Finding new people to obsess over: Loelia Ponsonby

There I was, reading my 1930s book, learning something new, expanding my horizons… when I fall accidentally into a 1920s trap that I should have seen coming a mile off. DANG, caught out again.

I love Elizabeth Ponsonby a lot – her boozing and cavorting make up a large part of my favourite book about the bright young things – but her cousin Loelia is more of a mystery to me. She is mentioned a fair bit, but only in the context of being a general gal about town, causing mischief and cavorting with other rich young folk.

A bit of Googling has told me more about Loelia – she later became the Duchess of Westminster, lived out her later years in a pink house and sewed needlepoints out of hair. She was a close friend of Ian Fleming and is the basis for Miss Moneypenny – with the character actually named after her in the novels.

She was a talented horticulturist, worked as features editor at Homes and Gardens and was the journalist sent to cover Grace Kelly’s wedding in Monte Carlo.

A favourite quote: “‘Anybody seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life.”

Anyway, my discoveries led me to her biography, Grace and Favour,  which is apparently scandal-packed and searingly honest about relationships, society and all those fascinating people she hung out with in the 20s and 30s.

Perhaps more interestingly, there’s another book called Cocktails and Laughter which is mostly personal photographs of the bright young people gadding about. I can’t find any scans of this anywhere online, which leads me to believe that it is perhaps my mission in life.

To be continued…

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