Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Scandalous women in British The Telegraph /

The promiscuous Jane Digby was a 19th century aristocrat famous for her long list of husbands and lovers – including King Otto of Greece, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and a Greek count. Eventually she married the Syrian sheikh Abdul Medjuel el Mezrab, and spent half of each year living in the desert as a nomad.
Picture: INTERFOTO / Alamy
In 1963, during the divorce proceedings of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, scandalous pictures emerged of the Duchess showing her naked except for her signature pearl necklace, and performing sex acts on a mysterious man. It was widely rumoured that her partner was the minister of defence, Duncan Sandys, but she never revealed his identity.
Picture: Daily Mail /Rex Features

Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the suffragette movement, shocked society with her demands that women should have the right the vote. Pankhurst's violent tactics – including arson and window smashing – were deeply controversial even within her own movement, and she was imprisoned several times.

One of history's most famous femme fatales, Edward II's French queen Isabella famously overthrew her husband with the aid of her lover, Roger Mortimer, in 1326. Atfer her son, Edward, wrested back power, Mortimer was executed, but Isabella was allowed to live.
Picture: Classic Image / Alamy

The Ladies of Llangolen were two aristocratic Irish women who caused a major scandal in 1778 when, rather than be forced into arranged marriages, they ran away together to set up house in Wales. The couple became something of a tourist attraction, with luminaries such as Wordsworth, Shelley and Sir Walter Scott all paying them a visit.
Picture: Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy
The beautiful Diana Mitford caused the society scandal of the year in 1933 when she left her husband Bryan Guinness for Oswald Mosely, leader of the British Union of Fascists. Both she and her Mosely were interned during the Second World War for their supposed Nazi sympathies.
Picture: Daily Mail /Rex Features
American divorcée Wallis Simpson was catapulted into infamy when Edward VIII abdicated to marry her. Bizarre rumours of how she had captivated the the King –including, most famously, that she had learnt sex techniques from prostitutes in China – circulated until the end of her life. The Queen Mother is said to have once dubbed her "the lowest of the low".
Picture: Everett Collection/Rex Features
Vita Sackville-West raised eyebrows with her unorthodox open marriage to Sir Harold Nicholson, which saw both of them have frequent affairs with members of the opposite sex. Once, when she eloped with her lover Violet Trefusis to France, Sir Harold was forced to cross the Channel to try to persuade her back.
Picture: Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library / Alamy
The married Lady Caroline Lamb found herself embroiled in scandal in 1812, when she embarked on an affair with Lord Byron. After the relationship ended, she was taken in disgrace to Ireland, but continued to obsess over him till the end of her life.
Picture: Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library / Alamy
Writer Mary Wollstonecraft was famous for defending women's rights, as well as for her unconventional personal life. A frank biography published by her husband William Godwin after her death, which revealed, among other things, that she had borne a child out of wedlock, provoked outrage.
Picture: Lebrecht Music and Arts Photo Library / Alamy
The demanding behaviour of King Charles II's mistress Barbara Palmer, the Duchess of Cleveland, was so notorious that the writer John Evelyn christened her "the curse of a nation". Extravagant and powerful, Villiers was in fact married throughout her liasions with Charles, but bore the King five acknowledged children.
Picture: Getty Images
Caroline Norton was a famous beauty who scandalised society when she left her husband in 1836, prompting him to accuse her of adultery with the home secretary, Lord Melbourne. Although she was not found guilty, Norton's reputation was damaged, and she had to use her wits to survive. She is now remembered as a famous writer and social reformer.
Picture: Hilary Morgan / Alamy
Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire (portrayed here by Keira Knightley in the film The Duchess) famously lived for years in a menage a trois with her husband and his mistress. She also became notorious for her active political campaigning, unusual for a woman at the time, and is said to have had an affair with the Whig statesman Charles James Fox.
Picture: Daily Mail /Rex Features
When Victorian actresss Fanny Kemble moved to America to marry the slave plantation owner Pierce Mease Butler, she was horrified by the conditions she found there – though her husband barred her from publishing her thoughts. After a messy divorce, she published a journal of her time on the plantation which shocked America, and became a prominent anti-slavery campaigner.
Picture: Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy

In the late 1970s Cynthia Payne, a party planner, hit the headlines when police raided her London home and found a sex party in progress, at which the patrons had paid for services in luncheon vouchers. She spent four months in Holloway prison, and later published an aptly-named book calledEntertaining at Home.
Picture: Bill Johnson / Associated Newspapers /Rex Features

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