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Lady Alexandra Naldera Metcalfe, CBE (née Curzon; 20 March/April 1904 – 7 August 1995[1]) was the third daughter of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India, and Lord Curzon's first wife, the American mercantile heiress, Mary Victoria Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston (née Leiter). She was named after her godmother, Queen Alexandra and her place of conception, Naldehra, India. She and her two older sisters were memorialised by Anne de Courcy in The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters.[2]

Lady Alexandra Curzon

Lady Alexandra Curzon.jpg
Cover of 'The Viceroy's Daughters ...' showing Lady Alexandra Naldera Curzon
Born
Alexandra Naldera Curzon

20 March/April 1904
Died7 August 1995(1995-08-07) (aged 91)
Spouse(s)
Edward Dudley Metcalfe
(m. 1925; div. 1955)
Children3
Parent(s)George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
Mary Leiter
RelativesMary Curzon, 2nd Baroness Ravensdale (sister)
Lady Cynthia Mosley (sister)

Early lifeEdit

Alexandra was conceived in July 1903 at Naldehra, 25 km from Shimla, perhaps after a game of high altitude golf,[3][4] and was named after that place. Her mother died in 1906 when Alexandra was only two years old. Her father's Indian servants called her "Baba Sahib", "Baby Master", and she was thereafter best known as "Baba". She and her sisters, Mary Irene and Cynthia, "Cimmie", were brought up in grand houses, Hackwood Park and Montacute; their London home, 1 Carlton Gardens in Carlton House Terrace, became a centre of elite social life after Curzon's second marriage to Grace Elvina Duggan in 1917. She was dubbed the "prettiest debutante of the 1922 season".[5]

AdulthoodEdit

She was the first love of Prince George, Duke of Kent. However, on 21 July 1925 she married Major Edward Dudley Metcalfe, the best friend and equerry of George's older brother, Edward VIII.[6] She was one of a handful of witnesses to Edward's marriage to Wallis Simpson.[7]

The Metcalfes had a son, David, and twin daughters, Davina and Linda.

She had affairs with Jock Whitney, Michael Lubbock, Walter Monckton, and Charles Duncombe, 3rd Earl of Feversham. Before World War II she earned the sobriquet Baba Blackshirt, and for a while played a murky role as a semiwitting go-between for Oswald Mosley and her other lover at the time, Dino Grandi, Benito Mussolini's ambassador to London, while simultaneously enjoying the romantic devotion of the foreign secretary, Lord Halifax, who was staying at the same Dorchester Hotel as Alexandra and her sister.[5]

Later lifeEdit

The main thrust of Baba's later life was her tireless efforts for the Save the Children Fund, a commitment that lasted for more than 40 years. Lady Alexandra joined the Save the Children Fund in 1950 and was very active in fund-raising in London. In 1955, she and her husband divorced and she became a member of the fund's governing council. Later she would become chairman of the Overseas Relief and Welfare Committee, which controls all overseas work of the fund. In 1974 she was elected vice-president.

HonoursEdit

She was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire for these efforts in 1975.[8][9][10]

DeathEdit

She died on 7 August 1995 at age 91 at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Oxfordshire.

In popular cultureEdit

Alexandra was portrayed in the 1980 seven-episode television mini-series, Edward and Mrs. Simpson, which won the 1980 Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series.[11]

Alexandra 'Baba' Curzon was also portrayed by Flora Montgomery in the four-episode Channel Four (UK) television drama mini-series Mosley in 1998. It was based on the books Rules of the Game and Beyond the Pale by Nicholas Mosley, Mosley's son. [1]

ReferencesEdit

  • Sarah Bradford, (9 August 1995) Lady Alexandra Metcalfe, The Independent, London. Retrieved 9 April 2007 Short Biography
  1. ^ Tompsett Brian C. (2005) Index to Royal Genealogical Data. Retrieved 17 March 2007 Royal Genealogical Data[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Anne de Courcy (2002), The Viceroy's Daughters: the Lives of the Curzon Sisters., Preview, New York: W. Morrow, ISBN 0-06-621061-5, retrieved 31 January 2011
  3. ^ Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Wildflower Hall, Shimla, India – Other Activities/golf Wildflower Hall, Shimla
  4. ^ Cory, Charlotte (2002) Sunday Times, 29 December. Retrieved 14 March 2007 "The Delhi Durbar 1903 Revisited",Delhi Durbar 1903 Archived 13 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b CARTER, MIRANDA (2 June 2002) "Poor Little Rich Girls", The New York Times – Books. Retrieved 4 April 2007 "Poor Little Rich Girls"
  6. ^ Time Magazine, 8 June, 1925f>Time
  7. ^ Bradford, Sarah (9 August 1995). "Lady Alexandra Metcalfe". Independent. London.
  8. ^ 1977 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 31st Parliament, British Columbia, (15 March 1977) Official Report of DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (Hansard). Retrieved 15 March 2007 1977 Legislative Session
  9. ^ de Courcy Anne (2001) The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters Orion Publishing Group, London, ISBN 978-0-06-621061-2 ISBN 0-06-621061-5 The Viceroy's Daughters..., Abstract
  10. ^ Gilmour, David (28 October 2000) "Washing one's mother's linen" a review of THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS: THE LIVES OF THE CURZON SISTERS by Anne de Courcy, The Spectator. Retrieved 4 September 2007 a review of THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS Archived 10 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Edward & Mrs. Simpson""Edward & Mrs. Simpson"