In 1942, a lone five-year-old girl on a plane full of men from Bogota, Colombia landed at Croydon Aerodrome, London, England. Marta Lombard was that young girl, sent alone to start a new life.
Marta Maria Lombard (the name was chosen after the famous 1930s Hollywood actress, Carole Lombard) didn’t know who her parents were. Passed off as the maid’s daughter, a man she knew as ‘Uncle’ sent her to England to receive an education. This man was Jaime Jaramillo Arango, soon to become the Colombian Ambassador to the UK.
When she reached adulthood, Marta worked up the courage to confront Jaime, and he confirmed he was her father. Many years later, after having read some old letters from her mother to Jaime, Marta realised it was likely that she'd been born in Marseille, France in 1935 not Colombia a year later as stated on her Baptist certificate.
The Daughter of a Colombian Diplomat is a moving and often humorous account of a childhood spent in post-war England. Without a loving family or clear identity, Marta developed a determination to find happiness amongst others. The story traces her experiences in a closed convent in Sussex, later living with an Anglo-Colombian family in Finchley, London, her adaptation to English society and finding herself as an artist.