Here's a definition of the word 'pretence' (or 'pretense'). I don't really understand the second meaning, which is not the act of pretending, but "a claim (especially a false or ambitious one) that you have a particular quality or skill". I'm not a native speaker and I guess there's no such word in my first language.
For example, I suppose that the following sentence
John makes no pretence to being an expert on the subject.
means that John doesn't claim to be an expert. So, we could infer that he is kind of modest, right?
On the other hand, here's an example that I can't comprehend:
a woman with some pretence to beauty
Does the word 'pretence' in this context describe the woman's or other people's attitude towards her beauty?