Irene Curzon, 2nd Baroness Ravensdale
Mary Irene Curzon, 2nd Baroness Ravensdale, CBE (20 January 1896 – 9 February 1966) was the eldest child of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Mary Victoria Leiter, a daughter of Levi Ziegler Leiter.
She inherited her father's Barony of Ravensdale, County Derby, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, on 20 March 1925, and was created a life peer as Baroness Ravensdale of Kedleston, of Kedleston, in the County of Derby on 6 October 1958. This allowed her to sit in the House of Lords prior to the passing of the Peerage Act 1963, which allowed suo jure hereditary peeresses to enter. She and her two younger sisters were memorialized by Anne de Courcy in The Viceroy's Daughters: the Lives of the Curzon Sisters.
Curzon had an intimate insight into the life of the Duke of Windsor, his friendship and marriage to Wallis Simpson and the life of the House of Windsor, herself and through her sister, Alexandra and her brother-in-law Major Edward Dudley Metcalfe, best friend of Edward VIII. She saw the rise of British fascism through her sister Lady Cynthia Mosley and her other brother-in-law Sir Oswald Mosley, with whom she had an affair prior to their marriage.
She was intensely musical and passionate about fox hunting, bridge, parties, drinking and sex. She had numerous love affairs within the elite Melton Mowbray hunting clique and had a long relationship with the renowned pianist Arthur Rubinstein, whom she said she slept with on his wedding day.
Both Victor Cazalet and Nevile Henderson proposed to her. She was engaged to Miles Graham and Gorden Leith but never married and had no children. She worried that she and her money might be seen primarily as useful accompaniments to a political career and yearned to marry a man that would refuse to leave his wife. For consolation she turned to drink, charitable work and looking after her sisters' children.
During World War II she was based at the Dorchester Hotel, nicknamed 'the Dorch', her days spent nursing wounded soldiers, working in canteens, lecturing and doing other war work. Curzon was made the fourth female life peer for her work with youth clubs. Her youngest sister, Alexandra, was also recognized a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her tireless efforts on behalf of Save the Children Fund.
- Anne de Courcy (2002), The Viceroy's Daughters: the Lives of the Curzon Sisters, Preview, New York: W. Morrow, ISBN 0-06-621061-5, retrieved 31 January 2011
- Time profile, 8 June 1925.
- The Viceroy's Daughters. ISBN 0-06-621061-5 Library of Congress Online Catalog; retrieved 16 January 2007. Review, loc.gov; accessed 14 May 2016.
- Carter, Miranda. Poor Little Rich Girls, 2 June 2002, New York Times - Books; retrieved 4 April 2007.
- Publishers Preview: The Viceroy's Daughters, harpercollins.com; accessed 13 May 2016.
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
George Nathaniel Curzon