Mark Palmer, 5th Baronet, born 1941

The only known comprehensive biography of Mark Palmer, 5th Baronet who had a rather unusual life. Born in 1941, he was a Page of Honor to Queen Elizabeth. At age 25 he started English Boy Ltd male modeling agency. But a few years later he left London "in druid robes" to live in a traveling caravan for many years. He married late in life, having two children in the latter 70s.


This Knol written and copyright 2011 by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist

Sir Charles Mark Palmer, 5th Baronet, was born in Nov 1941 the posthumous son of Sir Anthony Frederick Palmer, 4th Baronet and his wife Henriette Alice Cadogan.  His father had been killed while in action in World War II.  I have not fully traced his ascent lines, but I do know that he descends from the Scottish and English royal houses, and is also a descendant of Richard Cecil.  His mother Henriette was the daughter of Ruth Evelyn Howard whose parents were Sir Stafford Howard and Rachel Campbell.  Both of Stafford's parents and both of Rachel's parents, each descend from Richard Cecil.

He was a page to Queen Elizabeth from at least 1957, and from 1959 to 1962, Mark was a Page of Honour.  He attended Eton for five years, and then Oxford "where he bolted before a year was up", it was "not really my scene", he states.

He is mentioned in Eric Clapton's 2008 autobiography.  Eric discussing changes in London in the mid-60s states that one of the "leaders" of a set of "aristocratic hippies of the upper classes who had dropped out and were living a gypsy life" was Sir Mark Palmer who ran the English Boys modeling agency.  In the Spring of 1967, at age 25, with his partner Kelvin Webb, he started a male modeling agency, perhaps the first ever, called English Boy Ltd.  "There was a time when men wouldn't wear coloured clothes for fear of being though queer."  Extracts from an interview with Mark this year are at this link. In Oct 1967 he predicted that "pink will be the popular shade in menswear next season."

One of the more famous models who came out of English Boy was Peter Hinwood, who achieved eternal fame as "Rocky" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show movie.  See the boys of English Boy on the cover of the magazine Petticoat in Jul 1967, and on an inside page here.

In 1968 he had an epiphany and set off in search of a Shangri-la in Cornwall.  He left the London scene "in Druid robes", to travel and live in a horse-drawn "gypsy caravan" for 22 years, touring Britain "on a quest to find the Holy Grail".  That same year he pled guilty to possession of marijuana and paid a fine.

He married late in life to Catherine Tennant, who under a pen-name Wanda Starr, had been the astrologer in Vogue magazine for several years.  She was the daughter of Charles Baron Glenconner, and is also a descendant from the English throne, and also from Richard Cecil.

Mark and Catherine had two children, one of whom is Iris Palmer the model.  Mark later set himself up as a horse dealer.  In a 1997 news article it was stated that Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones socializes with "Sir Mark Palmer", "his old hippie friend"


Much later Mark was Vice Chairman of Freedom House and the Council for a Community of Democracies.