Margot Asquith

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Emma Alice Margaret Asquith, Countess of Oxford & Asquith (2 February 186428 July 1945) was a Scottish-born socialite and author, married to the British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith.


  • One can only influence the strong characters in life, not the weak; and it is the height of vanity to suppose that you can make an honest man of anyone.
    • The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963) p. 63. (1920).
  • Rich men's houses are seldom beautiful, rarely comfortable, and never original. It is a constant source of surprise to people of moderate means to observe how little a big fortune contributes to Beauty.
    • The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963) p. 249. (1922).
  • From the happy expression on their faces you might have supposed that they welcomed the war. I have met with men who loved stamps, and stones, and snakes, but I could not imagine any man loving war.
    • The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963) p. 291. (1922)
    • Of the crowds outside 10 Downing Street on August 3, 1914.
  • Lloyd George? There is no Lloyd George. There is a marvellous brain; but if you were to shut him in a room and look through the keyhole there would be nobody there.
    • In conversation with James Agate, September 30, 1941; reported by Agate in his Ego 5 (London: Harrap, 1942) p. 136.
    • Sometimes also attributed to John Maynard Keynes.
  • He's very clever, but sometimes his brains go to his head.
  • She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake.
    • Quoted by her step-daughter Violet in The Listener, June 11, 1953.
    • Of Lady Desborough.
  • He couldn't see a belt without hitting below it.
    • Quoted by her step-daughter Violet in The Listener, June 11, 1953.
    • Of Lloyd George.
  • My dear old friend King George V told me he would never have died but for that vile doctor, Lord Dawson of Penn.
    • Quoted by Mark Bonham Carter in his Introduction to the 1962 edition of The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1962) p. xxxv.
  • The t is silent, as in Harlow.
    • Quoted in T. S. Matthews Great Tom (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), ch. 7.
    • Correcting Jean Harlow's pronunciation of Margot. It is sometimes said to have been the actress Margot Grahame who delivered this rebuke.
  • You can do something with talent, but nothing with genius....
    • Quoted in Jack Fishman's My Darling Clementine, the biography of Winston Churchill's wife. (p. 131).


  • Kitchener, a great man or a great poster?
    • Attributed to Margot Asquith, as in Sir Philip Magnus, Kitchener: Portrait of an Imperialist (1938, ch. xiv): "Mrs. Asquith remarked indiscreetly that if Kitchener was not a great man, he was, at least, a great poster." Asquith herself, however, wrote in More Memories (London: Cassel, 1933, p. 135) that the remark was made by her daughter, Elizabeth Bibesco.
  • Margo. The 'T' is silent as in Harlow.

About Asquith[edit]

  • The affair between Margot Asquith and Margot Asquith will live as one of the prettiest love stories in all literature.
    • Dorothy Parker, "Re-enter Margot Asquith - A Masterpiece from the French," The New Yorker, October 22, 1927.
  • ... no matter where she takes off from, she brings the discourse back to Margot Asquith. Such singleness of purpose is met but infrequently.
    • Dorothy Parker, ibid.
  • Through the pages of [her book] Lay Sermons walk the great. I don't say that Margot Asquith actually permits us to rub elbows with them ourselves, but she willingly shows us her own elbow, which has been, so to say, honed on the mighty.
    • Dorothy Parker, ibid.

External links[edit]

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