Born Lucy Douglas Cochrane in in Boston, Massachusetts in 1920 to an investment banker and his wife. Her brother started calling her “Sissy” which translated into “CZ” with time.
Although known primarily for being a fashionista and hostess to the rich and famous, she dabbled in acting in her early years, appearing in the famous Ziegfeld Follies, and later became a gardener, writer, horsewoman and designer.
Upon marrying Anglo-American polo player Winston Guest in 1947 at Ernest Hemingway‘s home in Havan, Cuba, she joined a formidable family, descended from the famous Dukes of Marlborough who’s ancestral home is Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, one of the best stately homes in the world, and now a World Heritage Site.
On the English side, Sir Winston Churchill, grandson of the 7th Duke of Marlborough and son of Lord Randolph Churchill and American heiress, Jennie Jerome, and American railroad heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt-Spencer-Churchill-Balsan were both relations, Consuelo having been married to Charles Spencer-Churchill, the 9th Duke of Marlborough.
Winston Guest’s parents were Ivor Guest, 1st Baron Wimborne, and Lady Cornelia Henrietta Maria Spencer-Churchill, daughter of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane. Lady Frances was the daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry and Lady Frances Anne Emily Vane-Tempest.
Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, also belonged to an off-shoot of the Spencer-Churchill family. Essentially, it was a fine pedigree for a high society hostess.
Home and family
CZ and Winston Guest had two children, Alexander and Cornelia, and divided their time between homes in New York and Palm Beach, Florida. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor who were the godparents of their children.
As well as being considered one of Truman Capote’s “Swans”, the Guests knew everyone who was anyone, including Cecil Beaton, Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur, Barbara Hutton, Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley and William S. Paley, Gloria Guinness and Thomas “Loel” Guinness, Diego Rivera, Salvador Dalí, Kenneth Paul Block and Andy Warhol.
CZ Guest died in New York in 2003, aged 83.
Don’t miss this post which includes Babe Paley, CZ Guest and Millicent Rogers: Books to buy: “The Power of Style” and “The Power of Glamour” by Annette Tapert