Nancy Astor the Viscountess Astor Quotes
When Nancy Astor, Britain's first female MP, told Sir Winston Churchill that: "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee," Churchill. According to Christopher Sykes, in Nancy: The Life of Lady Astor (): Martin Gilbert rather doubts that Nancy said to Winston Churchill. The putative insults between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor exhibited Churchill's mastery of this art form. What is less well known is Lady.
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But there is little doubt that the outstanding Astor — the landmark, the beacon — is Nancy Astor, who is not to be confused, of course, with "The Mrs Astor", Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, who was a New York society hostess. Born Nancy Langhorne in Danville, Virginia, inNancy Astor was the eighth child of a family who had fallen on hard times, but whose fortunes had revived. She married at 18, but the marriage was a disaster, and in Decemberdivorced, she departed on a cruise ship for England.
On the voyage she met Waldorf Astor — son of the hotel-building William Waldorf Astor — and within six months they were married. According to Christopher Sykes, in Nancy: The Life of Lady Astor The famous mansion and its grounds became Nancy's stage, where she played out the great dramas of her life. First, she became a Christian Scientist.
Then, inwhen Waldorf succeeded to his father's title as the 2nd Viscount Astor and ascended to the House of Lords, Nancy stood for his parliamentary seat of Plymouth Sutton, won, and so became the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. More demanding still, she became friends with George Bernard Shaw.
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After her birth, her father gained a job as a tobacco auctioneer in Danville, the center of bright leaf tobacco and a major marketing and processing center.
Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor - Wikipedia
Inhe won a construction contract with the Chespeake and Ohio Railroad, using former contacts from his service in the Civil War. Bywhen Nancy was thirteen years old, her father had re-established his wealth and built a sizeable home.
Nancy Langhorne had four sisters and three brothers who survived childhood. All of the sisters were known for their beauty; Nancy and her sister Irene both attended a finishing school in New York City.
They married in New York City on 27 Octoberwhen she was Nancy's childhood home, the Langhorne House in Danville, Virginia. The marriage was unhappy.
Great dynasties of the world: The Astors
Shaw's friends said Nancy became puritanical and rigid after marriage; her friends said that Shaw was an abusive alcoholic. Nancy left Shaw numerous times during their marriage, the first during their honeymoon. InNancy's mother died; at that time, Nancy Shaw gained a divorce and moved back to Mirador to try to run her father's household, but was unsuccessful.
Since she had been so happy there, her father suggested that she move to England. Seeing she was reluctant, her father said this was also her mother's wish; he suggested she take her younger sister Phyllis.
Sir Winston Churchill quotes: The famous lines that he never said
Nancy and Phyllis moved together to England in England[ edit ] A contemporary view of ClivedenNancy Astor's country house that served as a hospital in the World Wars Nancy Shaw had already become known in English society as an interesting and witty American, at a time when numerous wealthy young American women had married into the aristocracy.
Her tendency to be saucy in conversation, yet religiously devout and almost prudish in behavior, confused many of the English men but pleased some of the older socialites.
Nancy also began to show her skill at winning over critics. She was once asked by an English woman, "Have you come to get our husbands?
The couple were well matched, as they were both American expatriates with similar temperaments.
Winston Churchill vs. Nancy Astor | MADAME de PIQUE
They were of the same age, born the same day, 19 May Astor shared some of Nancy's moral attitudes, and had a heart condition that may have contributed to his restraint. After the marriage, the Astor couple moved into Clivedena lavish estate in Buckinghamshire on the River Thames that was a wedding gift from Astor's father.
A blue plaque unveiled in commemorates Astor at St.
Considered liberal in their age, the group advocated unity and equality among English-speaking people and a continuance or expansion of British imperialism. The friendship became important in her religious life. The two met shortly after Kerr had suffered a spiritual crisis regarding his once devout Catholicism.
The two were each searching for spiritual stability and they were attracted to Christian Scienceto which they both eventually converted. Anti-Catholicism was also tied into historic national rivalries. In she reportedly told James Louis Garvin that if he hired a Catholic, "bishops would be there within a week. When Kenneth Tynan resigned from the Observer in to take the post of Literary Manager of the National Theatre, he proposed the Irish playwright Dominic Behan as his preferred replacement.
Behan, a well-known atheistwas interviewed for the post. When he told the interview board that he was a Catholic, the offer was withdrawn. Behan later said to Tynan, "I would hope if a Nazi ever asked me my religion I would have the courage to defend my right to be a Jew, Bush Baptist or even a damn Catholic! He had enjoyed a promising political career for several years before World War I in the House of Commons ; after his father's death, he succeeded to his father's peerage as the 2nd Viscount Astor.
He automatically became a member of the House of Lords and consequently had to forfeit his seat of Plymouth Sutton in the House of Commons. Astor had not been connected with the women's suffrage movement in the British Isles. The first woman elected to the British ParliamentConstance Markieviczsaid Lady Astor was "of the upper classes, out of touch". Astor was hampered in the popular campaign for her published and at times vocal teetotalism and her ignorance of current political issues.
Her tendency to say odd or outlandish things sometimes made her appear unstable. On one occasion, while canvassing in Plymouth, she was greeted at a door by a girl whose mother was away. As Astor was unfamiliar with the area, she had been given a naval officer as an escort.
Astor appealed to voters on the basis of her earlier work with the Canadian soldiers, allies of the British, other charitable work during the war, her financial resources for the campaign and her ability to improvise.
Her audiences appreciated her wit and ability to turn the tables on hecklers. Once a man asked her what the Astors had done for him and she responded with, "Why, Charlie, you know," [Note 3] and later had a picture taken with him. This informal style baffled yet amused the British public. She rallied the supporters of the current government, moderated her Prohibition views, and used women's meetings to gain the support of female voters.
A by-election was held on 28 November and she took up her seat in the House on 1 December as a Unionist also known as " Tory " Member of Parliament. Viscountess Astor was not the first woman elected to the Westminster Parliament.
That was achieved by Constance Markieviczwho was the first woman MP elected to Westminster inbut as she was an Irish Republicanshe did not take her seat. As a result, Lady Astor is sometimes erroneously referred to as the first woman elected to Parliament rather than the first woman to take her seat in Parliament. Early years in Parliament[ edit ] Astor's Parliamentary career was the most public phase of her life. She gained attention as a woman and as someone who did not follow the rules, often attributed to her American upbringing.
On her first day in the House of Commons, she was called to order for chatting with a fellow House member, not realising that she was the person who was causing the commotion.
She learned to dress more sedately and avoided the bars and smoking rooms frequented by the men. He capitalised on her opposition to divorce reform and her efforts to maintain wartime alcohol restrictions. He portrayed her as a hypocrite, as she was divorced; he noted that the reform bill she opposed would allow women to have the kind of divorce she had had in America.
Bottomley later went to prison for fraud, which Astor used to her advantage in other campaigns. Margaret Wintringham was elected after Astor had been in office for two years. Astor later proposed creating a "Women's Party", but the female Labour MPs opposed this, as their party was in power and had promised them positions.
Over time, political differences separated the women MPs; by Astor became hostile to female Labour members such as Susan Lawrence.The Nation Mourns (1965)
She never held a position with much influence, and never any post of ministerial rank, although her time in Commons saw four Conservative Prime Ministers in office.