Alex became the 4th Marquess of Bath in 1837. Three deaths in the family that year brought him to the Marquesate very quickly. His father’s older brother, who should have become the 3rd Marquess, died in January. Their father, the 2nd Marquess, died in March. Alex’s father, the 3rd Marquess, died in June. So at age 6, Alex became the owner of Longleat House in Wiltshire.

Alex’s mother was a Baring. Her grandfather started Baring’s Bank, once known as “the sixth great European power”. It was brought down by fraudulent derivatives trading by one Baring's trader in 1995.

In the story… Diana accompanies Richard Milnes’ family on their summer travels in the West Country in 1855. Their first stay is at Longleat House where Alex’s mother has joined them for the visit. She and her late husband were old friends of Richard. Alex is 24 and single. He is quite taken with Diana and is aware that her fiancé’s safe return from the prolonged war in the Crimea is a matter of doubt. Her bright spirit gives him a new outlook on life, which till then had seemed like a lot of hereditary duty and obligation.