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Frances (Darling Daisy) Greville, Countess of Warwick

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Category: General Interest
Reference No: 8742
Status: Available
Price: £15.00
  Frances (Darling Daisy) Greville, Countess of Warwick

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Extraordinary English society beauty, and mistress to King Edward VII; known as “Daisy”.

At the age of three, Daisy Warwick made her first male conquest. Her grandfather Viscount Maynard was so smitten by her that, in 1865, he left her his enormous fortune, making her one of the richest people in the country.

This fabulous heiress grew into 'the loveliest woman in England'.

Soon after her fabulously sumptuous coming-out ball in 1879 she married the Earl of Warwick, known as “Brookie”. At first the marriage was a happy one. That it survived until the Earl’s death in 1924 was, however, entirely due to Brookie’s surprising and devoted resilience, tolerant not only of his wife's endless affairs but of the arrival of children in whose creation he had no part.

An early conquest was the dashing naval commander Lord Charles Beresford. He was followed by Bertie, the future King Edward VII, whose mistress she would remain for ten years. She also had a disastrous relationship with the millionaire bachelor, Joe Laycock, who eventually tired of her after fathering a son and a daughter (and necessitating a final abortion that nearly killed her).

Wildly indiscreet, both in conversation and in correspondence, Daisy's compromising letters tumbled into the hands of betrayed wives and she became known in society as the Babbling Brooke.

After Edward VII's death Daisy threatened to publish a tell-all autobiography that would include the former King's letters. Royal equery Lord Stamfordham managed to stop publication by arguing that copyright belonged to the King.

In middle age Daisy Warwick developed a strong social conscience and she employed her energy in helping children less privileged than her own, founding a rare co-educational school at her own expense.

She became fascinated by the developing trades union movement, promoting the cause of coal miners and railwaymen by touring the country in her scarlet Wolseley car. This led, in 1923, to an unsuccessful attempt to stand in the General Election against Anthony Eden as a socialist Member of Parliament (her pearls and furs at hustings did little to improve her electoral chances).

The song “Daisy Bell” (“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…”), written by Harry Dacre in 1892, is said to have been inspired by Daisy Warwick. The "bicycle built for two" is alleged to be a subtle reference to the infamous "sex chair" " the monarch had constructed in his Paris apartment whilst he was Prince of Wales.

This is a fine signature in ink, cut from the bottom of a letter on a piece (4.75" x 3.25"). One vertical fold and light creasing near the right edge but in good overall condition.