Lloyd George at Eighty
David Lloyd George celebrated his eightieth birthday at his home at Bron-y-de, Churt, Surrey on 17 January 1943. It was an especially tense, potentially explosive occasion for the notoriously feud-racked Lloyd George family. It is a most useful and insightful vantage point from which to view, firstly, inter-relationships within the family structure, secondly, to examine Lloyd George’s many very real achievements as a farmer at his home at Bron-y-de, and thirdly to dissect his often negative, even unpatriotic viewpoints on the allied conduct of the Second World War.
In 1943, nearly two years had elapsed since the death of Dame Margaret Lloyd George at her north Wales home, Bryn Awelon, Criccieth. Lloyd George had always promised his private secretary and mistress of thirty years’ standing, Frances Stevenson, that, should his wife predecease him, he would, after a decent interval had elapsed, make an ‘honest woman’ of her. The occasion of his eightieth birthday would, on the face of it, be an ideal time for the second marriage to take place. As the birthday approached, Lloyd George’s long-suffering Principal Private Secretary, A. J. Sylvester, found himself bombarded by requests from insistent journalists and reporters that the old man should at least grant them a brief interview to mark the auspicious occasion. Arrangements were also well advanced for a private family party to be held at Bron-y-de to celebrate the birthday. But personal problems abounded. Both of Lloyd George’s daughters, Lady Olwen Carey-Evans (b. 1892) and Miss Megan Lloyd George (b. 1902), had adamantly refused to set foot inside Bron-y-de should Frances Stevenson also be present, and showed little inclination to back down as the date of the birthday now fast approached.