25. Oktober 2019 19:00
As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War, a timely reflection on a little known aspect of the conflict – the role of mistresses in the lives of the powerful men who conducted the war.
Jonathan Walker examines the colourful and influential lives of three Edwardian mistresses of the Prime Minister, the Commander-in-Chief and the Quartermaster-General. These were not the quiet and submissive women who lived their lives in the shadows; Winifred Bennett was a society beauty; Emilie Grigsby was a fabulously wealthy American; the Hon Sylvia Henley was the daughter of one of the great aristocratic Liberal families of the age.
Using primary source material and private family archives, Jonathan takes you on a journey into London’s High Society during the glittering Edwardian era and then on through the tumult of the Great War. In examining the private lives of the great and the good, he reveals many startling and often amusing escapades with mistresses, who were sensual, strong-willed and manipulative. It was also an age of burgeoning sexual awareness for women, which the war served to accelerate.
This story of power, passion and betrayal, richly illustrated by slides, will leave you in no doubt that those responsible for running the war, and for the lives of millions of men, had more on their minds than just guns and politics.
Jonathan Walker is an author, member of the British Commission for Military History and Honorary Research Fellow in War Studies at the University of Birmingham. He has written and contributed to ten books and lectures widely on aspects of 20th Century conflict. Jonathan has appeared in a number of television and radio documentaries, and has recently featured in BBC’s Portillo’s State Secrets, Heroes of War and The Last Battle of the British Empire. Last year he acted as historical advisor for a major 6-part BBC drama and, as critic, was also recently one of the judges for the British Television Documentary Awards.