Members of the San Luigi Orders: Vida Hambro

Vida Agnes Hambro (1914-2002) was a Dame Grand Officier d’Honneur et Devotion of the Order of the Crown of Thorns, being appointed on 25 July 1955. She was the daughter of Captain William Lancefield and her first marriage was to Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Henry Morrough Chillingworth, RN. On 25 March 1957 she married, as his second wife, Richard Everard Hambro (d. 1967), son of Sir Eric Hambro, KBE. By her first husband, she had three children, and also became stepmother to her second husband’s children.

Her husband, Richard Everard Hambro, was a Officier and Compagnon of the Order of the Crown of Thorns. They had been introduced to the Order when they were both members of the esoteric Avatar spiritual organisation under the direction of Archbishop John van Ryswyck, which was based in the capacious Eldon Lodge in Kensington. Vida Hambro was also a member of van Ryswyk’s Apostolic Church of St Peter.  However, differences of opinion emerged between the Hambros, van Ryswyck and his Chancellor Bishop R. John Luker (who was a Grand Officier of the Order of the Crown of Thorns) concerning the financial administration of the organisations (to which the Hambros had for many years been generous donors), and they resigned from Avatar in consequence.

Although van Ryswyck had at that time exercised a representative role for England in respect of the San Luigi Orders, he had in practice left their administration to Mgr. Luker and taken little active part in their development. Vida Hambro was happy to see the growth of activity that occurred under Mgr. Tull as Grande Prieur from 1961 onwards. In a letter of 1963, she wrote, “We both feel that it is a great honour to belong to such an ancient Order and that it is a really worthwhile thing that can be an instrument for good, and we support the Order wholeheartedly.”

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