| Barbara Cartland was the most prolific and well-loved author of her time. She sold over 1,000 million books, giving her a place in the Guinness book of Records. Her novels of romance and love have been enjoyed by generations in over 36 countries.
Not only was she a successful and well-loved author but she also lived a truly amazing life which spanned two world wars. The following is a brief summary of the life of a truly remarkable and fascinating personality.
Click here for a detailed chronology including many photographs.
Helping OthersDuring the Second World War Barbara Cartland was Chief Lady Welfare Officer in Bedfordshire looking after 20,000 service men and women. She had the idea of gathering as many wedding dresses as she could for hire, so that service brides would have a white dress to wear on their wedding day. She bought 1,000 second hand gowns without coupons for the ATS, the WAAFS and the WRENS and made many brides’ big day, very special. In 1945 Barbara Cartland received the Certificate of Merit from Eastern Command.
In the early 1960’s she campaigned for the rights of gypsies' to have a permanent place to live which resulted in an act of Parliament. One of the first gypsy camps was opened by Barbara Cartland in 1964 and called Barbaraville and there are now 14 in Hertfordshire. This has meant thousands of gypsies and their families have a place to call home and their children can be educated in their local area.
One of Barbara’s passions was fighting for better conditions and salaries for midwives and nurses. Through this cause she became a Dame of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, Chairman of the St John Council in Hertfordshire and Deputy President of the St John Ambulance Brigade.
Other books and recordings As well as her romantic novels she also wrote books on health and vitamins and was a great believer in the healing power of honey and the benefits of vitamins. She also wrote a number of cookery books; the recipes from which were often used in the House of Commons.
Barbara wrote a number of biographies of famous characters from history, including the biography of her brother, Ronald Cartland, who was the first Member of Parliament to be killed in the Second World War. This book has a preface by Sir Winston Churchill.
In 1978 she sang an Album of Love Songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Awards and achievements In 1931 Barbara and two RAF Officers devised and created the first aeroplane-towed glider airmail. In 1984 she received the Bishop Wright Air industry Award at Kennedy Airport USA for her contribution to the development of aviation.
In 1964 Barbara founded the National Association for Health in the UK, of which she was President, as a front for all the Health Stores and for any product made as alternative medicine. This health industry now enjoys a huge turnover each year, with one third going in export.
In January 1988 she received "La Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris", (The Gold Medal of Paris). This is the highest award to be given by the City of Paris for achievement - 25 million books sold in France.
In 1981 Barbara was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List by Her Majesty the Queen, for her contribution to literature and for her work for the Community.
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