08 August 2010

Slandered by aristocrats (part 1)

The hostility which I have encountered has always been extraordinary, and I think that it is expressed in a more extreme form in situations where I am involved than is usual. Rosalind Heywood, for example, would apparently stop at nothing to make my life a misery.

Having destroyed my original plan for setting up a research institute, and reduced me to surviving in poverty in Oxford, she managed to make herself into the person who was running the affairs of my institute, and negotiating on our behalf with potential sources of funding, which she was only going to let us have on the most penal terms. Suffice it to say that I was reduced to feeling worn out and hopeless before Cecil King and Charles McCreery arrived on the scene, both providing hope of an adequate level of financial support for some meaningful work to commence.

Storms of hostility and slander immediately arose, and Charles was surprised at the overt hostility he encountered on visiting some of my ostensible ‘supporters’, such as Admiral Strutt.

On the face of it, there seemed no reason why a fundraising campaign could not proceed successfully, Charles’s family connections being what they were. Charles’s father and mother became Patrons. However, his mother used the position openly to act as a saboteur.

Looking back, I am not surprised at the complete negativity of the outcome, as the hostility was not inhibited by any principles of decent behaviour, and the intention was simply that of preventing me from doing anything. Influential and determined people do not fail in achieving their objectives.

'I won’t have that Celia getting her hands on any McCreery money,' Lady McCreery said on at least one occasion. (Like Professor and Lady Hardy, she usually referred to me as 'that Celia'.) If this could only be achieved by slandering and disinheriting her son, so be it.

And so accusations against Charles, as well as me, began to arise. These were wildly implausible to anyone who knew Charles. He was just about the last person to start taking drugs or to become a hippy, and reject the values of aristocratic respectability. Nevertheless, such allegations were made. Decades later, at an upper-class party, another Old Etonian, who knew Charles’s family, sneered at him, 'I am surprised to see you dressing smartly and not having a ring in your nose.'

The result of all this was no doubt as intended. Not only did our fundraising attempts with a professional fundraiser break down, but Charles was cut out of several inheritances which would otherwise have come to him if he had continued to be regarded as an acceptable member of his family.