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Anne Vere Chamberlain, née Anne de Vere Cole (1883 – February 12, 1967) was the wife of Britishmarker Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain was born to Major William Utting Cole, of West Woodhay House; he died in India of cholera while she was young. Her mother, Jane de Vere, was Irish, and traced her descent to the 15th Earl of Oxford; she would inherit Isserclenan in Craughwell, County Galwaymarker in 1914. Her brother was the infamous prankster Horace de Vere Cole (1881-1936); he inherited the family house sometime after 1889.

From childhood Anne loved to travel, going abroad to a different European country each year, later going to Canadamarker and East Africa as a married woman.

After a brief courtship and engagement, she married Neville Chamberlain in January 1911. Her husband, a successful businessman, was already forty-one years old and by then had expected to remain a bachelor. She emphatically supported her husband's entry into politics, preferably in the House of Commons, for which she, as did many others, thought him equipped. As a first step, he was elected in November 1911 to the Birmingham city council, winning the office of Lord Mayor of Birminghammarker in 1915. This marked the beginning of a public career in which Anne Chamberlain was to be Neville's constant companion, helper and trusted colleague, and to share in full his interests in housing and other political and social activities. A woman of charm, distinction and kindliness who moved through life with a quiet and confident dignity, she also possessed considerable ability and long experience in public affairs, adjusting her own individuality to his so that she was always a strength to him. To his everlasting joy Neville found in her the perfect partner, although in many respects their characters were completely antithetical. He was precise, meticulous, and in control of his emotions; she was somewhat impulsive and volatile. Nevertheless, they were a devoted couple, and Neville later claimed that he owed everything to her.

The couple had many tastes in common: a love of music and art, of books and flowers (while at 10 Downing Streetmarker, she created a bright border where previously there had been some sad Londonmarker shrubs), and especially of the countryside and wildlife. She would accompany him on his outdoor excursions (though not always the whole way, for he was a prodigious walker), and learned much from his collections and studies of Lepidoptera, plants and birds.

In literature she preferred Dickens and Thackeray, and especially liked works on history, biography and ancient religious rites. It was said her copy of The Golden Bough went with her on most of her journeys. Archaeology was also an enduring interest of hers; one of the attractions of Chequersmarker for her was that it lay on the Icknield Waymarker.

In his biography, Keith Feiling writes, "Of what he felt of his debt to his wife, he often spoke in public and, as it had been at Ladywood, so he repeats in a letter of 1937 on becoming Prime Minister: 'I should never have become P.M. if I hadn't had Annie to help me."

She was a widow for over twenty-six years. While living in Kings Nortonmarker, the Chamberlains had two children: Dorothy Ethel (1911-1994; m. Lloyd) and Francis Neville (1914-1965; m. Parrott).


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