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The Vintage Guide To London | December 17, 2017

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Famous Londoners: Diana Mitford - Rebel with a cause

Diana had moved to Eaton Square with her two young children. She fully accepted that she would never marry Mosley but was content to live openly as his mistress and see him whenever she could. Her father refused to speak to her. Gone were the days of ruling society or being a Bright Young Thing, from now on her life entirely revolved around Mosley, she believed his word over any other and would adopt his opinions as her own.   

By a strange twist of fate news reached her that Mosley’s wife Cimmie had been rushed to hospital with acute appendicitis. Her condition quickly worsened and turned into peritonitis. On 15 May she died leaving three children, Vivien, Nicholas and Michael. Mosley was grief and presumably guilt-stricken, sitting for hours by her coffin and weeping. Many considered Mosley’s display theatrical in light of his poor treatment of Cimmie.

Grief did not prevent Mosley continuing to promote the cause of the BUF in the following months. That summer Diana’s younger sister Unity became a member. To Unity the importance of this day was akin to a baptism. Mosley, now referred to as ‘the Leader’ pinned the BUF badge onto her uniform from his own lapel.

With Mosley on a motoring tour of France, Diana and Unity travelled to Munich on holiday. Adolf Hitler had come to power earlier that year and Unity was becoming increasingly interested in his achievements at ending German unemployment. She asked countless people to introduce her to the Fuhrer during this trip, but each time she would be told he was too busy, or that he didn’t like women wearing red lipstick.

“I couldn’t possibly do without it” she would declare. The more difficult it was to meet Hitler the more determined and obsessed Unity became. On her return to England she informed her parents that she wanted to enrol at a language school in Germany. Just nineteen years-old, Fascism would soon become a religion to Unity for which she would later be prepared to sacrifice her life for.

Diana and Unity both loved intensely, obsessively, and would both undergo great trials to prove their dedication to the men they loved.

Come back next week for the third part in the series.  Read the first part here.

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