant portrait of 20th-century Scotland, ‘An Unlikely Countess’ is also a profile of two unforgettable characters, and the doomed love that they shared.

Reviews of An Unlikely Countess

  • ‘A spirited and sensitive account of one of the strangest lives imaginable. Louise Carpenter’s portrait of the life of Lily Budge is a classic of its kind: elegantly written, with a rare eye for detail and a shrewd and warm understanding of its extraordinary subject.’ William Boyd

    ‘Louise Carpenter tells this sensational story without ever exaggerating its more eye-catching excesses. She is sensitive to all sides…a serious and profoundly moving book.’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘An entertaining and moving memorial to [Lily’s] indomitable, colourful character. Wonderful.’ Telegraph

    ‘Louise Carpenter is a biographer of real promise…Her account of this oddly matched couple struggling to get along in Britain’s high society is often amusing, sometimes touching…Painstakingly researched and very readable.’ Scottish Herald