Study Group Wednesdays

Our presentation this week was on Edwina Mountbatten. Countess of Burma, Vicereine of India!

Portrait by Philip de Laszlo.

A did a fabulous job of presenting this very conflicted woman with deep insecurities, in a sympathetic light.

An heiress with a privileged childhood, Edwina’s early life was one of hedonistic excesses. An early marriage to Louis Mountbatten and the birth of two daughters brought with it no sense of quietude.
Restless, she travelled the world continuously. Lovers came and went like a new season of clothing! She seemed to be seeking thrill after new thrill to quench some inner demon.

And then WW II happened. And with it a metamorphosis. Edwina’s life took on a new meaning. She became more and more involved with touring war torn Europe and Africa. Lending her voice to support the Red Cross. To illuminate the sorry state of military hospitals.

If indulgence and pleasure seeking was once the driving force in her life, it seemed that “Humanitarianism” was now her new mantra.

Edwina remains a conundrum, and my feeling towards her is ambivalent. For me her dereliction of her duty towards her own children sits very uncomfortably with her wartime flurry of activity. And I can’t quite accept that altruism was the only motive….

So who are the women that get you thinking? Are they women who’ve made history, women who bask in the light of celebrity? Or someone who is a mystery?



  1. I am quite enjoying your this series and meeting some extraordinary women for the first time through your posts.