Nancy Astor

(1879—1964) society hostess and politician

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Politician, and daughter of an American railway developer in Virginia. Nancy Astor had an unhappy first marriage, which ended in divorce in 1903. The following year she travelled to England, marrying Waldorf Astor three years later; when Waldorf, Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton, succeeded to the peerage in 1919, Nancy was returned in his stead at the subsequent by‐election, becoming the second woman to be elected to Parliament. As a parliamentarian (1919–45) Nancy was outspoken—perhaps too much so—in favour of those causes she held dear: opposition to divorce (despite her own experience); raising to 18 the age at which it was legal to purchase alcohol; lowering to 21 the voting age for women; above all, appeasement of Nazi Germany.

Subjects: British History — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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