"THE BEST EXPERIENCES ... MEETING THE MEN WHO FIRST WALKED ON THE MOON AND ... THE NIGHT THE QUEEN AND PRINCE PHILIP CAME TO DINNER"
(Mary, Baroness, 1916-2018, Poetess, wife of Harold, Labour Prime Minister)
Unsigned Typescript of an article that Baroness Wilson wrote for the Guardian
she starts that "It's a job completely different from that of a Member of Parliament, who has sought to be a Member ... instead of having the position thrust upon her. Many people seem to think that the Prime Minister's wife had a position of authority, whereas she is a private person, with no real power; that is one reason why, although i travelled all over the country talking to women's groups in the Labour Party, I never made a political speech ... A Prime Minister's wife is expected to be there on public occasions, to be unobtrusive at times of crisis, to be as wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove; and, to mix the metaphor, I always tried to be the wise owl in the oak - 'the more she heard, the less she spoke' ... in spite of this, I seem to have acquired a reputation for plain speaking ...", she continues for some time in general terms and then talks about her foreign visits "I've seen Moscow under snow, the river frozen and silent, the birch trees heavy and still, the Red Army goose-stepping at Moscow, their curved swords slicing the air and I particularly remember the exquisite grace of the dedicated young dancers at the Bolshoi Ballet School. I remember Washington in the spring, cherry blossom by the Potomac. An I visited President Kennedy's grave at Arlington ... I remember steel bands in Jamaica ..." and she continues relating her travels and then goes on to talk about General Election campaigns "Thank goodness they don't last long in Britain; American campaigning must be gruelling. I think the constant travelling is the worst part. I'm a bad traveller ... rushing over winding roads at night, with a police escort, and always hurrying and late. Stepping out of the car - I usually went first to avoid being swallowed up in the surging crowds - into blinding television lights, to boos and Arthur Smith, my husband's agent, with his cheerful smile and involved Liverpudlian jokes ...", finally she says that "The manner in which the Prime Minister leaves No. 10 is barborous. I'm sure no other country does it like this; the exposed front door like a public stage, the crowd in the street, one Prime Minister out, another in, within two hours, to a chorus of boos, cheers, gloating. Furniture hustled out of the back gate, it's like having the bailiffs in. The press waited for four days to see Mr Heath's piano go out, photographers climbed into Mr Callaghan's furniture van when he became Chancellor. The whole affair seems so undignified. The best experiences of all? Meeting the men who first walked on the the moon' and, of course, the night the Queen and Prince Philip came to dinner ...", 7 sides A4 together with 2 letters from Suzanne LOWRY (Guardian Journalist and Women's Editor) talking about her writing an article for them, 1 side A4 and 1 side 4to., 5th and 11th April