From left to right - Back row:
Hon. P. Thelusson and
Hon Mrs George Keppel
Front Row: Princess Victoria and Lady Alington
Seated on the ground:
Lois Sturt (daughter of Lady Alington)
Mrs Keppel is seen in one such picture taken at Crichel in 1909 a small part of which is reproduced on the left. Included with the party are the King and Queen with Princess Victoria and the Alingtons, Lord Farquhar, the Countess of Gosford, Marquis de Soveral, the Earl and Countess de Grey, Lady Bass and others.
Before her relationship with the King, Mrs Keppel had been the mistress of Lord Alington. Also in the photograph is a very young Lois Sturt. In later years she would have an affair with Prince George (who would become King George VI). He had a mind to marry her but her "fast" reputation had doomed them in the eyes of the King (Edward VII). The sauce of the goose could obviouly not be that of the gosling!
The housekeeper, maids and valets at the weekend gatherings understood the careful coding of the cards that hung beside the bell indicator outside the pantry and `the recurrence of certain adjustments and coincidences'. At times scandal surfaced -- to do with jealousy, betrayal, broken hearts. The Prince of Wales was twice threatened with the law by angry husbands. But these elite gatherings were untroubled by intrusion from zoom-angle lenses through the windows of the Tapestry Room, the tapping of cellular phones or bugging devices in the chandeliers.
Mrs Keppel turned adultery into an art. Her demeanour and poise countered `whispers, taints and horrible noxious suspicions'. Clear as to what she wanted -- prosperity and status -- she challenged none of the proprieties of her class.
She remained with the King until his death.
Diana Southami, Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter, New York: St. Martinís Press, 1997
Sarah Bradford, King George VI, Weinenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1989.