Friday 26 May 2017

Mary Kenny: Scandalous love affair that still sets tongues wagging

Playwright Harold Pinter and writer Lady Antonia Fraser pictured leaving Kensington Registry Office in London after their wedding in October 1980
Playwright Harold Pinter and writer Lady Antonia Fraser pictured leaving Kensington Registry Office in London after their wedding in October 1980
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

IT is probable that the most talked-about book in London literary circles in this first month of 2010 is not some worthy winner of a literary prize, or some harrowing narrative about a miserabilist childhood, but the brief and compelling diary/memoir written by Lady Antonia Fraser entitled 'Must You Go?'.

Lady Antonia -- the beautiful, accomplished and legendary eldest child of the late Lord Longford who was the scourge of the pornography trade and champion of both Myra Hindley and Eamon de Valera (for entirely different reasons, of course) -- has published her tender memoir of life with her late husband, the playwright Harold Pinter.

The memoir is much-discussed, from Hampstead to Kensington, because it is at once revealing, passionate, daring and unapologetic about the Pinter and Lady Antonia love story, which began as a gossip-column scandal and ended in almost Darby-and-Joan devotion. Critics of Lady Antonia's charmed life can be found behind closed doors, but few are willing to criticise openly because she inspires an almost obsessive loyalty among friends and family alike.

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