The death of Mandy Rice Davies….
Yesterday, Mandy Rice Davies, one of the most unique characters to come out of England in the early 1960s succumbed to cancer at the age of seventy. Rice Davies belongs to a very small group of women who, despite the era in which they were born, not only stood up to the establishment but rebelled against it to the point of almost bringing it down to its knees.
Rice Davies showed quite spectacularly how shallow the world of the old boys network really was at that time. A world, which on the outside seemed so pompous and self-righteous would be forced to reveal itself for what it really was; rich older men with a weakness for young girls (and boys). The Profumo Affair for which Rice Davies and her friend, Christine Keeler won such fame and notoriety is well documented and there is nothing new to be added here other than a fond farewell to a woman who unwittingly did much to liberate women and their sexual freedom. Whilst I would never align Rice Davies with the feminist movement who have striven for many years to be, quite rightly, judged upon their merits rather than their sex, she did, nonetheless appear from the icy blasts of the coldest winter in a hundred years to show a nation of women how to be confident and fearless in the face of male dominated adversity. Whilst Keeler was the centre of the scandal it was Rice Davies’ character as much as her involvement which launched her into 1960s stardom. Her care-less attitude gave rise to the famous line she apparently gave in answer to the defence counsel in that most famous of trials when it was put to her that Lord Astor had denied meeting or knowing her. Whilst there are no transcripts to confirm her reply it seems, by most accounts that she replied with the delicious line “He would, wouldn’t he?” That there, one line, one woman and the establishment with its trousers around its ankles falling over itself as a nation of blue-collar workers laughter could be heard in every pub and social club across the land.
As the dust eventually settled it was Rice Davies who fared better than Keeler in the years which followed, a fact which did not sit easily with Keeler. Mandy married well and, with her businessman husband opened several self-titled restaurants in Israel before eventually playing a key consultancy role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical about the affair.
In later years she described the latest chapter in her life as “one slow descent into respectability”. I think that sums her up quite nicely.
Mandy Rice Davies 1944-2014
Categories: The Honey Trap