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‘Oriel Malet’, Lady Auriel Rosemary Malet Vaughan (1923-2014), the daughter of the 7th Earl of Lisburne and the Chilean beauty Regina de Bittencourt, was brought up in Wales and ‘uneducated’ at various schools. Her first published novel, written when she was 17, appeared in 1943; her second, which won the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, in 1945; and in 1946, she published Marjory Fleming. This was a fictionalised biography of a child who died young having written poems and journals (including the much-anthologised ‘O lovely O most charming pug’); she is the youngest person to have an entry in the DNB, written by its editor – Sir Leslie Stephen (Virginia Woolf’s father). The influence of a French governess, and of her godmother, the actress Yvonne Arnaud, made Oriel Malet feel most at home in France, and she moved to Paris and later to Normandy. She wrote eight novels in all, two biographies and, in 1993, Letters from Menabilly: portrait of a forty-year friendship with Daphne du Maurier.
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