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Hitler’s Valkyrie – The Uncensored Biography of Unity Mitford

I didn’t write this book because I particularly wanted to, but because I was invited to do so. However, this request never assumed the celebrated status of a ‘commission’, for before we got to that stage, it was ‘suggested’ by the publisher that the character that I would be writing about was an unattractive, unintelligent, clumsy lump of a girl who had a romantic crush on Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately this was not the character that had previously been described to me by various friends and relatives; including my own mother. She was, in fact, quite the opposite.

Unity Valkyrie Freeman Mitford was physically attractive, free-spirited, athletic and highly intelligent. She was also a committed fascist who was quite determined to meet and have an affair with Hitler, while enjoying various other sexual adventures on the way. All in all, a far more interesting subject for a biography. So I decided to proceed, with another publisher.

It may seem puzzling that such a book hadn’t already been written because, God knows, there had been no shortage of books concerning the Mitford girls and the family in general. But before the War their Nazi sympathies were not particularly unusual amongst the privileged classes. Afterwards it was a somewhat different story; particularly for ‘Debo’ in her new role as The Duchess of Devonshire and saviour of Chatsworth House.

To this end the Duchess took it upon herself to polish the Mitfords’ tarnished reputation by ‘encouraging’ their portrayal as beautiful and charming eccentrics which reflected everything that was glorious about the English aristocracy. So successful was she in this endeavour that the Mitford girls soon became an icon which those with more social ambition than distinction could aspire to. Some of them even formed a little society and labelled themselves ‘Mitties’. Something that would of course have quite appalled the Mitfords themselves.

In truth they weren’t really a very ‘nice’ family, apart from Jessica; the token black sheep, committed communist and favourite of J K Rowling’s; and perhaps Pamela, once she had become a lesbian and ceased to be mentioned. Otherwise they were outrageous snobs, malicious bullies, and doubtless right-wing fascists who were vehemently committed to Nazi principles. Predictably the ‘Mitties’ do not share my views and reacted to the publication of ‘Hitler’s Valkyrie’ with caustic indignation and vitriolic criticism. But that doesn’t prevent the story of the relationship between Unity Mitford and Adolf Hitler remaining quite fascinating.

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All My Own Work

Dear Francisco Valdepenas Maruenda,
In answer to your question concerning  my work as a painter, I have nothing small enough to scan in, so I have included an illustration I did for the documentary I made for Paul McCartney. Funnily enough, it also seems to have some relevance for the unfolding story of Tita Cervera and the El Mundo revelations concerning her alleged use of her son Borja’s sperm for the impregnation of the surrogate mother of her adopted ‘angels’.

To see the film, click here: (unfortunately, the video has now been removed)

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Support a bar – or more!

With good bars increasingly under threat from smokers and Starbucks, property developers and all sorts of shit, in this occasional series I will endeavour to feature a number of bars that have played an important part in my life and, with a bit of help, will continue to do so for some time to come.

I can’t remember the correct name for The Little Horseshoe in Le Marais (all good bars have an alternative name used by regular patrons), but when I lived in Paris, just around the corner from Le Beaubourg, it was the bar of choice.

It also had a small restaurant in the back, where a number of English embarrassed themselves one night by indulging in the English obsession with food throwing. When they returned the next day to apologise, they found the owner proudly showing the remains, which were still stuck to the walls and ceiling, to impressed natives.

The value of bars as centres of social interaction should not need explaining, nor the reason why such interruptions and distractions as mobile phones, laptops or any other alternative to ‘direct’ social interaction are unwelcome.

For those of you who also fail to understand why Parisian barmen and waiters appear so rude, it is a self-imposed discipline which they adopt so that they can gradually slacken off as an encouragement when you continue to return. Amateurs, who go to a different bar every night in desperate search of a welcome, remain terminally frustrated.

(For more of Hector McDonnell’s work, see:

'The Little Horseshoe', Paris, 1994, by Hector McDonnell

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Fellini once said:
“The pearl is an oyster’s autobiography”.

This is my grain of sand.



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