Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Diana Mitford

Diana Mitford was the beauty of her generation. She was immortalized by many of the artists of the day and loved by all, especially Evelyn Waugh who had quite a tendre for her and dedicated two of his book to Diana. She made an early conquest the first year she was out, becoming engaged to Bryan Guinness, the heir of the Guinness fortune. Her parents objected because of her youth but eventually relented and she was the first of the Mitford sisters to be married. Many thought she had the ideal life, a devoted husband, two beautiful sons, everything she could have wanted, but then Oswald Mosley entered her life.

Oswald Mosley was a political lightning rod. His British Union of Fascists, known colloquially as the Black Shirts, would be a source of consternation for the British Government for years. When Diana and Mosley met he was married with three children and hadn't yet become so politically polarizing. While it might not have been the happiest of marriages due to Mosley's infidelities, he never planned on leaving his wife. Despite all this Diana divorced Bryan just to be near Mosley whenever she could as his mistress, scandalizing her family and society. Yet their love turned out to be true, their marriage would last all their lives and produce two beautiful sons.

Yet this couple cannot be viewed without an eye to their politics, which alienated much of their family and most of Britain. Mosley was fascinated with the success of Hitler and Diana and Mosley actually married in the Goebbels' drawing room with Hitler present. Because of these connections the couple spent most of WWII in prison without charge. After the war Mosley tried to reenter politics to no avail and the couple spent their time traveling and writing. Yet they remained a source of controversy all their lives, mainly due to Diana's instance of claiming Hitler a friend, no matter what horrors he wrought, she was unapologetic.


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