Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte, DBE

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Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte

Death: 1985
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Rupert D'Oyly Carte and Lady Dorothy D'Oyly Carte (Gathorne-Hardy)
Ex-wife of John Gathorne-Hardy, 4th Earl of Cranbrook, CBE

Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte, DBE

Photo: with George Baker at a Gilbert and Sullivan Society celebration in 1964


Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte, DBE (25 March 1908 – 2 May 1985), was the granddaughter of impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte and the only daughter of Rupert D'Oyly Carte. She was head of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1948 until 1982.

Though as a child she was not enthusiastic about Gilbert and Sullivan, after her father's death in 1948, Bridget D'Oyly Carte inherited the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and controlled the copyrights to the joint works of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, as well as all of her family's business interests. She had begun to assist her father in managing the Savoy Hotel in 1933, also undertaking child welfare work.

She hired Frederic Lloyd as general manager of the opera company in 1951 and moved to keep the Savoy operas fresh, marketing them as a bridge between popular and classical music. After the copyrights to the Gilbert and Sullivan works expired in 1961, she transferred the opera company to a charitable trust that she headed. Mounting losses, and the refusal of the Arts Council to provide a grant, forced the closure of the company in 1982, although the company re-formed after Carte's death and mounted several productions up to 2003.

In 1972, Carte founded the D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust to support charitable causes in the fields of the arts, medical welfare and the environment. She was created a DBE in 1975. With no children of her own or surviving siblings, she was the end of her family line.

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Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte, DBE's Timeline