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Society's Queen: The Life of Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry

Anne de Courcy

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Biography: general, Biography: historical, political & military, Prose: non-fiction

From the author of the critically acclaimed THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS, the story of a glittering aristocrat who was also at the heart of political society in the interwar years.

At the age of twenty-one, Edith Chaplin married one of the most eligible bachelors of the day, the eldest son of the sixth Marquess of Londonderry. Her husband served in the Ulster cabinet and was Air Minister in the National Government of 1934-5. Edith founded The Women's Legion during the First World War and was also an early campaigner for women's suffrage. She created the renowned Mount Stewart Gardens in County Down that are now owned by the National Trust. All her life, Edith remained at the heart of politics both in Westminster and Ireland. She is perhaps best known for her role as 'society's queen' - a hostess to the rich and famous. Her close circle of friends included Winston Churchill, Lady Astor, Neville Chamberlain and Harold Macmillan who congregated in her salon, known as 'The Ark'. Other members included artists and writers such as John Buchan, Sean O'Casey. Britain's first Labour prime minister, Ramsey MacDonald, became romantically obsessed by her. As the second world war loomed, however, Edith found herself torn as her husband tried to promote Anglo-German understanding.

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Anne de Courcy

Anne de Courcy is the author of thirteen widely acclaimed works of social history and biography, including THE HUSBAND HUNTERS, THE FISHING FLEET, THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR. In the 1970s she was Woman's Editor on the LONDON EVENING NEWS and in the 1980s she was a regular feature-writer for the EVENING STANDARD. She is also a former features writer and reviewer for the DAILY MAIL. She lives in London SW3.

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