Scandalous Women of the English Aristocracy

In her lovely memoir Daughter of Empire, due out in US next month, Lady Pamela Hicks spills the dirt on the British aristocracy in the refined and proper way you’d expect from a writer of her station, without trying to hide her mother Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma’s, alleged “wild promiscuity.” The Countess’ many affairs, especially one with Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, took an obvious toll on the Mountbatten children, and remain a popular topic of gossip to this day.


Since the life and times of titled Brits is a popular topic in the United States again, thanks mostly to the huge success of Downton Abbey and now the #royalbaby, Americans in financially unstable 2013 seem to like to find comfort in the ways rich English people used to live and screw up. But it is more than just pure escapism; there is something undeniably fascinating about the historical scandals of English high society. Along with Countess Mountbatten, here are a few more of the aristocracy’s most (deservedly or otherwise) notorious women.