International Women’s Day: Celebrating Our Female Founder

Almost 90 Years ago, Freda Dudley Ward, Marquesa de Casa Maury founded The Feathers Association at The Behest of The Prince of Wales, Edward VIII. On International Women’s Day, we pay tribute to her remarkable legacy, as the charity she created continues to change lives.   

Looking back at her remarkable life, Freda is perhaps best known publicly for her close relationship with The Prince of Wales. This great friendship laid the foundation for the formation of The Feathers Association, with The Prince of Wales granting the use of his royal crest, which we so proudly continue to use today.  

Freda’s vision initially saw the charity supporting communities that were suffering through the great depression in the 1930’s. Following the second world war, the Charity began to focus it’s attention on Youth & Community work, which has shaped our mission in the years since.  

Her passion for The Feathers Association was demonstrated by continued and long-term dedication to the charity’s work as she supported our mission to help those in their time of need. Freda continued to have a direct involvement with the charity for over 50 years until she passed away in 1983, aged 88.  

Owing to a unique and colourful life, we have seen her recently referenced in a number of publications and in popular culture, including her character representation in Downton Abbey and the discovery of a portrait of her by the world-renowned artist John Singer Sargent, on the television series Antiques Roadshow in 2016. 

For us, her greatest legacy will be the formation of The Feathers Association and the countless lives that have been impacted and ultimately changed for good as a result of her vision. We look back with immense pride, to a strong and inspiring woman who used her position in society to found and lead a charity with Royal roots, that brings together communities and changes lives.