The Virgin's Baby: The Battle of the Ampthill Succession by Bevis Hillier (Hardback, 2013)
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- DescriptionIn 1921 the Hon Mrs Christobel Russell, a famously spirited society beauty and the wife of the heir to Lord Ampthill, became pregnant while still a virgin, and gave birth to a son. Her virtue being challenged, she was medically examined by doctors and declared to be virgo intacta, despite her marriage. The resultant court case, in which the husband tried to repudiate paternity and sued for divorce, was eventually won by the lady. Meanwhile the entire nation had gorged for months on salacious speculations and sexual detail from the newspapers and the lawyers, all discussing the question of how she could have become pregnant. Queues of those seeking entry to the courts formed the length of the Strand, bets were laid, and King George V outraged. The private family photographs, letters and documents made available by the present Lord Ampthill to Bevis Hillier have enabled this distinguished and witty biographer to rekindle a never-forgotten scandal. The book includes accounts of contemporary court procedures, a comprehensive social survey of the temper of the age with regard to sex and marriage, and above all an historic phemen: the portrait of a woman who fascinated her generation.
- Author BiographyBEVIS HILLIER was educated at Reigate Grammar school followed by Oxford University, where he was Gladstone Prizeman at Magdalen College. He later joined The Times, became editor of The Connoisseur, editor of The Times Saturday Review, and a columnist on the Los Angeles Times. He is an authority on eighteenth-century English ceramics and the Art Deco and has written more than 30 books, including the very highly acclaimed official biography of the Poet Laureate, John Betjeman, published in 2004 in three volumes by John Murray. For some years he was the lead book reviewer of The Spectator, and is still a regular contributor.
- Author(s)Bevis Hillier
- PublisherHopcyn Press
- Date of Publication01/10/2013
- SubjectTrue Stories
- Place of PublicationLondon
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintHopcyn Press
- Content NoteIllustrated.8 pages of black and white photographs. 4 pages coloured.
- Width160 mm
- Height240 mm
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