Nancy Mitford was an English novelist, biographer, and journalist. She wrote several novels about upper-class life in England and France. Mitford’s marriage to Peter Rodd, which began in 1933, proved unsatisfactory to both, and they divorced in 1957 after a lengthy separation. During the Second World War she formed a liaison with a Free French officer, Gaston Palewski, who became the love of her life.
About Nancy Mitford in brief
Nancy Mitford was an English novelist, biographer, and journalist. The eldest of the Mitford sisters, she was regarded as one of the \”Bright Young People\” on the London social scene in the years between the world wars. She wrote several novels about upper-class life in England and France, and is considered a sharp and often provocative wit. Mitford’s marriage to Peter Rodd, which began in 1933, proved unsatisfactory to both, and they divorced in 1957 after a lengthy separation. During the Second World War she formed a liaison with a Free French officer, Gaston Palewski, who became the love of her life. After the war Mitford settled in France and lived there until her death. Her later years were bittersweet, the success of her biographical studies of Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire and King Louis XIV contrasting with the ultimate failure of her relationship with Palewski. Her health deteriorated, and she endured several years of painful illness before her death in 1973. The Mitford family dates from the Norman era, when Sir John de Mitford held the Castle of Mitford in Northumberland. A later Sir John held several important public offices during the late 14th and early 15th centuries, and the family maintained a tradition of public service for many generations. In the 18th century William Mitford. was a leading classical historian, responsible for the definitive history of ancient Greece.
His great-grandson Algernon Bertram Mitford, born in 1837, was a diplomat and traveller who held minor office in Disraeli’s second ministry, from 1874 to 1880. In 1874 he married Clementina, the second daughter of David Ogilvy, 10th Earl of Airlie, a union that linked the Mitfords to some of Britain’s most prominent aristocratic families. Blanche told her friend Lady Londonderry, shortly before her birth, that the father of the expected child was her own brother-in-law, Bertie Mitford; most historians believe that other candidates for the paternity are more likely. Bertie’s marriage produced five sons and four daughters. He rebuilt Batsford House, the family’s country seat, and otherwise devoted himself to books, writings and travel. In 1902 he was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Redesdale, a re-creation of a title that had previously been held by his father. After several years as a tea planter in Ceylon, he fought in the Boer War of 1899–1902 and was severely wounded. In 1903 he became engaged to Sydney Bowles, known asTaples, a journalist and editor of Vanity Fair and The Lady. The couple married on 16 February 1904, after which they rented a house in West London which they lived in for a few years. They had two children, Clementine, who in 1908 married the future British prime minister Winston Churchill, and Nellie who married Bertram Romilly.