Frances Stevenson

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"A Private Secretary to Mr. Lloyd George: Miss F.L. Stevenson"

Frances Lloyd George, Countess Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, CBE (née Stevenson; 7 October 1888 – 5 December 1972) was the mistress, personal secretary, confidante and second wife of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

Frances Louise Stevenson was born in London. She was the daughter of a Lowland Scottish father and a mother of mixed French and Italian extraction. She was educated at Clapham High School, where in the fifth form she had made friends with Mair, Lloyd George's oldest daughter, and then at Royal Holloway College where she studied Classics.[1]

In July 1911, Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, hired Stevenson as a governess for his youngest daughter Megan. Lloyd George and Stevenson were soon attracted to each other. Although Stevenson, who wanted a conventional marriage and many children, hesitated about becoming the mistress of a married man, she agreed to become Lloyd George's personal secretary on his terms, which included a sexual relationship, in 1913.[2]

She was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1918 New Year Honours[3] and accompanied Lloyd George to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The delegates were under the impression she was still just his secretary.[4] In 1921 she wrote a series of articles about the delegates to the conference for The Sunday Times, which were collected and published by Cassells as Makers of the New World under the pseudonym "One Who Knows Them".[5] Stevenson chose the location and supervised the construction of Lloyd George's house Bron-y-de in Churt, Surrey.[6][7] She also arranged and collated Lloyd George's extensive archive of personal and political papers so that he could write his War Memoirs.

After having had two abortions,[8] Stevenson gave birth to a daughter, Jennifer, in 1929. Stevenson had been having an affair with Thomas Tweed, a novelist and Liberal Party official. Stevenson encouraged Lloyd George to believe the child was his, but it is more likely that her father was Tweed.[9]

Two years after Lloyd George's wife Margaret died, Stevenson married Lloyd George on 23 October 1943 despite the disapproval of Lloyd George's children from his first marriage.[10] In 1942, Lloyd George and Frances had bought Tŷ Newydd in his home village of Llanystumdwy near Criccieth and initiated a major renovation by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. In 1944 the couple moved into Tŷ Newydd.[11] Less than 18 months after their marriage, Lloyd George died on 26 March 1945, with Frances and his daughter Megan at his bedside.[12]

As Dowager Countess Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, she lived at Churt for the rest of her life, devoting her time to her family, charitable activities, perpetuating the memory of Lloyd George and writing. Her memoir The Years That Are Past was published in 1967, and her diary of her life with Lloyd George was published in 1971.

Further reading[edit]

  • Campbell, John, If Love Were All: The Story of Frances Stevenson and David Lloyd George, London: Jonathan Cape, 2006. ISBN 0-224-07464-4
  • Hague, Ffion, The Pain and the Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George's Life, London: HarperPress, 2008
  • Lloyd George, David and Frances, My Darling Pussy: The Letters of Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson, 1913–41, A.J.P. Taylor (editor), London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Publishers, 1975, ISBN 0-297-77017-9
  • Lloyd George, Frances, Lloyd George: A Diary, A. J. P. Taylor (editor), London: Hutchinson, 1971, ISBN 0-09-107270-0
  • Longford, Ruth (granddaughter of Frances Stevenson), Frances, Countess Lloyd George: More Than a Mistress, Leominster: Gracewing, 1996, ISBN 0-85244-324-2

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grigg, John (1991). "Ambulance Man". Lloyd George: The People's Champion 1902-1911. London: Methuen. p. 339. ISBN 0413647609.
  2. ^ Toye, Richard (2007). "Alliance Under Strain". Lloyd George & Churchill: Rivals for Greatness. London: Macmillan. pp. 100–102. ISBN 9781405048965.
  3. ^ "No. 30460". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 January 1918. p. 372.
  4. ^ Ruth Longford, Frances, Countess Lloyd-George: More than a mistress, Gracewing, Leominster, 1996, p 54.
  5. ^ Longford, Ruth (1996). "4: The Peace". Frances, Countess Lloyd George: More than a Mistress. Leominster: Gracewing. pp. 58, 69. ISBN 0852443242.
  6. ^ Owen, Frank (1954). "The Barren Years". Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George, His Life and Times. London: Hutchinson. p. 696.
  7. ^ Hague, Ffion (2008). "Alone into the Wilderness". The Pain and the Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George's Life. London: Harper Press. p. 413. ISBN 9780007219490.
  8. ^ Hague, Ffion (2008). "New Loves". The Pain and the Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George's Life. London: Harper Press. p. 454. ISBN 9780007219490.
  9. ^ Hague, Ffion (2008). "New Loves". The Pain and the Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George's Life. London: Harper Press. p. 461. ISBN 9780007219490.
  10. ^ Frances Lloyd George, The Years that are Past, 42-3, 52-3.
  11. ^ "David Lloyd George". Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  12. ^ "David Lloyd George remembered". Wales. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2018.

External links[edit]