The diarists: This week in history


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7 October, 1970

Cynthia Gladwyn wife of the British Ambassador to France:

"Went to France again last Friday to… a shoot. The guest of honour was the Prince of Wales. At dinner we were at three tables and Mary Soames [daughter of Winston Churchill] was at mine. She makes a tremendous din. Very jolly and kind-hearted, but with all the brashness which, so I have always heard, was characteristic of the home life of the Churchills. Words like bloody and bugger-off were bandied about loudly and so excited did she get that at one moment her son Nicholas (who… is equerry to the Prince) came over to tick her off and beg her to be quiet."

7 October, 1660

Samuel Pepys:

"To my Lord's [Sir Edward Montagu] and dined with him; he telling me the story how the Duke of York hath got my Lord Chancellor's daughter with child, and that she do lay it to him, and that for certain he did promise her marriage, and had signed it with his blood, but that he by stealth had got the paper out of her cabinet. And that the King would have him to marry her, but that he will not. So that the thing is very bad for the Duke… but my Lord do make light of it, as a thing that he believes is not a new thing for the Duke to do. Discoursing concerning what if the Duke should marry her, my Lord told me that among his father's many old sayings… this is one – that he that do get a wench with child and marry her afterwards is as if a man should shit in his hat and then clap it on his head." [They had in fact been secretly married on 3 September.

11 October, 1950

JR Ackerley author and editor:

"'Are you lost or eternally saved?' This was on sandwich board being carried out in Regent Street by a young man. I frowned at it, because it isn't really right to ask such intimate questions in public. The man smiled. 'It's all right,' he said, 'It ain't meant for you.'"