When Margot Asquith’s name crops up these days, it is usually in a retelling of the story about her meeting Jean Harlow, sexy star of the silver screen, who repeatedly called her Margotte. Eventually, Margot became irritated. ‘No, my dear,’ she corrected. ‘The “t” is silent, as in Harlow.’ It’s a good story, but apocryphal and, I was always told by those who knew her (she was my great-grandfather’s second wife), quite untypical of her. No matter. She had plenty of good lines that were unquestionably her own, as this diary vividly attests.
She was at her best when analysing friends and enemies, which were sometimes interchangeable categories. And as the Prime Minister’s wife during the period covered by this volume, she occupied a good vantage point from which to draw her portraits.