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Andrew Roberts meets Lady Antonia Fraser
  1. The life of the bewitching Lady Antonia Fraser
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  3. Lady Antonia Fraser (E-kitapları)
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This weekend. Afternoon tea. Sunday roasts.

The life of the bewitching Lady Antonia Fraser

Date ideas. With dogs. Vegan food. With kids. Late night London. On a budget. Top Shows. Book Of Mormon. Lion King.

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Phantom Of The Opera. Thriller - Live. Les Miserables. Motown The Musical. Mamma Mia. Kinky Boots. Fish and chips. Michelin stars. Covent Garden. Notting Hill. Good views. Family friendly. West End. Art exhibitions. Modern art. Museum exhibitions. A collection of the best contributions and reports from the Telegraph focussing on the key events, decisions and moments in Churchill's life.

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A complete edition of John James Audubon's world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase. Terms and Conditions. Style Book. Weather Forecast. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Wednesday 10 July By Andrew Roberts. Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser. Related Articles.

Book Reviews. Related Partners. In Book Reviews. Fraser is gratified to hear this but less happy when I mention my mother's other source of glee. I tell Fraser that I think she felt quite a kinship when Vivien Merchant said that bitchy thing about you being able to wear Harold's shoes: "I don't go that way, Ginny," she says hastily. She doesn't go that way partly, one suspects, because as she made abundantly clear in print, the previous Mrs Pinter never reconciled herself to the break-up of her marriage, which must have played a factor in her unhappy alcoholic death at the age of Pinter and their son remain estranged.

As Fraser would doubtless say, why should she be expected to talk about such private, hurtful matters to a stranger. But there is also something almost quaintly old-fashioned about her reticence which is at odds with our confessional culture. Other femmes serieuses certainly do not feel the same compunction. Marjorie Wallace, the admirable chief executive of SANE and former Sunday Times journalist, has apparently incurred Lord Snowdon's displeasure by talking about their long affair.

And Joan Bakewell wrote about her seven-year affair with Pinter - which started at the beginning of her marriage to Michael Bakewell, a BBC head of plays, and lasted through her second pregnancy - in her autobiography The Centre of the Bed in But Pinter had already opened that door - in a betrayal of his own, it could be argued - by using their affair as the basis of his play Betrayal.

At the time, it was assumed that the woman at the heart of the affair was Antonia Fraser, but the truth emerged in Michael Billington's biography of Pinter, which the playwright read before publication, in Fraser has kept diaries through all her tumultuous decades. She refers to them when talking about V. Naipaul's late wife, Pat, who was an old Oxford friend and helped her do the "donkey research" for Fraser's anthology of Scottish Love Poems published in She was absolutely "charmed", she said, to discover at a recent Sunday lunch at Chequers that Gordon Brown had been at the launch party when he was a student at Edinburgh.

These diaries would be a biographer's dream - with such a cast of illustrious characters and Fraser's sharp observations, not to mention her insights about her own various tangles and predicaments. But she says that she very rarely looks at the diaries unless she has to check something and when she does she finds them all too interesting, "which is why I don't read them. I don't want to start. I'm still living my life. All this time, the invisible presence of Harold Pinter - her soul mate for almost half her life - has been weaving in and out of our dialogue.

It is striking how often Fraser references him, in the way that those who are newly smitten want to steer the conversation back to the object of their affection. Or that the recently bereaved draw comfort from talking about their departed loved one. When we talk about her marching against the Iraq war, she reminds me that Harold spoke.

I mention Norman Lamont's rather moving address at Benazir Bhutto's memorial service, and she smiles: "Well, of course, Norman and Harold crossed swords over Chile and Pinochet. The quality of his love is in the poems he's written to me. Nowadays he writes poetry; he feels he's written enough plays. Is he good in a situation like that? His priority was me. Anger wasn't going to help me. She seems genuinely mystifed by her husband's reputation for being angry. There is a great photograph of the couple, reproduced on page 23, when they were first together, with Pinter waving his two fingers and Fraser, fabulous in a fur-trimmed coat, half-smiling as she looks down.

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Well, not to me anyway. You know, the press writes that someone is angry and then everything they do is angry. If you saw him do his Nobel speech on television, you have to ask yourself, is this man - in the most public thing that he'll ever do - is he angry or passionate? And if he is angry, what is he angry about?

I like that. I have very strong views, too. We mostly agree politically but not entirely. Do you argue much? I'm not a very quarrelsome person - or that's my story, anyway. What has been the secret of their long and happy marriage? And I suspect he finds me interesting. And one of the nice things about him is that it's impossible to predict who he will take a fancy to and who he won't. Also, we're both writers but we write absolutely, totally differently.

I can't think of two more different things than the plays of Harold Pinter and the historical biographies of Antonia Fraser. So there is absolutely no competition. Harold is not competitive, except in cricket, anyway. And I love the theatre, of course.

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What was it that she liked so much about his plays? I only know that I liked the plays before I met the playwright.

Lady Antonia Fraser (E-kitapları)

Poetic in parts. Very funny in other parts. Billington, who of course is a critic, when asked what makes Pinter tick, wrote: "I believe that memory is almost the key to Pinter's whole work as an artist. He is plagued and haunted by the whole notion of memory and by the idea that as we go through daily life we are occupied by our memory of past events, past emotional circumstances and they can break through at any moment.

I'm sure some people would find it surprising that with their very different backgrounds Pinter is the son of a Jewish East End tailor , they have forged such a deep connection.


It's ridiculous. What background? We were both sophisticated enough - Harold was in his mid-forties and I was in my early forties. It didn't matter where we came from, it mattered where we were going. Pinter will be 78 this October and has been battling ill health.

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  4. I ask how he is faring now. I don't want to say he's fine and by the time this comes out, he's back in hospital. He had cancer, and then he had a very rare auto-immune blood disease, and then he had some interior troubles. I wonder whether she found her love changing as her husband became ill. She used to speak so proudly of his robust health and vigour on the tennis courts. The couple still seem to lead an enviably active cultural life but Fraser can't quite bring herself to see Vanessa Redgrave's performance in A Year of Magical Thinking, the adaptation of Joan Didion's book about the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne.

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    6. It's about much more than dying, really. It's about love. The doorbell rings and Fraser says we must stop. She has an important engagement with one of her many family members: lunch followed by the theatre. Lady A has always been rather admirably undomestic. She loathes cooking and shopping and womanly duties. Of course she knows Nigella, but then she seems to know everyone.