Elizabeth Bibesco

Biography of Elizabeth Bibesco

Elizabeth, Princess Bibesco (née Asquith; 26 February 1897 – 7 April 1945) was an English writer active between 1921 and 1940. A final posthumous collection of her stories, poems and aphorisms was published under the title Haven in 1951, with a preface by Elizabeth Bowen.

Elizabeth Charlotte Lucy was the first child of Herbert Henry Asquith (British Prime Minister, 1908–1916) and his second wife, Margot Tennant. As candidly recorded in her mother's 1920 autobiography, she was a precocious child of uncertain temper. Life as the Prime Minister's daughter thrust her into the public eye at an early age and she developed a quick wit and a social presence beyond her years. When she was just fourteen years old, The Times (reporting on her recovery from pneumonia) stated that "many members of the House have made the acquaintance of Miss Asquith and in expressing their concern for her health, have referred to her charm of manner and to the interest which she has begun already to show in political matters."

As a teenager, during World War I, she was given opportunities to do "good works", organizing and performing in "matinees" for the servicemen. Her first known literary effort was a short duologue called "Off and On" which she performed with Nelson Keys in 1916 at the Palace Theatre. In the same year she organized a large show of portraits by John Singer Sargent at the Grafton Galleries to aid the Art Fund and a "Poets' Reading" in aid of the Star and Garter Fund. In 1918 she played small roles in two silent war movies by D.W. Griffith, "Hearts of the World" and "The Great Love".

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