Based on Caroline Blackwood’s book of the same name, Nicholas Wright’s play is a study of the corruption of fame, the lure of money and the betrayal that lurks at the heart of portraying the people around us, or the people we love.
It’s 1980 and the Sunday Times plans a fabulous journalistic coup: a photograph by Lord Snowdon of the long-reclusive Duchess of Windsor. Lady Caroline Blackwood, novelist, wit and journalist, is dispatched to Paris to secure it. But no sooner has she entered the Windsor mansion than she finds herself locked in battle with the Duchess’ octogenarian lawyer, Maître Suzanne Blum. As the conflict ignites between them, Caroline begins to find Blum decidedly more fascinating than the Duchess herself. Where did she come from and how did she get power of attorney over the Windsor fortune? One of the Duchess’ last loyal friends, Diana Mosley, introduces a further mystery: why do the famous Windsor jewels keep appearing anonymously on the international market? Since no one has seen the Duchess, there seems to be little proof that she is even alive.
The Last of the Duchess was first performed at the Hampstead Theatre in London in 2011.