Frances Donaldson led a wonderfully multi-faceted life. As the daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, she grew up in the frivolous world of 1920s cafe society, yet she became a committed socialist. As the wife of Lord Donaldson, who was on the board of both London opera houses and was subsequently Minister for the Arts, she was at the centre of cultural life in Britain. Yet for many years she had been a farmer, since, during the Second World War, alone and with no experience, she was determined to make a go of it. Her first two books, both highly successful, were about farming; they were followed by a portrait of Evelyn Waugh, a biography of her father, and biographies of Edward VIII and P.O. Wodehouse, whom she knew as a child. Populated by characters as diverse as Waugh and Frederick Ashton, Tony Crosland and Ann Fleming, this delightful, highly personal memoir reflects the dramatically changing times which have shaped Frances Donaldson's fascinating life.
Lady Donaldson of Kingsbridge (1907-1994), a British writer and biographer, was the daughter of Freddie Lonsdale, a playwright. She married John George Stuart Donaldson, Baron Donaldson of Kingsbridge (known as Jack), a left-wing intellectual, social worker, and dilettante Gloucestershire farmer in 1935. As the daughter of the playwright Frederick Lonsdale, she grew up in the frivolous world of 1920s café society, yet she became a committed socialist. As the wife of Lord Donaldson who was on the board of both London Opera houses and was subsequently Minister for the Arts, Frances Donaldson was at the cultural centre of British life.
Her body of work included topics such as farming, and biographies on writers Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, as well as on her father, Freddie. Her biography of King Edward VIII won the Wolfson Literary Award and was the basis for a six-part television series, "Edward and Mrs. Simpson," starring James Fox and Cynthia Harris.