Ashley, April

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Ashley, April Gender: MF
George Jamieson
born on 29 April 1935 at 07:45 (= 07:45 AM )
Place Liverpool, England, 53n25, 2w55
Timezone GDT h1e (is daylight saving time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Fisher
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 08°02' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 19°18 Asc.s_gemcol.18.gif 20°34'

April Ashley (at Southbank Centre, 2009)
photo: Loz Pycock, license cc-by-sa-2.0


English model, actress, author and restaurant hostess, outed as a transgender woman by the Sunday People newspaper in 1961, and one of the earliest British people known to have had sex reassignment surgery. Her marriage was annulled in a notable court case known as Corbett v Corbett (1969-1970).

She knew from youth that she was trapped in the wrong gender body and made a suicide attempt in her teens, receiving a dishonourable discharge from the Merchant Navy. A second suicide attempt resulted in Ashley being sent to the mental institution in Ormskirk aged 17 for treatments.

After leaving hospital Ashley moved to London, and having started cross-dressing, moved to Paris in the late 1950s, using the name Toni April and joining the famous French entertainer Coccinelle in the cast of the drag cabaret at the Carousel Theatre.

At the age of 25, having saved £3,000, Ashley had a seven-hour-long sex reassignment surgery on 12 May 1960, performed in Casablanca, Morocco by Georges Burou. She was the ninth person in the world to undertake such a surgery.

After returning to Britain, she began using the name April Ashley and became a successful fashion model, appearing in such publications as Vogue.

In November 1960, Ashley had met Hon. Arthur Corbett (later 3rd Baron Rowallan), the Eton-educated son and heir of Lord Rowallan. They wed in 1963, but the marriage quickly broke down, and was annulled in 1970. The judge ruled that the marriage was invalid since she had been born male.

After a heart attack in London, Ashley retired for some years to the Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye. In her book April Ashley's Odyssey she stated that Amanda Lear was assigned male at birth and they had worked together at Le Carousel where Lear had used the name Peki d'Oslo. Ashley was once great friends with Lear, but they had a major falling out.

In the 1980s, Ashley married Jeffrey West, on the retired cruise ship RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.

In 2005, after the passage of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, Ashley was finally legally recognised as female and issued with a new birth certificate.

In 2006, Ashley released her autobiography The First Lady and made TV appearances. In one interview, she said, "This is the real story and contains a lot of things I just couldn't say in 1982", including alleged affairs with Michael Hutchence, Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Turner Prize sculptor Grayson Perry and the future 19th Duke of Infantado, among others.

Ashley was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to transgender equality.

April Ashley latterly lived in Fulham, South West London. She died in London on 27 December 2021 at the age of 86.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Coccinelle (born 23 August 1931). Notes: Co-stars in drag cabaret
  • friend relationship with Lear, Amanda (born 18 June 1939). Notes: 1950s
  • (has as) other hierarchical relationship with Burou, Georges (born 6 September 1910). Notes: Surgeon/ patient


  • Health : Medical procedure 12 May 1960 (Sex change, seven-hour-long surgery)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Secrets revealed 1961 (Outed by newspaper as a trans woman)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1963 (Hon. Arthur Corbett)
  • Relationship : Divorce dates 1970 (Hon. Arthur Corbett, annulled)
  • Work : Prize 2012 (MBE)

Source Notes

David Fisher quotes Barbara S. Peet, from her. Sy Scholfield confirmed the same data from Ashley by email on 18 March 2001.


  • Traits : Body : Appearance gorgeous
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Heart disease/attack
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Surgery (Sex change)
  • Family : Childhood : Family large (One of six surviving children)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Noted (Famous lovers)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (England to U.S.)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Sex Organs (Had organs surgically altered)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Transgender M-to-F (Transgender woman)
  • Passions : Criminal Victim : Rape/ Sex crime victim (Survivor)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Age 86)
  • Personal : Death : Suicide Attempt (Twice in teens)
  • Vocation : Beauty : Model (Vogue, etc)
  • Vocation : Food and Beverage : Host/ Maitre d'
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ social (Transgender equality)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Notable : Awards : Vocational award (MBE)
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure
  • Notable : Book Collection : Profiles Of Women