A few years before Sir Robert Telford retired as Managing Director of GEC-Marconi Limited, he called me to his office and asked if I would take over the responsibility of being the contact for the late Guglielmo Marconi's
daughter Princess Elettra who was living in Rome.
As I was at that time Marconi Communication Systems Director of Publicity, my first meeting with Princess Elettra and her Mother Marchese Maria Cristina the widow of Senor Guglielmo Marconi, was at the lEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) conference in London when I was a member of the lEE Committee putting together an international meeting lasting a whole week at lEE Headquarters.
I was Chairman of one of the Committees on the first day of the Conference and in the audience was Marchese Marconi and her daughter Princess Elettra. It was not until after the first half of the meeting concluded and during a lunchtime break, I was able to have conversations with the various speakers who I had introduced as Chairman and had come from countries all over the world, that I was able to have conversations with Marconi's widow and daughter.
Following the Conference I arranged for the Marchese to come to Chelmsford where she visited BBC Essex at their new headquarters in London Road and officially opened the Radio Station and also visited a number of other places in the Chelmsford area associated with Marconi Units.
I was able to visit Rome sometime later and to be entertained at the home of Marchese Marconi at a very splendid area of the City. During this visit I was able to gain knowledge of the family and in particular that Marconi's widow the Marchese, was the daughter of the Master General of the Swiss Guard whose duty was to control the members of the Guard and of course guard the Pope. The residence where the Marchese was living was effectively a Palace and now as I write this story the home of the Marchese daughter Princess Elettra.
Princess Elettra no longer has a husband but her son Prince Guglielmo who recently married an Italian lady, is living close by. Mother and son speak excellent English and during my subsequent visits to Rome, I have been taken by them to many places of interest and also to see some of the early equipment designed by the founder of Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company Limited, Senor Guglielmo Marconi. In particular my visit to the Italian Post Office Museum in Rome was an outstanding example of the early work of Marconi.
I still maintain contact with Princess Elettra by monthly telephone conversations and all being well, by the time this Newsletter is printed, she will have visited Chelmsford once again and be entertained by Anglia Ruskin University.
Although I will not be with Princess Elettra on this visit, I will be in contact with her and her son who is accompanying her. No doubt she will visit Writtle where I organised the creation and installation of The Marconi Window in the Parish Church opened by Prince Guglielmo in 1992.