“But I believe so in fidelity myself that I never married.”
As the United States heads into the 2016 presidential election and faces the prospect of revisiting scandals from the 1990s, one might keep in mind that though monogamy is sometimes a byproduct of a successful marriage, it is not an indispensable one.
Consider the marriage of British politician Duff Cooper to society beauty Lady Diana Manners. Diana was the daughter of a duke and expected to marry within the nobility and to someone of means. Against her parents’ wishes, she selected Duff, “a penniless civil servant.”
Unlike some love marriages, Duff and Diana’s did not fade with age. They remained devoted even though Duff took many mistresses, which he chronicled in his (now published) diaries. One of the rare heterosexual men who truly appreciated the feminine sex, he attracted the most glamorous women in Paris. Among his conquests were Daisy Fellowes, Louise de Vilmorin, and Susan Mary Alsop (by whom he had a son). The early-marriage dalliances Diana minded very much, but the later ones, not so much. In fact, Diana's motus operandi was to become close friends with her husband's lovers, which prompted the sharp-tongued Duchess of Windsor to quip she herself “would never have an affair with Duff because it would mean having Diana around the house day and night being nice" to her.