Noël Olivier

  (Redirected from Noel Olivier)

Hon. Noël Olivier Richards (25 December 1892 – 11 April 1969) was an English medical doctor who is now best known for her relationship with the poet Rupert Brooke.

Noël Olivier
Portrait of Noël Olivier in 1923
Noël Olivier 1923
Born25 December 1892
Limpsfield, Surrey, England[1]
Died11 April 1969(1969-04-11) (aged 76)
Chichester, Sussex, England
Other namesNoël Olivier Richards
Spouse(s)William Arthur Richards
  • Benedict, Angela, Virginia, Tazza, Julia

She was born on Christmas Day 1892, the daughter of Sydney Olivier, 1st Baron Olivier and Margaret Cox. A cousin was the actor Sir Laurence Olivier.[2]

She attended Bedales School in Petersfield, Hampshire.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Noël Olivier; Maitland Radford; Virginia Woolf; Rupert Brooke

She met the poet Rupert Brooke at a supper party in May 1907, prior to a meeting of the Cambridge Fabians which her father had been invited to address.[4] She was fifteen and he was twenty. He was captivated by the shy intelligent schoolgirl and began to bombard her with letters, initiating a correspondence that was to last until his death in 1915.[5]

Some of Brooke's early poems, such as "The Hill", were written about and for his first love, Noël Olivier. Up to the time of her death in April 1969, she steadfastly refused publication of the letters which Brooke had written to her.[4]

Medical careerEdit

She graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Surgery (BS) and Doctor of Medicine (MD). She was registered as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, (MRCP) and the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).[2]

On 29 April 1927, at a clinical meeting held at the Victoria Hospital for Children, in a section for the study of disease in children, she presented a paper entitled "A Case of Acute Lymphatic Leukæmia".[6]

Personal lifeEdit

She married William Arthur Richards, son of Robert Richards, on 21 December 1920.[2] Between 1924 and 1940 they had five children: Benedict, Angela (later Harris), Virginia, Tazza and Julia. Angela Harris' daughter Pippa Harris, edited Noël Olivier's correspondence with Brooke.[7]

Her husband graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Bachelor of Surgery (BS). He was invested as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). He was also registered as a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians.[2]

She lived in Ickenham, Middlesex, England.[2]


  1. ^ 1911 England Census
  2. ^ a b c d e Burke, Sir Bernard, ed. (1939). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (97th ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 1886.
  3. ^ "The Naturist Society website". Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  4. ^ a b Brooke, Rupert (1971). Rogers, Timothy (ed.). Rupert Brooke: a reappraisal and selection from his writings, some hitherto unpublished. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 231. ISBN 9780710070562.
  5. ^ Rupert Brooke & Noël Olivier: The Letters of – Song of Love.
  6. ^ Richards, Noel Olivier (July 1927). "Cases A Case of Acute Lymphatic Leukæmia". Proc R Soc Med. 20 (9): 1317–1318. doi:10.1177/003591572702000910. PMC 2101400.
  7. ^ Harris 1991.