Queer Places:
The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, Savoy Hill, London WC2R 0DA, Regno Unito
Marienruh, 367 River Rd, Rhinebeck, NY 12572, Stati Uniti
219 E 61st St, New York, NY 10065, Stati Uniti
Rhinebeck Cemetery, 3 Mill Rd, Rhinebeck, NY 12572, Stati Uniti

Ava Alice Muriel Astor (July 7, 1902 – July 19, 1956) was an American heiress, socialite, and member of the Astor family.[3] She was the daughter of John Jacob Astor IV and Ava Lowle Willing, and sister of Vincent Astor.

Ava was born on July 7, 1902 in Manhattan, New York. She was the only daughter of Colonel John Jacob "Jack" Astor IV (1864–1912) and Ava Lowle Willing (1868–1958). Her paternal grandparents were real estate businessman and race horse breeder/owner William Backhouse Astor, Jr. (1829–1892) and socialite Caroline Webster "Lina" Schermerhorn (1830–1908), while her maternal grandparents were businessman Edward Shippen Willing (1822–1906) and socialite Alice Bell Barton (1833–1903).[4]

external image II_Queen's%20Chapel,%20London,%20UK.JPG
The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy

On July 24, 1924, Ava Astor married Prince Sergei Platonovich "Serge" Obolensky, son of General Platon Sergeyevich Obolensky and Maria Konstantinovna Naryshkina, at Savoy Chapel in London. The marriage was considered the event of the season in England that year. Her brother Vincent gave her a Palladian Revival stone residence on his estate near Rhinebeck, New York. The house was north of his own "Ferncliff Casino" ("Astor Courts") and also overlooked the Hudson River.[5] Ava named it "Marienruh" and retained it through her life.[6] Before divorcing Serge in 1932, they had two children:

On January 21, 1933, she married Raimund von Hofmannsthal (1906–1974), son of Gertrud Schlesinger and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, an Austrian novelist, librettist, and dramatist. The couple was married in the city court of Newark, New Jersey.[10] Together, the couple had a daughter:

From 1936–1937, she had an affair with English choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton (1904–1988), despite the fact that he was gay. After the affair ended, her love for him continued, though she had two subsequent marriages, both to gay Englishmen.[13] Ava and Raimund eventually divorced in 1939, and Raimund later married Lady Elizabeth Paget.[14]

On March 27, 1940, she married Philip John Ryves Harding (1906–1972), a journalist, in Faversham, England.[14] At the time of their wedding, Harding, a cousing of Maxwell Eley, was serving with an anti-aircraft battery in the British Army.[14] Before their divorce in 1945, they had one daughter:

On May 12, 1946, she had her fourth and final marriage to David Pleydell-Bouverie (b. 1911-1994), the grandson of William Pleydell-Bouverie, 5th Earl of Radnor, in Reading, Vermont.[15] Pleydell-Bouverie was an architect who studied at Charter House College in England.[15] The couple resided in New York City and Glen Ellen, California, before divorcing in 1952.[16]


219 E 61st St, New York

Astor died of a stroke in her East Sixty-First Street apartment, Manhattan, New York City, on July 19, 1956 at age 54.[3] She predeceased her mother by two years.[4] She was a patron of the arts, including the ballet companies of London and New York City.

Her will was admitted to probate on November 5, 1956, in Manhattan Surrogate Court. Her assets, totaling $5,305,000, (equivalent to approximately $47,751,493 in 2017 dollars)[2] were divided among her four children.[17] At her mother's death in 1958, her children received an additional $2,500,000 (equivalent to approximately $21,205,306 in 2017 dollars)[2][4]


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Ava_Alice_Muriel_Astor