Margaret, Duchess of Argyll’s life was one of complexity and controversy. Born Ethel Margaret Whigham, the only child of a Scottish self-made millionaire and a beautiful high-society woman, her childhood was rich and splendid – but empty. She was a daddy’s girl with an absent father, living with a jealous mother who sought to remind Margaret of her every shortcoming. As she grew up, her name was a byword for class and beauty; she was the debutante of her coming-out year, and her marriage to Charles Sweeny literally stopped traffic.
But it was not to last: Margaret needed more.
What followed was a story of tragedy, scandal and heartbreak as Margaret swung from lover to lover, society to society. This culminated in her notorious divorce case of 1963, where her soon-to-be-ex-husband produced his pie`ce de résistance: a Polaroid of her in a compromising position with two other men.
In The Grit in the Pearl, Lyndsy Spence takes a look at a woman who was ahead of her time. Using previously unpublished sources and personal transcripts, this is the story of a fragile woman who was to come up against the very highest echelons of English high society – and lose.