IN the 1930s Lady Lucy Houston was one of the richest women in England and a household name, notorious for her virulent criticisms of the government. But politics had been far from her mind when, as young Fanny Radmall, she had set out to conquer the world. Armed with only looks and self-confidence, she exploited the wealth and status of successive lovers to push her way into high society. Brushing off scandal, she achieved public recognition as an ardent suffragette, war worker and philanthropist.
Having won control of her third husband’s vast fortune, she enjoyed the trappings of wealth — jewellery, couture, racehorses and a luxury yacht — but she wanted more. Seeking influence in national politics, Lady Houston financed the first flight over Mount Everest, backed secret military research, and facilitated the development of the Spitfire aircraft. Engaging with famous contemporaries such as Winston Churchill and Oswald Mosley, Lucy sought her own public voice and so purchased a newspaper. Seeking to expose the Prime Minister as a Soviet agent and promote Edward VIII as England’s dictator, Lucy was loved as a patriot but loathed as a troublemaker.
Adventuress draws upon hitherto unpublished archival material to reveal how Lucy Houston achieved her fame and fortune, and how she exploited them.