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Idriel 02-21-2006 01:17 PM

The British Nobility thread
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I thought it would be interesting to start a thread on Lady Diana Cooper, an extraordinary woman and one of the greatest beauty of her time.

First, a short biography from Wikipedia


Lady Diana Manners (August 29, 1892 June 16, 1986), later Lady Diana Cooper and then Diana, Viscountess Norwich, was the youngest daughter of Henry John Brinsley Manners, the 8th Duke of Rutland and his wife, Violet Lindsay, Duchess of Rutland, but was widely supposed to be the illegitimate daughter of Henry Cust. In her prime, she had the widespread reputation as the most beautiful young woman in England, and countless profiles, photographs and articles in newspapers and magazines made her very much the "Princess Diana" of her era. Her niece was Lady Rose McLaren and her nephew (Rose's brother), the 7th Marquess of Anglesey.
She became active in The Coterie, an influential group of young English aristocrats and intellectuals of the 1910s whose influence and numbers were cut short by the First World War. Lady Diana was the most famous of the group, but it included Raymond Asquith (son of the Prime Minister), Patrick Shaw-Stewart, Edward Horner, Sir Denis Anson and Duff Cooper. Following the deaths of Asquith, Horner, Shaw-Stewart in the war and the death of Anson by drowning in 1914, Lady Diana was allowed to marry Duff Cooper in June 1919. He had a reputation for fast living that her prominent society parents frowned upon: they had hoped for a marriage to the Prince of Wales.
After a short-lived editorship of the magazine Femina, she wrote a column in the Beaverbrook newspapers before turning to the stage, playing the Madonna in the revival of The Miracle (directed by Max Reinhardt). The play achieved outstanding international success, and she toured for two years with the cast. Lady Diana subsequently starred in several silent films, including the first British colour films.
In 1924, Duff Cooper gained election to Parliament, and in 1929 they had their only child, John Julius Norwich, now a well-known writer and broadcaster. In the 1930s, she continued as a society celebrity and became celebrated in France as the centerpoint of immediate postwar French literary culture when her husband served as Ambassador to France. Following his retirement in 1947, they continued to live in France at Chantilly, until Duff Cooper's death in 1954.
Lady Diana sharply reduced her activities in the late 1950s but produced an acclaimed three-volume autobiography including the classic first volume The Rainbow Comes and Goes, covering the golden Edwardian period. Philip Ziegler wrote a biography of her, and Evelyn Waugh and others presented fictionalized accounts in several books. She died in 1986 at the age of 93.
I would also like to post an amusing anecdote, found on anecdotage:


In 1979, Lady Diana Cooper (then 86 years old) attended a special event to honor the 100th birthday of the musical benefactor Sir Robert Mayer at Covent Garden. During the interval, Cooper found herself chatting with "an extremely pleasant lady" who seemed vaguely familiar. After struggling through some general conversation, Cooper noticed that the woman was wearing magnificent diamonds and suddenly hit upon her identity. "I sank into a curtsey," she later recalled, "and said 'I'm terribly sorry, Ma'am, but I didn't recognise you without your crown on.' The queen, not batting a royal eyelid, said, 'Well, I thought it should be Sir Robert's evening.'"
pictures sources: JSS virtual gallery, museum of London, Wikipedia

qui mal y pense 02-21-2006 01:19 PM

Why no mention of Edward VIII?

BeatrixFan 05-19-2006 10:57 AM

Who was she?
There's an old British Music Hall song called, "Burlington Bertie from Bow". It was first sung by Vesta Tilley, the male impersonator in about 1908. The thing is, there is a verse which says;

I'm Burlington Bertie, I rise at ten-thirty
and Buckingham Palace I view,
I stand in the yard, while they're changing the guard
and the Queen shouts across "Toodle-Oo!"
The Prince of Wales' brother, along with some other,
slaps me on the back and says, "Come see me mother"
I'm Bert, I'm Bert, and Royalty's hurt
when they ask me to dine I say no.
I've just had a banana, with Lady Diana,
I'm Burlington Bertie from Bow

Now, in 1908, Lady Diana couldn't have been Diana Spencer so was there another Royal about in Edwardian times that the song could have referred to? Any help gratefully recieved!

Elspeth 05-19-2006 12:36 PM

Would it have to be a royal? Bertie could have had tea with Lady Diana Nonroyal Anyone and then be too full for dinner with the King. Actually, would it really have to be anyone? They might have just needed a convenient rhyme for banana.:D

BeatrixFan 05-19-2006 12:51 PM

LOL. Well yes. I mean, this is the age of "Woops, I fell on my organ" and "I may be a tiny chimney sweep but I've got an enormous brush". I just thought that seeing as the lines before were associated with Royalty, Lady Diana must have had some connection. Maybe she was a famous L-i-W or something.

norwegianne 05-19-2006 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by BeatrixFan
LOL. Well yes. I mean, this is the age of "Woops, I fell on my organ" and "I may be a tiny chimney sweep but I've got an enormous brush". I just thought that seeing as the lines before were associated with Royalty, Lady Diana must have had some connection. Maybe she was a famous L-i-W or something.


Most famous of all there is the experience of having "had a banana with Lady Diana" which brings in Lady Diana Manners, the most beautiful girl in pre-Great War London. In time this original "It" girl would marry a young politician called Duff Cooper and go down in history as Lady Diana Cooper.

Lady Diana Manners:

BeatrixFan 05-19-2006 01:40 PM

Aha! Norwegianne, you're a star! I thought it might have been Lady Diana Monkton but couldn't find anything on her but Manners yes, that would make sense. Thanks for solving a mystery!

lord_rankin 11-01-2006 12:06 PM

The British Nobility thread
I cannot find a thread that this may fit into. I wanted to know if someone who
is Knighted by the Sovereign can be addressed as "Lord" preceding his surname or if it is strictly Sir. If that is not the case which is the title where they may be addressed as such? Thanks

magnik 11-01-2006 05:56 PM

I hope that it maybe help:

BeatrixFan 11-01-2006 06:09 PM

A Duke or a Duchess is "Your Grace", An Earl or a Countess is "Your Lordship, Ladyship" which continues right the way down to Baronet who is addressed as "Sir" his first name and his wife is Lady. If a Lord is Knighted, he doesn't use the title of Sir because "Lord" is higher in rank. So, if Lord Burley was made a KG, he'd become Lord Burley KG not Lord Sir Burley or Sir Lord Burley.

Jo of Palatine 11-02-2006 06:13 AM

But what happens if a second son of a duke or marquess who holds only the courtesy title of Lord Christian name Last name is knighted? Wouldn't the "Sir" in his own right outrank his courtesy title as the son of a peer?

At they refer to peers who were knightes as Sir Christian name Last name, xth title of place - eg. Sir Henry Cavendish, 2nd duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Is that right? I've seen it on other places as well?

BeatrixFan 11-02-2006 10:36 AM


But what happens if a second son of a duke or marquess who holds only the courtesy title of Lord Christian name Last name is knighted? Wouldn't the "Sir" in his own right outrank his courtesy title as the son of a peer?
Well, this has more to do with social titles I think. For example, Baron Shackleton. His official title was The Baron Shackleton KG. But he was socially known as Lord Shackleton. That didn't change when he got the KG, he was simply known as Lord Shackleton still.

If it was a courtesy title, the Lord would still outrank the Sir with the post-nominals being used in place of the "Sir" title.

Jo of Palatine 12-20-2006 06:01 AM

British nobility anecdotes
As I couldn't trace a suitable thread, but thought this anecdote worth presenting to the Forums, I've opened this thread. Hope you are amused as well.

From the orbituary of the late
Charles Edward Stourton, Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton

Premier baron of England who in 1999 was elected a member of the reformed House of Lords

Published: 19 December 2006 at

"In a debate in the House of Lords during the 1970s, a historically minded peer recalled how in 1623 Lord Chief Justice Crewe had mourned the passing of England's old nobility. "Where is Bohun, where's Mowbray, where's Mortimer? Nay, which is more and most of all, where is Plantagenet? They are entombed in the urns and sepulchres of mortality." Charles's answer rang through the chamber, "Here is Mowbray!" - greeted with a roar of applause from other peers.

Duchess 12-20-2006 07:18 PM

i can't recall the name of the lady in this little story but i thought it was hilarious. here's a condensed version:

winston churchill was seated next to a lady who quite obviously didn't care much for him and said "if i was your wife i'd poison your drink" and he replied "if i was your husband i'd drink it"

Skydragon 12-21-2006 05:56 AM

It was Lady Astor! :lol:

Bessie Braddock to Churchill "Winston, your drunk!"
Churchill: "Bessie, you're ugly, and tomorrow morning I shall be sober"

Jo of Palatine 12-22-2006 06:39 AM

Thought I post this link here:

I WAS NOT DRUNK AS A LORD 'The airport whisky was too expensive'
A TOP Tory peer last night denied he was drunk when he was arrested for air rage.
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie told the Record he was innocent.

As an aside I have experienced similar things that lead up to that situation pretty often. They make a mistake on booking, check-in counter does not follow the right procedure but tell you everything will be alright - it's easier for them because they know you can't return to confront them once you passed security. And the next clerk knows of nothing and sends you off to the gate, saying he/she will phone - knowing that the long distances between terminal and gate will prevent you from coming back. Same game in the plane: of course noone phoned and there things are as they are!

Stewardesses have an extremely hard job, especially on flying shuttle services so it's understandible they didn't want arguing passengers. But still!

I once flew from Frankfort to London in the morning. To be ready for an important appointment I had dressed-up already in a silk suit. My fotographer wanted to treat me to one of the small bottles of champagne and ask the stewardess for it. She brought it, but unfortuantely the bottle fell down. The stewardess picked it up while I said: please, don't open that bottle. But she did (of course she did) and I was showered in sparkling champagne. I asked then very politely for an entrance voucher for the Lufthansa Lounge at Heathrow, because I knew they had showers and changing stalls there. But she refused! Though I knew they had these vouchers on board. Well, that happens all the time...

BlackroseofWindsor 12-26-2007 12:12 AM

Okay, a close examination of the British peerage system. I suppose it's not extremely complex, but there are definitely a lot of different terms and peopole in the whole situation. What I do know is the basic ranking of peers (i.e. : emperor/empress, king/queen, duke/duchess, earl, etc..), but a refresher on it would be highly appreciated. Also, who currently holds the different peerages (of course, I know Queen Elizabeth II holds queen, and there are no emperors/ empresses nowadays [are there?!])? So how exactly do people get there peerages? ( I know, for instance that dukedom is inherited, or given to members of royal family, a.k.a. the children and male-line heirs of the monarch, but what if the duke had a daughter (or daughters), and then what happens? What will happen to the dukedoms of, say, Gloucester or Kent, etc.? Also, what does "master" and "miss" mean ?

I apologize now if I can't post on the thread straight away, and don't be insulted if I don't reply quick enough. I can't stay on 24/7, so I'm sorry. I would love a private message, too.

wbenson 12-26-2007 12:32 AM

King/Queen and Emperor/Empress aren't really peerages. To be a peerage, it has to have historically offered a seat in the House of Lords. I say historically because in 1999 nearly all hereditary peers had their seats in the House of Lords removed, and the rest seem to be on their way out. In the UK There's the Emperor of Japan (and his wife the Empress), but he's the only current one I can think of. The only existence of the title "Emperor" or "Empress" in the UK was from the 1800s until 1947, when the monarch also held the title of Emperor/Empress of India.

The only way for a non-royal to get a peerage other than a barony nowadays is to inherit it. The last hereditary peerage (other than those given to Royals) created was the Earldom of Stockton, given to Harold MacMillan, the former PM.

There are two kinds of life peerages. The oldest kind is a "Lord of Appeal in Ordinary." These are high ranking judges. The other are normal life peerages. These started in 1958. These are created on the advice of the Prime Minister and, since 2000, an appointment commission.

In most cases, a peerage goes extinct if there are no male heirs. There are some (typically very old) peerages that can go to a daughter if she's an only child, but they go into abeyance if there are more than two, and one must petition the Crown for it to be terminated. Scottish peerages go to the eldest daughter no matter what in the absence of sons. It can also be written in to a grant of a peerage that the title can go to a daughter of the original grantee if there are no sons. That was the case with Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

The Dukedoms of Gloucester and Kent are, assuming no sudden deaths, going to pass to the respective first-born sons of the current Dukes, and then on down until they go extinct (if they do).

"Master," in England, is just the equivalent of "Mister" for boys under the age of 13. In Scotland, the heir to a Viscountcy, Barony, or Lordship of Parliament (the equivalent of an English Baron; Scottish barons aren't peers) is referred to as "Master of <father's title>"

"Miss" is just the form of address for an unmarried woman.

BeatrixFan 01-15-2008 12:09 PM


Thought the Mitford girls deserved a mention. I'm fascinated by them, especially Diana who seemed gloriously defiant in the face of all the facts. To hear a brief but amazing interview with Lady Mosley, follow this link;

In the interview, she's asked what her reaction would be if Hitler walked through the door. "I should be delighted", is her response.

For those who don't know, Diana Mosley was born Diana Mitford, one of the daughters of Baron Redesdale. She fell in love with the leader of the British Union of Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley and the pair married in the drawing room of Josef Goebbels' Berlin apartment in 1936. She was not only a great friend of Hitler thanks to the introduction via her sister Unity, but was a staunch Nazi and was arrested in 1940, and imprisoned in Holloway. Essentially, Oswald and Diana went into exile in France where she took great pleasure in discussing her Nazi connections. Although she said she was horrified by the Holocaust, she continued to support fascist anti-semitic causes, donating vast sums of money to the Union Movement (the successor to the BUF). She was a firm friend of the Duchess of Windsor and published a biography about her.

A portrait of Diana;

And older Diana;

judith14011 01-23-2008 11:59 AM

The British Aristocracy's Attitude towards Extramarital Affairs
There is something very bizarre and hypocritical (in my opinion) of the acceptance of extra marital relationships in the British aristocracy both historically and presently. The aristocrats were and iare prized for ......"discretion." There is the underlying impression that discretion is all. Meaning what exactly? What people don't know (except that they always do) won't hurt them?

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