“Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won…”*

*Letter from the field of Waterloo (June 1815) by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

Above: Inset into the cobbles of the Munsterhof, Zurich, is a plaque commemorating the “Europe, Arise!” speech given by Winston Churchill in Zurich University on 19 September 1946.

From snaccooperative.com:

“Lady Juliet Duff (1881-1965) was the daughter of the Fourth Earl of Lonsdale. In 1903, she married Sir Robin Duff. Sir Duff was killed in action in 1914. Lady Duff married Major Kenneth Trevor in 1919 and divorced him in 1926. She is best known for her friendships with Maurice Baring, Hilaire Belloc, and Winston Churchill.”

https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/CC012226

From Wikipedia:

“Beatrice Venetia Stanley Montagu (22 August 1887 – 3 August 1948) was a British aristocrat and socialite best known for the many letters that Prime Minister H. H. Asquith wrote to her between 1910 and 1915. Venetia met Asquith through her close friendship with his daughter, Violet. Asquith, who enjoyed writing letters to women in high society, began his correspondence with Venetia in 1910. However, Venetia was just one of several women who received Asquith’s letters until 1912, when she went on a trip to Sicily with Asquith, Violet and Edwin Montagu, a Liberal MP who was one of Asquith’s protégés. It seems that on this trip both Asquith and Montagu fell in love with Venetia.”

From: Noel Coward – a Biography (1995), by Philip Hoare:

“The war was drawing to its close. On 3 May, as German surrender approached, Coward dined with Juliet Duff in Belgrave Square. ‘There were only four of us: Juliet, Venetia Montagu, Winston Churchill and myself. Emotion submerged us and without exchanging a word, as simultaneously as though we had carefully rehearsed it, the three of us rose to our feet and drank Mr Churchill’s health.’ It was a scene no less moving for its theatricality; Coward could never overlook dramatic potential, even if it meant drinking with the enemy. ‘There he was, gossiping away with us, the man who had carried England through the black years…so ineffably charming, that I forgave him all his trespasses and melted into hero-worship.’

VE Day was celebrated at Clemence Dane’s, afterwards convening, with thousands of other Londoners, outside Buckingham Palace. But the pessimist in Coward wrote, ‘as in all celebrations of victory, an inevitable undertow of sadness…there was still the future to be fought’.”

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