"To sleep around is absolutely wrong for a woman; it's degrading and it completely ruins her personality. Sooner or later it will destroy all that is feminine and beautiful and idealistic in her." -- Barbara Cartland
Dame Barbara Cartland, DBE, CStJ, (9 July 1901 — 21 May 2000) was an English author, known for her numerous romance novels, one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century. Her novels having been translated in 38 languages, she is the seventh most translated author in the world and published 723 books. She also became one of the United Kingdom most popular media personalities, appearing often at public events and on television, dressed in her trademark pink and discoursing on love, health and social political issues.
"A historical romance is the only kind of book where chastity really counts.""A woman asking "Am I good? Am I satisfied?" is extremely selfish. The less women fuss about themselves, the less they talk to other women, the more they try to please their husbands, the happier the marriage is going to be.""A woman should say: "Have I made him happy? Is he satisfied? Does he love me more than he loved me before? Is he likely to go to bed with another woman?" If he does, then it's the wife's fault because she is not trying to make him happy.""After forty a woman has to choose between losing her figure or her face. My advice is to keep your face, and stay sitting down.""Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy; among women, intimacy sometimes results in sex.""As long as the plots keep arriving from outer space, I'll go on with my virgins.""France is the only place where you can make love in the afternoon without people hammering on your door.""I have always found women difficult. I don't really understand them. To begin with, few women tell the truth.""I'll keep going till my face falls off.""The right diet directs sexual energy into the parts that matter."
Barbara Cartland was born Mary Barbara Hamilton at 31 Augustus Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. She was the only daughter and eldest child of a British army officer, Major Bertram Cartland CWGC :: Casualty Details (born James Bertram Falkner Cartland 1876; died 27 May 1918), and his wife, Mary Polly Hamilton Scobell (1877—1976). Though she was born into an enviable degree of middle-class comfort, the family's security was severely shaken after the suicide of her paternal grandfather, James Cartland, a financier, who shot himself in the wake of bankruptcy.
This was followed soon after by her father's death on a Flanders battlefield in World War I. However, her enterprising mother opened a London dress shop to make ends meet ... "Poor I may be," Polly Cartland once remarked, "but common I am not" ... and to raise Cartland and her two brothers, Anthony and Ronald, both of whom were eventually killed in battle, one day apart, in 1940.
After attending The Alice Ottley School, Malvern Girls' College and Abbey House, an educational institution in Hampshire, Cartland soon became successful as a society reporter and writer of romantic fiction. Cartland admitted she was inspired in her early work by the novels of Edwardian author Elinor Glyn, whom she idolized and eventually befriended.
After a year as a gossip columnist for the Daily Express, Cartland published her first novel, Jigsaw (1923), a risqué society thriller that became a bestseller. She also began writing and producing somewhat racy plays, one of which, Blood Money (1926), was banned by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. In the 1920s and '30s Cartland was one of the leading young hostesses in London society, noted for her beauty, energetic charm and daring parties. Her fashion sense also had a part in launching her fame and she was one of the first clients of designer Sir Norman Hartnell, remaining a client until he died in 1979. He made her presentation and wedding dresses, the latter was made to her own design against Hartnell's wishes and she admitted it was a failure.
Barbara Cartland's image as a self-appointed "expert" on romance drew some ridicule in her later years, when her social views became more conservative. Indeed, although her first novels were considered sensational, Barbara Cartland's later (and arguably most popular) titles were comparatively tame with virginal heroines and few, if any, suggestive situations. Almost all of Cartland's later books were historical in theme, which allowed for the believability of chastity (at least, to many of her audience).
Despite their tame story lines, Barbara Cartland's later novels were highly successful. By 1983 she rated the longest entry in the British Who's Who (though most of that article was a list of her books), and was named the top-selling author in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. In the mid-1990s, by which time she had sold over a billion books, Vogue magazine called her "the true Queen of Romance". She became a mainstay of the popular media in her trademark pink dresses and plumed hats, discoursing on matters of love, marriage, politics, religion, health and fashion. She was publicly opposed to the removal of prayer from state schools and spoke against infidelity and divorce, although she admitted to being acquainted with both of these moral failings.
Privately, Cartland took an interest in the early gliding movement. Although aerotowing for launching gliders first occurred in Germany, she thought of long distance tows in 1931 and did a 200-mile (360 km) tow in a two-seater glider. The idea led to troop-carrying gliders. In 1984, she was awarded the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award for this contribution.
She regularly attended Brooklands aerodrome and motor racing circuit during the 1920s and 1930s, and the Brooklands Museum has preserved a sitting room from that era and named it after her.
According to an obituary published in The Daily Telegraph on 22 May 2000, Cartland reportedly broke off her first engagement, to a Guards officer, when she learned about sexual intercourse and recoiled. This claim fits in with her image as part of a generation for whom such matters were never discussed, but sits uneasily with her having produced work controversial at the time for its sexual subject matter, as described above. In any case, she was married, from 1927 to 1932, to Alexander George McCorquodale (died 1964), a British Army officer and heir to a British printing fortune.
Their daughter, Raine McCorquodale (born in 1929), became "Deb of the Year" in 1947. After the McCorquodales' 1936 divorce, which involved charges and countercharges of infidelity, Cartland married a man her husband had accused her of dallying with ... his cousin Hugh McCorquodale, a former military officer. She and her second husband, who died in 1963, had two sons, Ian and Glen McCorquodale.
Cartland maintained a long-time friendship with Lord Mountbatten of Burma, whose 1979 murder she claimed was the "greatest sadness of my life". Mountbatten supported Cartland in her various charitable works, particularly for United World Colleges, and even helped her write her book Love at the Helm, providing background naval and historical information.
The Mountbatten Memorial Trust, established by Mountbatten's great nephew the Prince of Wales after Mountbatten was assassinated in Ireland, was the recipient of the proceeds of this book on its release in 1980.
In 1991, aged 90, Barbara Cartland was invested by Queen Elizabeth II as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in honor of the author's nearly 70 years of literary, political and social contributions. Cartland was openly critical of her step-granddaughter Diana, Princess of Wales's divorce from the Prince of Wales, which caused a rift between them, one mended shortly before Diana's fatal car crash in Paris in 1997. According to Tina Brown's book on the late Princess, Cartland once remarked, "The only books [Diana] ever read were mine, and they weren't awfully good for her."
After the death during World War II of her brother Ronald Cartland, a Conservative Member of Parliament, she published a biography of him with a preface by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill. The war marked the beginning of a life-long interest in civic welfare and politics for Barbara Cartland, who served the War Office in various charitable capacities as well as the St. John Ambulance Brigade; in 1953 she was invested at Buckingham Palace as a Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem for her services.
In 1955 Barbara Cartland was elected a councillor on Hertfordshire County Council as a Conservative and served for nine years. During this time she campaigned successfully for nursing home reform, improvement in the salaries of midwives, and the legalization of education for the children of Gypsies. She also founded the National Association of Health, promoting a variety of medications and remedies, including an anti-aging cream and a so-called "brain pill" for increasing mental energy.
Her high-profile in the UK, France and the United States between the 1970s and 1990s was aided greatly through her frequent appearance on TV talk shows. Her daughter's social success, which repeated and surpassed her own, also brought her added attention. Raine's marriage to the 9th Earl of Dartmouth, however, ended in divorce, and she married the 8th Earl Spencer on 14 July 1976, and became the stepgrandmother of Lady Diana Frances Spencer, the future Princess of Wales.
She was burlesqued as 'Amelia Nettleship' in the Rumpole TV show episode "Rumpole and the Bubble Reputation" (Season 5, Episode 1 — 1988). The character of Dame Sally Markham in the comedy series Little Britain is clearly very heavily influenced by Barbara Cartland. Her real name was mentioned in an episode of Keeping Up Appearances, in which Hyacinth brought a book of hers to read during a golfing holiday.Blancmange's 1984 cover version of "The Day Before You Came" references Barbara Cartland instead of Marilyn French, as the original ABBA does.
Her physical and mental health began to fail in her mid-90s but her spirit and courage were undiminished, and she remained a favourite with the press, granting interviews to international news agencies even during the final months of her life. Two of her last interviews were with the BBC and US journalist Randy Bryan Bigham.
Her last project was to be filmed and interviewed for her life story (directed by Steven Glen for Blue Melon Films). The documentary, Virgins and Heroes, includes unique early home cine footage and Dame Barbara launching her website with pink computers in early 2000. At that time, her publishers estimated that since her writing career began in 1923, Cartland had produced a total of 723 titles. She was 98 years of age when she died on 21 May 2000.
She left behind a series of manuscripts, that are published by her son, Ian McCorquodale, and are known as the Barbara Cartland Pink Collection.Due to her concern for the environment, she requested to be buried in a cardboard coffin. //www.independent.co.uk/environment/undertakers-say-no-to-green-burials-714496.htmlThe request was honoured and she was interred at her estate in Hatfield, Hertfordshire under a tree that had been planted by Queen Elizabeth I. //www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1080454/A-drunken-husband-secret-lovers-The-novel-Barbara-Cartland-wanted-read.html