EAST FOR EDEN
Former spouse of the Prime Minister, Clarissa Eden, has died aged 101 to give The Crowdsourced Deathlist another success. The niece of Winston Churchill (dunno if you’ve heard of him), Clarissa spent her teenage years in Paris and London society, surrounded by the likes of Josephine Baker and future spies Burgess and MacLean. She studied at Oxford and helped decode German ciphers during WW2. Post-war, she worked as the fashion reviewer for Vogue and as a film assistant for Alexander Korda. However it was her work during the war where she became close to the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden, considered one of the most able politicians at the time. Eden divorced his wife and married the Bohemian girl in 1952, in a wedding which was both attended by Liz Taylor and publicly popular. (Who knew you could divorce you wife, move in with someone a quarter of a century younger than you, and become Prime Minister? Wouldn’t happen these days!)
She gave charm and appeal to the somewhat bookish Eden, and was to prove crucial for the rest of his life. In 1955, he finally got the job nearly everyone in Westminster felt he deserved – that of Prime Minister. Unfortunately, this was not the Anthony Eden of 1945 or 1935, it was the Anthony Eden who had just undergone life saving surgery and was now given vast quantities of a new wonder drug painkiller. Yes, he spent the rest of the 50s stoned off his tits on Benzedrine. Clarissa Eden looked after her husband during his ill health, and protected him from much Tory party criticism but was unable to stop the self-inflicted disaster that was the Suez Crisis overcoming both of them. Sir Anthony died in 1977 after a long period of ill heath, and Clarissa explains it all in a tell very little memoir.
She did however authorise several biographies which focused less on the drug addled Egypt invasion and more on the peace treaties and world wars, helping to rehabilitate her husbands reputation as a statesman (if not as Prime Minister). Clarissa Eden, who remained popular with politicians and their spouses who called on her advice until recently, was remarkably longlived. Not only did she outlive her husband, and 5 of her successors as Prime Ministerial spouses. She also outlived her autobiography editor, as the biographer Cate Haste, with whom From Churchill to Eden was written, died of cancer in April.
Clarissa Eden was picked by ten teams, include Lard Bazaar, Old as Dirt and Blueberry Crumble.
28 June 1920 – 15 November 2021