Hilary Wilson was born on 9th March 1903, the only child of Kenneth Wilson who inherited the prosperous Wilson Shipping Line, a business originally founded on iron ore imports from Sweden in the days of the Industrial Revolution.
Hilary Wilson was a shy, retiring child with a passion for music and a devotion to the piano. Had she lived in different times she would no doubt have attended music college. She gave many private recitals and, during the First World War, played to the wounded in hospitals.
In 1928 Hilary Wilson married Sir Geoffrey FitzClarence who in the same year inherited his uncle’s title of 5th Earl of Munster. Over the years, Lady Munster continued to perform in hospitals and at schools. Her home at Bletchingley in Surrey became a hub of musical activity and she took a particular interest in the education and progress of young performers.
In 1958, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust was founded to ensure the continuation of Lady Munster’s help for young musicians into the future. Lady Munster was able to watch her Trust’s steady growth from its inception in 1958 until her death in 1979. And Lady Munster’s generous endowment to the Trust remains the basis of the Trust’s work to this day.