©United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division

Who is this woman who was sailing the Adriatic with the Prince of Wales and Wallis Warfield Simpson and was loved by some of its most prominent men, from Prime Minister Asquith to the great bass Chaliapin and the newspaper magnate Lord Beaver Brook? Cecil Beaton called her ''furiously beautiful'', while Churchill considered her ''of great worth in this sad world.''. 

Lady Diana Cooper was born as Diana Manners on August 29, 1892, as the daughter of John Manners, 7th Duke of Rutland, and Violet Lindsay, an artist, the granddaughter of the 24th Earl of Crawford and once a member of Queen Victoria's court. Lady Diana grew up in the castle of England´s oldest family and consequently relished the privileged upbringing of the upper classes. Her mother wished for her to marry the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII and after his abdication Duke of Windsor), instead in 1919, after serving as a nurse during the First World War, she ended up marrying Alfred Duff Cooper, a junior diplomat without private income. This decision stirred her family, but that didn´t come as a surprise if she possessed unorthodox wit, sharp intelligence and a lack of snobbery. 

In the Twenties, partly to improve their finances and partly because she was always open to it, Lady Diana starred in two silent movies (the first British Technicolor films) and later enchanted America and Europe in Reinhardt’s  The Miracle, off and on for twelve years. Her income enabled her husband to quit the Foreign Office for a career in politics, Parliament and high office. 

Throughout her life, this deceptively fragile, blue-eyed beauty with a flawless complexion was admired and befriended by many of the famous writers and literary figures of her time; D.H. Lawrence portrayed her in Aaron’s Rod as Lady Artemis Hooper, while her friend playwright and novelist Enid Bagnold gave a touching and accurate picture of her old age in The Loved and the Envied, she was immortalized in the Evely Waugh "Scoop" as Mrs. Stitch. Also, she was Arnold Bennett’s Lady Queenie Paulle in The Pretty Ladies. 

Not strange, she became one of the most remarkable and famous women of her time. Her many stories were told in three highly successful volumes of autobiography that started appearing in the late 1950s, titled ''The Rainbow Comes and Goes,'' ''The Light of Common Day'' and ''Trumpets From the Steep.''

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