Happy Birthday to Lady Antonia Fraser, who turns 90 today! The daughter of the 7th Earl and Countess of Longford, her father was the Labour politician and social reformer and her mother was the noted historian and biographer, growing up with her eight siblings between the family seats of Tullynally Castle and North Aston Hall. Lady Antonia was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford, St Mary’s School in Ascot, and Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford, while also taking part in the Debutante Season of 1960.
Lady Antonia began writing and publishing her books in the 1950s, with her first major work being a biography of Mary Queen of Scots, which was awarded the 1969 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, followed by Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1973), King Charles II (1979), The Warrior Queens (1989), The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1996), Marie Antoinette (2001), Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King (2006), as well as her autobiography Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter (2010). Marie Antoinette was the basis of the 2006 film. Currently, Lady Antonia is working on Lady Caroline Lamb: A Free Spirit.
In 1956, Lady Antonia married Sir Hugh Fraser, a Conservative Unionist MP in the House of Commons, and the couple had six children before their divorce in 1977, after she had been having an affair with playwright Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, who she married in 1980, remaining married until his death in 2008. Lady Antonia continues to live in the family home in Holland Park in London, where she continues to write in her fourth-floor study. We wish her a very Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns!