Mary Warnock philosopher was born Helen Mary Wilson on 14 April 1924 in Winchester. Her father was a housemaster at Winchester but died seven months before Mary was born; her mother never remarried. Mary was educated at St. Swithuns an Anglican school where she concentrated on classics. She won a scholarship to Lady Margaret Hall Oxford and began her studies there in 1942. One of her closest friends during this time was Charles de Gaulles daughter Elisabeth.