Rosie Paterson selects a Frontispiece from each decade. Photographs from the Country Life Picture Library.
Girls in pearls, babes of the week, English roses, first ladies: the Frontispiece is arguably one of the most iconic pages in magazine publishing. Initially conceived to portray members of the aristocracy and introduce young women into Society, the page has taken many forms, evolving to commemorate engagements, achievements, charitable endeavours and burgeoning careers.
Princess Henry of Pless (June 26, 1897)
An Edwardian Society belle, who regularly appeared in gossip columns of the day
Pauline Duleep Singh (January 21, 1911)
The daughter, from his second marriage, of the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire, who gave the Koh-i-noor diamond to Princess Victoria
Viscountess Astor (November 1, 1919)
Nancy Astor was the first woman to sit in Parliament as an MP
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TRH Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret (April 21, 1934)
The sisters were photographed together on the occasion of the future Queen’s eighth birthday
The Hon Deborah Mitford (March 15, 1941)
Photographed shortly after the announcement of her engagement to Lord Andrew Cavendish of Chatsworth, Derbyshire, the future 11th Duke of Devonshire
Lady Browning (Daphne Du Maurier) (July 18, 1947)
The English author and playwright, who went on to write Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman’s Creek
Sheila Willcox (October 31, 1957)
She set new, professional standards in eventing and for women in sport and scored a record hat-trick of Badminton Horse Trials victories (1957–59)
Anne McCormick (June 7, 1971)
The first woman to appear on the Frontispiece with bare shoulders, albeit with the requisite string of pearls
Lady Helen Windsor (April 29, 1982)
The daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent was photographed to mark her 18th birthday
Miss Jemma Kidd (April 13, 1995)
Jemma went on to work as a make-up artist and model before marrying Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Douro, in 2005. Their children appeared on the Frontispiece with their cousins and grandparents—the Duke and Duchess of Wellington—on June 17, 2015, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo
Miss Alicia Rountree (April 11, 2002)
Since appearing on the Frontispiece, Alicia has modelled for Victoria’s Secret and created a ballet fitness app. She is also a certified nutritionist and successful restauranteur
Daisy and Phoebe Knatchbull (May 20, 2015)
The daughters of Philip Knatchbull, CEO of the Curzon World, the UK’s leading independent film distributor and cinema operator, and great-grand-daughters of Lord Mountbatten
It's not just girls in pearls that grace our frontispiece.
We look back in the Country Life archive to see some of the best frontispiece pictures featuring Queen Elizabeth II.