Friday, 15 January 2010

A Scandalous Love Affair

To A:

I shall miss you so much when I'm dead
The loveliest of smiles
The softness of your body in our bed
My everlasting bride
Remember that when I am dead
You are forever alive in my heart and in my hea

Harold Pinter to Lady Antonia Fraser
Written in the summer before he died

In all this snow, I've had time to catch up on this week's newspapers and I found this article in The Times on Saturday.

You're probably all too young to remember the scandal.

It was 35 years ago, after all.

Two marriages ripped apart so very publicly by an affair between the aristocratic socialite historian and author, Lady Antonia Fraser, and the Jewish playwright, Harold Pinter.

She was the daughter of Lord Longford, wife to the Tory MP, Hugh Fraser, and the mother of his six children. He was married to the actress Vivienne Merchant.

As a teenager who had just discovered the historical novel, I was fascinated and simultaneously so sad for all the protagonists.

Everyone said that it couldn't last, because they were so different. But it was their very difference that made them so strong and their marriage would survive for over three decades.

After Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, they were one of the most talked-about couples of the Seventies.

I thought some of you might like to read their story.


Jay said...

I do vaguely remember this, but don't remember being very interested at the time. Now, it seems intriguing. I must look out for the book.

Anonymous said...

I remember that quite well. Ah, nostalgia, even when it's of matters clandestine it's still powerfully romantic. I never found an ounce of romance in Liz and Dick. As wonderfully talented (and wasted) as he was, I always found her repulsive.

Transylvanian Miss said...

I don't remember it :( but I did read about it years ago, (I'm crazy about my romance) and I find the story so beautiful and poigniant. Ah the path of love is twisted by many a thorny turn. Happy New Year!

Joanna Cake said...

Jay - Hello! Antonia Fraser writes so well that Im sure it will be a fabulous read.

MrW - I must admit, I was never much of a one for Liz either - altho her Cleopatra was magnificent. However, without the wonderful Richard, I dont think she would have been anywhere near so popular.

TM/B - I know exactly what you mean and, in this case, there was a happy ending so it pushes all my buzzers :)

tony said...

Love Conquers All !

Semele said...

Did you hear AF reading the book on R4 this week? The poem was at the very end, and I shed a tear.

Joanna Cake said...

Semele, Thank you for that. I shall have a look to see if it is still available on iplayer x