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April 19 , 2008

Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter


Alice Keppel, lover of Queen Victoria's son Edward VII and great-grandmother of Camilla Parker-Bowles, was the acceptable face of Edwardian adultery. It was her art to be the King's mistress yet to laud the Royal Family and the institution of marriage. She partnered the King for yachting at Cowes and helped him choose presents for his wife Queen Alexandra while remaining calmly married to her complaisant husband George. But for her daughter Violet, passionately in love with Vita Sackville-West, romance proved tragic and destructive. Mrs Keppel used all the force at her command to repress the relationship.

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This fascinating and intense mother-daughter relationship highlights Edwardian and contemporary duplicity and double standards. It goes to the heart of questions about the monarchy, family values and sexual freedoms.

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