Elizabeth Pakenham

Life
1906-2002; [Elizabeth née Harman; m. Pakenham; Elizabeth Longford; Countess of Longford: Baroness Longford], b. 30 Aug., Harley St.; eldest of five children, her parents both being physicians and her mother a sis. of Joseph Chamberlain; brought up as liberal Jew; ed. Francis Holland School, London and Headington; afterwards at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; called ‘one of those aesthetic molls’ by John Betjeman; friendly with Gaitskell, Maurice Bowra, Evelyn Waugh and Davied Cecil; bestowed kiss on brow sleeping Frank Pakenham (7th earl of Longford - ‘like a Greek god with brown curls’) and married him at St. Margaret’s Westminister, 1931 - Pakenham accidentally arriving at Westminster Abbey; converted to catholicism at his request; stood for Labour at Cheltenham, 1935; afterwards elected for King’s Norton, Birmingham, being unlisted and resigning at her sixth pregnancy, 1944; stood for Oxford, 1950; wrote column on parenthood for Beaverbrook, 1950s; issued Jameson’s Raid: The Prelude to the Boer War (1960), and life of Victoria RI (1964), winner of James Tait Black Award; 2-vol. biography of Wellington (1969-72), also a life of Churchill (1974); The Pilgrim of Passion (1979), a life of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt; also a history of the house of Windsor (1976); a study of Byron’s Greece (1976); Eminent Victorian Women (1981); lives of the Queen (1983) and the Queen Mother (1881); issued an autobiography as The Pebbled Shore (1986); among her children are Thomas Pakenham, Antonia Fraser, Rachel Billington, and Judith Kazantzis; d. 23 Oct. 2002.

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Works
Jameson’s Raid (1960), reiss. as Jameson’s Raid: The Prelude to the Boer War (1982, 1984); Wellington, 2 vols. (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1969-72); Louisa, Lady in Waiting: the personal diaries and albums of Louisa, Lady in Waiting to Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra (1979); The Queen Mother (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, c1981; 184p: ill.; Elizabeth R: A Biography (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1983), xiii, 389pp., ill.; ed., The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes (1989); Royal Throne: The Future of the Monarchy (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1993), 189pp.; The Pebbled Shore: The Memoirs of Elizabeth Longford (NY: Alfred A. Knopf 1986), xii, 351 pp., 16pp. pls.; Pilgrim of Passion (NY: Knopf 1979), 467pp., 49 ills.; Winston Churchill (London: Sidgwick & Jackson 1974), 224pp. [See version of COPAC listing, infra.]

Miscellaneous incl. also introduction to Frances Makower & Joan Faber, eds., On the Way Home: Reflections for Old Age Elizabeth Longford (1994), ill. Margaret Tournour.

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Criticism
Frances Makower, Elizabeth Longford (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1997), xi, 212pp., [8]pp of pls.; obituary in Guardian Weekly (31 Oct. 2002, p.23.)

Commentary
Obituary, in The Irish Times (Sat., 26 Oct. 2002): b. Harley St., eldest of five and dg. of two doctor-parents; admired and pursued by Hugh Gaitskell, Maurice Bowra, and others at Cambridge Univ.; friend of Evlyn Waugh; first saw Frank Pakenham, ‘like a Greek god’, slumbering ‘with brown curls’ at New College Ball; m. St. Margaret’s, Westminster, 1931; introduced to Workers’ Educ. Assoc.; Pakenham converted to Catholicism; held safe seat of Cheltenham for Labour till 1944 when objections to her sixth pregnancy (‘addiction to motherhood’) scuppered her career; wrote column in Beaverbrook’s Sunday Express in 1950s; issued Jameson Raid (1960); Victoria RA (1964), based on access to Royal Archives and winner of Tait Black Prize; two-vol. life of Wellington (1969); life of Churchill [q.d.]; also, a history of House of Windsor; Byron’s Greece and a volume on eminent Victorian women; ed. letters of Queen Victoria to her dg. Louise (Darling Loosy, 1991); issued Life of Wilfred Scawan Blunt as The Pebbled Shore (1986) [err. for Passionate Pilgrimage]; family of five authors feted collectively at Foyles luncheon, 1969; resided at Bernhurst, the Sussex house bequeathed by a Longford uncle; swam 20 ‘stately’ lengths of the pool each day; issued Royal Throne (1993), declaring her faith in the monarchy and in Prince Charles; survived by Thomas, Antonia Fraser, Rachel Billington and Judith Kazantzis, 26 grandchildren and seven gt-gr.-children.

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Notes
Guardian Weekly, obituary (31 Oct. 2002) cites Elizabeth Longford ed. letters of Queen Victoria to her daughter Louise, or “Loosy” (1991), not to be confused with Louisa, Lady in Waiting (1979).

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