Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it through my extensive reading list in Madrid. I actually only read one book – the one I’d started before I even left, The Viceroy’s Daughters. On the plus side, the lack of reading was down to the mass of good stuff that I did, and I now have a selection of fine books to indulge in for the next few weeks of commuting.
The Viceroy’s Daughters covers the lives and loves of the Curzon sisters – Baba, Cimmie and Irene. These are by no means new names to me – Cimmie was married to Tom Moseley, and without giving too much away, there is plenty of other Mitford ‘involvement’ throughout the book. They’re fascinating characters, but actually, not always particularly nice. I think the most badly behaved sister of all was the youngest, Baba (real name Alexandra Naldera Curzon; Baba means baby in India, where she was raised). Despite her general unpleasantness, she is definitely the most stylish sister.
Taking photos of photos in old books results in the poor imagery you see before you, but I felt the need to note for prosperity how stylish Baba was. There are so few pictures online, I thought I’d do my bit to add a few more.
Baba on her wedding day in 1925, with her long-suffering husband, Fruity. Not his real name, I hasten to add. I love this 20s wedding gown – the flowers on the train are incredible.
Fruity, Baba and Monica Sheriffe hunting in Melton Mowbray. Baba’s coat is incredible, and I love the little lace up booties she’s wearing. I don’t know much about Monica Sheriffe over there on the right, but I do like her furry mitts and houndstooth jacket.
Here’s Baba and ‘friend’ Jock Whitney in 1934. It’s a piss poor picture, but she has an amazing hat and collar here.
Here’s Baba in 1975 accepting her CBE. Worst picture of all, but still. aged 71, in her furry finery.