Mrs Guinness - The Rise and Fall of Diana Mitford, the Thirties Socialite

Diana Mitford remains both controversial and captivating.

As the third of the Mitford girls she became infamous for her second marriage to the leader of the British Union of Fascists, Oswald Mosley, and her links — via her sister Unity — to Hitler.

Once referred to as “the most hated woman in England” Diana was imprisoned with Mosley for four years because of their political beliefs and associations with the Nazi leader.

This book charts Diana’s less complicated early life through the tumultuous years leading to her incarceration at Holloway.

As one of the Bright Young Things she dazzled countless suitors inspiring artists and writers with her grace, beauty and intelligence. Winston Churchill, a cousin through her parents’ marriage, nicknamed her “Dina-mite” and, in 1929, she married Bryan Guinness, heir to the brewing dynasty. But, despite an adoring husband, children, wealth and a comfortable social position, she felt that her life was shallow and empty. Her interest in politics led to her meeting Mosley in 1932. This — and her blind, unquestioning devotion to the man and his political ideals — proved to be fatal.

The couple’s affair, marriage in 1936, and the hurt caused to their former spouses and families resulted in Diana’s social downfall. All this was set against a backdrop of political upheaval across Europe and a world on the brink of war.

Using previously unpublished first-hand material, the author presents a portrait of a woman whose ultimate choice in love and politics made her a contentious figure until her death in 2003.

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