Byshe was a divorcee with a small. Her father suggested that she should move to England.
In she married an American-born Briton, Waldorf Astor, one of many eligible men who sought her hand. She was a beauty; he was heir to one of the richest men in the country and was besotted with her.
It was a good social match. Portrait of Mrs.
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In he was selected as the Unionist candidate for Plymouth. He came third in the election in Januarybut was elected as the MP for Unitedd in December that year. Inshe converted to Christian Science. Waldorf and Nancy took a pastoral interest in his constituency.
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This increased with the advent of war in and Nancy committed herself to welfare work. Despite his wish to stay in the Commons he was obliged to renounce his seat.
He considered relinquishing his seat in the Lords. To do so, though, required an Act of Parliament, which his party was unwilling to support for political reasons. The Unionist Party had to appoint another candidate.
Despite the strength of the Waldorf name, they originally hesitated to adopt Nancy. Only one woman was elected in the general election inthe first in which women could stand, Constance Markievicz. As an Irish Nationalist, she did not take her seat. anotherr
So putting forward a woman candidate was still considered a political risk. This left Nancy in a quandary. To take on the position fully would not help Waldorf. Nancy Astor, Neither of them had fought wmoan the war, something she focused on when campaigning.
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In a naval city like Plymouth, this was not a vote winner. She campaigned hard, just as she had applied herself to relief work during the war. She faced hecklers. Her glamour did not count against her, womann it increased the curiosity of her audience about her.
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One organisation supporting her was the Association for Social and Moral Hygiene. Wo,an advisers told her not to focus on temperance as an issue in her campaign.
However, as both of her opponents were themselves teetotal, it did not count against her as much as it might have. The election took place on 15 November, but the votes were not counted until 28 November.
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This was to allow time for postal votes from those serving overseas to be included. Nancy won with a majority of over 5, Some members of the House, including friends, were unwelcoming. Others, such as Lloyd George, endorsed her. It was not until that any other women took their seats in Parliament. Her priority was welfare issues relating to under-privileged women and anothher.
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Her strongest passion, connected to this, lay in supporting teetotalism. She led the bill to raise the legal drinking age from 14 to Winston Churchill, accompanied by Viscountess Astor, is cheered by workers during a visit to bomb-damaged Plymouth, 2 May Maybe the strain told, as her wartime speeches became somewhat long and erratic. She was also known for heckling and interrupting other MPs. Such behaviour lost her friends and allies.
Nancy was a woman of strong beliefs; the depth of these feelings means that her reputation today is somewhat tarnished. She was fiercely anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic.
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Some suggest that her views were no more prejudiced than those of men of the period, but that being a high-profile woman, they were remembered. Eh there is no proof she ever did use the term, and she strongly denied it, the phrase and her association with Discreet granny, stuck.
The epithet was adopted with sardonic pride. By the Conservative Party considered her erratic talk and decline in popularity to be a liability.
Kkingdom persuaded her not to stand in the general election. She retired from politics, but the subsequent strain on her marriage meant that the couple separated for a of years afterwards. Nor was she ever appointed to any ificant political post or ministerial position.
Her legacy lay in successfully breaching the male domain of Westminster and remaining there for 26 years. By doing this she led the way for other women to follow her and for Parliament, finally, to represent all citizens.