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Margot at War: Love and Betrayal in Downing Street

Sunday 29 March 2015

1 Hour


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Social historian and biographer Anne de Courcy lays bare the turmoil at the heart of Downing Street during the later years of Asquith’s premiership. While Downing Street was beset by political problems over suffragettes, striking workers and Irish nationalism, the personal lives of the Asquiths were in equal turmoil. The Prime Minister had fallen in love with his daughter’s best friend, Venetia Stanley – as had his private secretary – and Margot Asquith’s relationship with her husband was already suffering because of her stepdaughter’s almost incestuous adoration of her father.

De Courcy vividly recounts a Prime Minister’s home where socialising took precedence over politics and gossip and state secrets were swapped over the bridge table. Within the space of four years, in 1916, Asquith was out of office and life had changed irrevocably for the Asquiths, for those in power and for Downing Street.

De Courcy is author of 12 highly acclaimed works of social history and biography including The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj and Debs at War.

Sponsored by HSBC.