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Lord Michael Pratt’s Obituary Is The Stuff Of Legend

By 12.20.12

I’ve stated my love for obituaries previously in various forums on the internet, so I might as well reiterate it here: I love reading obituaries. Not for morbid reasons, mind you, but for my love for reading about lives well lived. While the obituary of your average “French Quarter bon vivant” can make for a fun read, the best obituaries are generally those written about people with titles like “Lord” or “Baron,” which gets me to an obituary I ran across today for someone named Lord Michael Pratt. The first line of his Telegraph obit alone is the stuff of legend…

Lord Michael Pratt, who has died aged 61, will be remembered as one of the last Wodehouseian figures to inhabit London’s clubland and as a much travelled author who pined for the days of Empire; he will also be remembered as an unabashed snob and social interloper on a grand scale.

Oh but wait — it gets better! In order of appearance, below are my five favorite lines from the obit, which, as my friend Spencer Hall pointed out, can easily be interpreted as nasty, but comes off as “one long triumph” to me. It was apparently published in 2007, a big ball of aristocratic boorishness just hiding in plain sight all these years.


Pratt would arrive at country houses announcing that he was en route to another castle or (even larger) stately home, and was intending to stay for only one night. Quite often the “night” would turn into weeks, and sometimes months.


He was sent to Eton, having already acquired the rotund shape that would stay with him for the rest of his life. At school the young Pratt distinguished himself by emptying a vessel of soapy water over the head of his housemaster.


At Oxford, Pratt was secretary of the Gridiron, a lunch and dining club founded in 1884 that numbered Michael Ancram and Douglas Hogg among its members. He was also a leading light in another Oxford club called the Snuff Committee, the sole purpose of which was to take snuff and drink port.


After graduating Pratt found a position at Lazard Brothers, the merchant bank. Three months into his new job, however, he judged that it would be more agreeable to attend Royal Ascot than to turn up at the office, and his services were dispensed with. He never again sought full-time employment.


Pratt’s working day would usually start with a large gin and tonic before he meandered towards White’s Club in St James.

As much as I should probably want to hate Lord Michael Pratt after reading this, I can’t help but love him. His obit is far too rife with ridiculousness for me to hate on him. Well done, sir!

(Via Spencer Hall)

TAGSaristocratslord michael prattlords and baronsobitsobituaries

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