The playboy Earl and a Kennedy

Photograph of Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam and Kick Kennedy by Turtle Bunbury

Peter Wentworth Fitzwilliam, 8th Earl Fitzwilliam (1910-1948), soldier, nobleman and peer, with a seat in the House of Lords.

He was born at Wentworth Woodhouse, just over the Sheffield border with Rotherham, married Olive Dorothea Plunket in 1933, and succeeded to the earldom in 1943.

In later years his marriage was said to be in disarray and heading for divorce.

His life was engulfed with scandal and, despite being married, he fell in love with Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy (Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington), sister of future US President John F. Kennedy, at the end of the Second World War after meeting the 28-year-old widow at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Kennedy patriarch Joe had been persuaded to consider them marrying, but tragedy struck in 1948 as they took a premeeting holiday, and their plane crashed in France during a storm.

He left no son and the peerage moved to his second cousin once-removed Eric Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, but his fortune, including half the Wentworth Woodhouse estate, the Coolattin estate in County Wicklow and a large part of the Fitzwilliam art collection, was inherited by his 13-year-old daughter, Lady Juliet Tadgell.

Fitzwilliam is portrayed by Thomas Gibson in the television mini-series The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990) and by Larry Carter in the film Lives and Deaths of the Poets (2011).