Barbara Woolworth Hutton, 1912-1979 was an American heiress, daughter of the retail tycoon Frank Winfield Woolworth, founder of F. W. Woolworth Company and the operator of variety stores known as "Five-and-Dimes". When she was given a lavish debutante ball at the beginning of the Great Depression she was dubbed the “poor Little Rich Girl”, a name that haunted her throughout her life due to her great wealth and troubled private life. By the time of her 21st
birthday in 1933 she was worth over $70 million, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world. She married seven times, most famously to the British-born Hollywood movie star Cary Grant in 1942. Their divorce in 1945 was followed by her fourth marriage, to Prince Igor Troubetzkoy in 1947, an impoverished Russian prince and racing car driver who raced at the Monaco Grand Prix and later won the Targa Florio. This marriage also ended in divorce in 1951 when Barbara Hutton made headlines with her subsequent attempted suicide. In 1936 Barbara Hutton commissioned the English Architectural firm Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie to build a Neo-Georgian mansion on the former site of Hertford Villa on the edge of Regents Park, named Winfield House in honour of her grandfather the Woolworth tycoon.
During the Second World War the mansion was used by the Royal Air Force 906 Barrage balloon Unit and also functioned as an officer’s club. After the war Barbara Hutton sold the house to the American government for $1 and in 1955 it became the official residence of the American Ambassador to the Court of St James where it remains in use to this day.