Thursday, November 28, 2013
NOVEMBER 28 = Lady Astor is Elected to Parliament
The above picture is a portrait of Lady Astor by John Singer Sargent from 1909.
Lady Astor is Elected in 1919
On today's date in 1919, Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor, was elected to the British Parliament, becoming the first woman so elected to ever take her seat. Nancy Astor was born in Danville, Virginia in 1879. Her father had been a Confederate officer and a one time slave owner. In 1897, she married Robert Gould Shaw II (brother of late commander of the fabled 54'th Massachusetts - regiment during the Civil War). and they had one child, a son, before they got divorced in 1903. Not long after that during a visit to England, she met and fell in love with Waldorf Astor (right), the great-great-grandson of the American fur trader John Jacob
Lady Astor and "The Clivedon Set"
Lady Astor (below, circa 1940's) became known as a strong individualist, a friend of George Bernard Shaw, and prone to many
Lady Astor Becomes a Favorite Target of Churchill
But it was as the object of two of Sir Winston Churchill's most venomous barbs that Lady Astor achieved what is likely her most enduring claim to fame. As noted above, she had written Churchill off as being finished long before he actually was. This was not unusual, as many others did this as well. But Lady Astor and Churchill developed a particularly biting relationship. After one exchange, she is said to have told Sir Winston:
"If you were my husband, I would put poison in your coffee!" To which Sir Winston is said to have replied "And if you were my wife, I'd drink it!"
Another exchange between the two came at a point when Churchill, as was often the case, had had a bit too much to drink.
Lady Astor - "Sir Winston, you are very DRUNK!"
Churchill - "Yes madam I AM very drunk. And you madam, are very ugly. But in the morning I shall be sober!"
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The Last Lion: Volume 1: Winston Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874 - 1932
------------------------- AND --------------------------------
The Last Lion: Volume 2: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 BOTH by William Manchester. Little Brown & Co., Boston, 1983 and 1988.
Portrait by Sargent =