“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.” As Duff pursued a career in politics, it was incumbent upon Diana to keep them in the style to which she had been accustomed. She did so by becoming an actress.
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, such as with Susan Mary Alsop, not at all. 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 that she “would never have an affair with Duff because it would mean having Diana around the house day and night being nice" to her.