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Alexandra Naldera Curzon

 

Alexandra Naldera Curzon

Lady Alexandra Naldera Curzon, CBE (20 March/April 1904 – 7 August 1995),[1] was the third daughter of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India, and Lord Curzon's first wife, the American mercantile heiress, formerly Mary Victoria Leiter, Mary Victoria Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston. She was named after her godmother, Queen Alexandra and her place of conception, Naldehra, India. She and her two older sisters were memorialized by Anne de Courcy in 'The Viceroy's Daughters: the Lives of the Curzon Sisters.' [2]

Early life

Alexandra was conceived in July 1903 at Naldehra, 25 km from Shimla, perhaps after a game of high altitude golf,[3][4] and was named after that place. Her mother died in 1906 when she was only two years old. Her father's Indian servants called her "Baba Sahib", "the Viceroy's baby", and she was thereafter best known as "Baba". She and her sisters, Mary Irene and Cynthia, "Cimmie", were brought up in grand houses, Hackwood Park and Montacute; their London home, 1 Carlton Gardens in Carlton House Terrace, became a centre of elite social life after Curzon's second marriage to Grace Elvina Duggan in 1917. She was dubbed the "prettiest debutante of the 1922 season".[5]

Adulthood

She was the first love of Prince George, Duke of Kent but on 21 July 1925 she married Major Edward Dudley Metcalfe, the best friend and equerry of George's older brother, Edward VIII.[6] She was one of a handful of witnesses to Edward's marriage to Wallis Simpson. [7]

The Metcalfes had a son, David, and twin daughters, Davina and Linda.

She later became a mistress of Oswald Mosley, her sister Cynthia's husband, as did their stepmother, Grace.,[8][9] She had affairs with Jock Whitney, Michael Lubbock, Walter Monckton and Charles Duncombe, 3rd Earl of Feversham. Before World War II she earned the sobriquet Baba Blackshirt, and for a while played a murky role as a semiwitting go-between for Mosley and her other lover at the time, Dino Grandi, Benito Mussolini's ambassador to London, while simultaneously enjoying the romantic devotion of the foreign secretary, Lord Halifax who was staying at the same Dorchester Hotel as Alexandra and her sister.[5]

Later life

The main thrust of Baba's later life was her tireless efforts for the Save the Children Fund, a commitment that lasted for more than 40 years. Lady Alexandra joined the Save the Children Fund in 1950 and was very active doing fund-raising in London. In 1955 she and her husband divorced and she became a member of the fund's governing council. Later she became chairman of the Overseas Relief and Welfare Committee, which controls all overseas work of the fund. In 1974 she was elected vice-president. She was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire for these efforts in 1975.[10][11][12]

Alexandra was portrayed in the 1980 seven-episode television mini-series, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, which won the 1980 Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series.[13]

She died on 7 August 1995 at age 91 at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Oxfordshire.

References

  • Sarah Bradford, (Aug 9, 1995) Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, The Independent, London, retrieved 4/9/2007 Short Biography
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