Capt Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel

Capt Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel

Brighton, Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority, East Sussex, England
Death 22 Dec 1919 (aged 38)
Puget-sur-Argens, Departement du Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Memorial ID 141851979 · View Source
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Killed in car crash and given full military honors in the cathedral at nearby Frejus.

But on December 27th the newspapers reported his body had been taken to Paris and laid in the vaults at, S. Honore-de Eylau. On January 3, a large funeral was held there among friends and family. Neither his widow nor mistress, Coco were there. Lord Derby, the British Ambassador lead a large British contingent.

The body was later placed in a tomb at Montmartre Cemetery. It was marked "Familie Capel" with no dates or names.
In Memoriam

Arthur Edward Capel

Captain Arthur Edward "Boy" Capel, CBE, was an English shipowner, politician, tycoon, and polo player. He served as a Captain and Intelligence Officer, Calvary Corps, 1914-1916; Capel was appointed Political Secretary to the British Section, Supreme War Council. Captain Arthur Capel was vested as a Commander, Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. He was decorated with the award Legion of Honour in 1919.

He is possibly best-remembered for his influence on the style of fashion designer Coco Chanel. Nothing else is known of his earlier life. He was already an apparently wealthy self-made man by 1909 when he met Chanel.

An alumnus of Beaumont College, and Stonyhurst, Arthur Capel was wealthy and supplied Chanel with financial backing. His blazers inspired her to put a squared, masculine touch on classic suit designs. Supposedly Capel proposed to Chanel and she refused, wanting instead to wait until she was financially independent.

Arthur Capel was killed, and his chauffeur Mansfield whom was driving, was seriously injured in an auto accident when traveling at high speed a tire burst on the Rolls Royce, Monday 22 December 1919, allegedly en route from Paris to Cannes to a Christmas rendezvous with Chanel. He was buried with full military honours at Fréjus Cathedral, Var, France on 24 December 1919.

He was the son of Arthur Joseph Capel and Berthe S. Lorin. In 1918 he married a lovely English aristocrat, the Honorable Diana (Lister) Wyndham, (7 May 1893 - 3 Dec 1983), a daughter of Thomas Lister, Lord Ribblesdale, and Charlotte Monkton Tennant. Diana Wyndham was the widow of Captain Percy Lyumph Wyndham, (5 Dec 1887 - 15 Sep 1914) Coldstream Guards, who was killed in action in France in World War 1. Arthur and Diana Capel had two daughters, Anne Diana France Ayesha Capel (1919 - 2008), and Lady June Capel Hutchinson (1920-2006). She was born after Arthur's death.

Widowed Diana Capel married Lt. Cmdr. Vere Anthony Francis St. Clair Fane, the 14th Earl of Westmoreland in 1923, (15 Mar 1893 - 12 May 1948) and upon marriage became the Countess of Westmoreland. They became the parents of three children, and were together until his death in 1948.

Coco Chanel honored Capel's memory in the way that was natural to her. While grieving for him she began wearing black, and was said to have told a friend that the world would mourn with her. Coco designed "the little black dress", which she introduced in 1926. The little black dress was instantly a hit, available only in black, and has been the epitome of simple elegance since.

Gabrielle Coco Chanel erected a Memorial Cross in memory of Captain Arthur Edward Capel along the RD-N7 in Puget sur Agens, Var, France, at the place of his death. It was designed three steps high and is enclosed by a small fence. In 1919 it was a county road but in the 21st century this is in a commercial area. The epitaph wording: "In Memory of Captain Arthur Capel, Legion of Honour from the British Army, died accidently in this place December 22 1919." This is where she visited and placed flowers through the years. Coco Chanel never married. Until her death on 10 January 1971 she remained steadfast that Arthur Capel was the love of her life.

Reference: an online French newspaper, posted June 3, 2009 a photo taken by Phillipe Arnassan of The Memorial Cross errected by Chanel in Captain Arthur Capel's memory. It may be viewed online at: www.Puget-sur-ArgensspaceCocospaceChanel.

Originally created by Tribehunter.

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  • Created by: Ash Montagu
  • Added: 27 Jan 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 141851979
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel (Oct 1881–22 Dec 1919), Find a Grave Memorial no. 141851979, citing Cimetiere de Montmartre, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Ash Montagu (contributor 46804013) .