Lady Diana Cooper's autobiography covers the years from her earliest childhood (as Lady Diana Manners, youngest daughter of the eighth Duke of Rutland) to retirement at Chantilly and the death of her husband Duff Cooper, first Viscount Norwich, politician, writer and, at the end of the Second World War, British Ambassador in Paris. The three books which make up this single volume were published in 1958-60 and met with outstanding critical and public success. Reviewing the first of them, Evelyn Waugh wrote: 'This is not to be judged merely as the memoirs of an exceptionally brilliant social figure, but as a work of art. By that standard it has real distinction - poetic, idiosyncratic, poignant, funny, unflagging, scintillating, simple, stylish; not the book of the season, or of the bedside table; a book for the library, to be read and reread and loved for a lifetime'.
Born in 1892, Lady Diana Manners became an active member of The Coterie in the 1910s, an influential group of young English aristocrats and intellectuals. Soon after the First World War she married one of the last surviving members of the group, Duff Cooper, a politician and writer, and in 1929 gave birth to their son. Following her successful career as an actress, Lady Diana Cooper became a celebrated hostess in Paris, where her husband was British Ambassador at the end of the Second World War. Following Duff's retirement they continued to live in France until his death in 1954. He had been created Viscount Norwich two years earlier, but his wife insisted on using her existing title and was known as Lady Diana Cooper until her death in 1986 at the age of 93.