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Obituary: Baroness de Reuter

Marguerite, Baroness de Reuter, the last of the Reuters, died on Sunday aged 96. The Reuter Barony is now extinct.

She was the widow of Oliver George Paul Louis Gordon, 4th Baron de Reuter (1894-1968), whose grandfather Paul Julius Reuter established his news service in London in 1851. They married on 4 December 1937.

The Barony was granted by Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, brother of Queen Victoria's Consort Prince Albert, in 1871. Queen Victoria formally recognised the German title as carrying the privileges of the foreign nobility in England in 1891. Reuters' founder was born in Germany in 1816 and became a naturalised British subject in 1857.

As the title passes down the male line exclusively and as all three grandsons of Paul Julius de Reuter were childless, it becomes extinct on the death of the Baroness.

"The name dies with her," said her friend Michael Nelson, former general manager.

Another close friend, John Fox, said the baroness had suffered successive strokes late last year. She died in a French old people's home on the border with Monaco.

He said Swiss-born Marguerite, a widow for more than 40 years, was intensely proud of the family link with Reuters, and of the British nationality she acquired through her husband.

The Reuter family's direct connection with the company ended on 18 April 1915 when the founder's son, Baron Herbert de Reuter, 63, shot himself three days after the sudden death of his wife. Hubert de Reuter, his only son, thus became the 3rd Baron. He served as a private in the Black Watch regiment of the British Army and was killed by machine-gun fire whilst carrying wounded men during the Battle of the Somme on 13 November 1916, five days before the end of that battle.

His cousin Oliver then became the 4th Baron.

Last year Reuters, which had already moved out of 85 Fleet Street, its headquarters since 1939, was taken over by Thomson, the Canadian media group.

Thomson Reuters’ chief executive Tom Glocer said he was saddened to hear of the baroness's death. He added:

"Although the founding family of Reuters were no longer significant shareholders in the company, the baroness did notably attend a service at St Bride's Church, London, to mark Reuters' historic move from Fleet Street to Canary Wharf in 2005."

The baroness was special guest at the Farewell to Fleet Street service. 

Marguerite was born on 14 July 1912, the daughter of George Uehlinger of Neunkirch, Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Friends remembered her as a generous woman who spoke numerous languages, loved bridge, opera and ballet, and enjoyed skiing until well into her 70s.

Known to her English friends as Daisy, she long divided her time between Monte Carlo and Lausanne.

"She was a very warm-hearted, hospitable person - generous, philanthropic, a great supporter of the arts and music. She was always immaculately turned out: elegant, refined and beautiful, with the most angelic smile," Fox said.

He said Marguerite would be cremated in Lausanne and her ashes interred there with the remains of her husband.

Postscript: The funeral and cremation of Baroness de Reuter was at the Monaco Athenae on Thursday 29 January.

The service was attended by the nephew of the Baroness, Paul Dunner, and about a dozen friends, mostly from Saint Paul’s Anglican Church whose American rector Fr Walter Raymond conducted the service.

Nelson gave the address.

A wreath from the company carried a “Thomson Reuters” banner. It marked the end of an era. ■