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On sale

21st November 2024

Price: £30

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399736794

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Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon, wife of Prime Minister Anthony Eden, once famously said: ‘For the past few weeks I have really felt as if the Suez Canal was flowing through my drawing-room.’

With her impressive intellect and acerbic wit, she was a highly influential muse to many leading figures over several decades.

At Oxford in the 1940s she fascinated dons and undergraduates alike. She went on to work in the film world for Alexander Korda and for George Weidenfeld at Contact Magazine. She was a close friend of Cecil Beaton, James Pope-Hennessy, Lucian Freud, Isaiah Berlin, and Lord Goodman. She fascinated Greta Garbo.

After an early Bohemian life, she became a politically active wife to Eden when he was Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, particularly during the Suez Crisis in 1956.

Her death at 101 in 2021 has opened the way for this enthralling and revealing biography by the widely admired biographer Hugo Vickers. He knew her well for over 40 years, and consigned her revealing private papers and sharply written diaries to him.

Here also are first hand contributions from friends such as Antonia Fraser. Clarissa Eden’s story sheds invaluable light on a rapidly vanishing age and an extraordinary woman.