Lady Diana Cooper, born Lady Diana Manners (29 August 1892 – 16 June 1986) was a British actress and author, wife of Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich, becoming Diana, Viscountess Norwich in 1951 — a title she is said to have abhorred, publicly declaring that she declined to be called "Lady Norwich" and would continue to use "Lady Diana Cooper".
- You have never, I think, known real Grief — panic, melancholia, madness, night-sweats, we've all known for most of our lives — you and me particularly. I'm not sure you know human love in the way I do. You have faith and mysticism — intense inner interests — a diverting, virile mind — gusto for vengeance and destruction if necessary, a fancy — a gospel.
What you can't imagine is a creature with a certain iridescent aura and nothing within but a beating frightened heart built round and for Duff. . . For two days I am quite alone — in these empty rooms with one thought one prayer — "let it end now" — an absurd feminine desire to die in the same way exactly as Duff. [ I have now a ] fearlessness of death — so let it come now before custom of living disinclines me for dying.
- Letter to Evelyn Waugh (1 January 1954)
- It has always been my temptation to put myself in other people's shoes: even into a horse's shoes as he strains before the heavy dray; into a ballerina's points as she feels age weigh upon her spring; into Cinderella's slippers as she danced till midnight; into the jackboot that kicks; into the Tommy's boots that tramp; into the magic seven-leaguers. With experience of age I have learned to control this habit of sympathy which deforms truth.
Quotes about Cooper
- It was reported that the fireworks were beginning and Diana, ever enthusiastic, led the procession to the roof. I was bringing up the rear, had reached the top floor and was about to climb the ladder that led up from it, when I heard the sound of shattered glass followed, after what seemed to me a long interval, by the sound of a falling body.
I opened a door from behind which the noise seemed to come and looked into a narrow box-room, on the floor of which Diana was lying. She had fallen through a skylight about twenty-five feet from the floor. The opening was so narrow that the large hat she was wearing remained on the roof. She had broken her thigh... This was not an auspicious beginning to our married life.
- Duff Cooper in Old Men Forget (1955)
- Did my mother know … Of course she did — and she didn't mind a bit. They had an incredibly happy marriage, but my father wasn't faithful to her for a single second.
There was scarcely a trace of jealousy in her character. She worshipped the ground he walked on, but she wasn't very highly sexed — she was quite glad that other women were taking the weight off her, as it were. I once asked her if she minded. She said: "They were the flowers, but I was the tree."
- John Julius Norwich, on his mother's attitude toward the affairs of his father, in "John Julius Norwich:'Deep down, I'm shallow. I really am'" in The Daily Telegraph (4 June 2008)
- You find something agreeable in almost everyone. I am put off by anything not wholly agreeable.
- Evelyn Waugh in a letter to Cooper