One among Britain’s main household legal professionals, Maggie Rae, who has died instantly aged 74, had a lifelong perception that it was crucial for everybody to obtain truthful therapy from the regulation, no matter their means or standing. She received public consideration for representing such stellar figures as Diana, Princess of Wales and the previous spouse of the Aga Khan, however regarded the dispossessed and the retro as each bit as equal to the nice and the great.
A member of the Communist social gathering as a younger lady, she joined the Labour social gathering when residing in Hackney, north London, with a fellow lawyer, Cherie Sales space. The 2 turned shut mates – Rae made the bridesmaids’ clothes when her flatmate married Tony Blair – and their relationship would later be cemented by politics.
Rae met her husband, Alan Haworth (who turned Lord Haworth in 2004), by their mutual involvement in radical native politics in east London (they married in 1991) and he would later show a vital assist, as secretary of the parliamentary Labour social gathering, in securing Tony Blair’s landslide election victory in 1997.
Rae was accountable for introducing Diana to the Blairs when she and Haworth hosted a extremely profitable hush-hush supper of their household house in Hackney in January 1997. Blair’s press secretary, Alastair Campbell, who was there together with his accomplice, Fiona Millar, subsequently revealed in his diaries that, intriguingly, the princess had mentioned – referring to New Labour – that “she wish to assist us if she may”.
Rae was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, the primary of 5 daughters of Harvey Rae and Mary (nee Gardiner). Her mom, who was a social employee and trainer, got here from the Moray Firth space of Scotland. Her father labored on the time for Unilever however the household would transfer usually, first to Doddinghurst, close to Brentwood in Essex, then to Ghana, the place Harvey labored as a horticulturalist and was employed by the famed buying and selling agency the United Africa Firm.
They returned to Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, the place the household had a smallholding and their father was a meat dealer for Birds Eye. Maggie handed the eleven-plus and attended Nice Yarmouth excessive which, due to her peripatetic childhood, was her tenth college.
An early curiosity within the regulation got here from watching courtroom dramas on the household tv – she was notably impressed by Margaret Lockwood taking part in an intuitive, extremely principled barrister within the Seventies sequence Justice –and she or he studied at Warwick College, the place she additionally turned energetic in pupil politics.
She then financed her personal pupillage to coach for the bar at 5 Essex Courtroom, Grey’s Inn, by working as a waitress and promoting encyclopedias. She was a founder member of the breakaway Wellington Avenue chambers in Covent Backyard, which advanced into the now well-known Doughty Avenue chambers.
Rae was a powerful lady and knew her personal thoughts. She was humorous and could possibly be outspoken however she was additionally unfailingly sort and truthful, an attribute which received her the belief of her purchasers. It was as a result of she favored dealing instantly with people who she thus determined after three years as a barrister to develop into a solicitor and having in 1979 helped discovered the corporate Hodge, Jones and Allen, of which she was a accomplice, she then joined Mishcon de Reya as a accomplice in 1992.
She was a member of the authorized workforce at this firm that represented Diana, Princess of Wales in her divorce proceedings from the then Prince of Wales in 1996. She later labored for Clintons, the place she received a landmark ruling on behalf of Karen Parlour, the previous spouse of the Arsenal and England footballer, Ray Parlour, securing on attraction a rise in her upkeep funds. The choice practically doubled the settlement made, having been calculated in opposition to Parlour’s probably future earnings and set a precedent in what had been an unsure space of the regulation.
As one of many nation’s specialists on matrimonial regulation and the growing use of pre-nuptial agreements, she was as soon as requested how a lot a shopper ought to spend on securing appropriate authorized recommendation for such an association and replied: “Greater than the flowers, lower than the frock.” In 1997 she was the co-author, with Robin Ellison, of Household Breakdown and Pensions.
In 2008 Rae gave proof on the inquest into the demise of Diana, arising from a gathering the princess held together with her legal professionals at Kensington Palace in 1995, throughout which she spoke of fears of a plot during which she could be assassinated after which declared “unbalanced”. Rae informed the coroner that after the princess’s demise “it by no means crossed my thoughts that she might need been murdered.”
Rae was a pioneer in her discipline however all the time had time to assist and mentor youthful legal professionals and to defend ladies’s rights. For a few years she chaired Refuge, the home abuse charity, and had lately taken a job in assist of the Asian College for Girls charity.
She was a fellow of the Worldwide Academy of Household Legal professionals and on the time of her demise was a marketing consultant with the household regulation agency Newton Kearns. She and Alan have been each enthusiastic members of a strolling group, Radical Ramblers.
Haworth died in Reykjavik, Iceland, whereas the couple have been on a cruise in August. He had insisted after being taken ailing, nevertheless, that she ought to go forward with the later cruise he had deliberate for them each within the Antarctic; it was throughout this vacation that Rae turned unwell.
She is survived by her sisters, Sheila, Rosie and Kate. One other sister, Susan, died younger of cystic fibrosis.