VIOLET TREFUSIS an English writer and socialite, born (d: 1972); Violet was “the other woman” in the life of Harold Nicolson and his wife Vita Sackville-West, whose relationship was valorized in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography. Woolf wrote Orlando for Vita (to whom it is dedicated) celebrating their own relationship. Nigel Nicholson described Orlando as the most beautiful love letter every written. As the daughter of Alice Keppel, the mistress of Edward VII, Violet enjoyed a childhood of mystery and romance in a house where “Kingy” was a regular, if undiscussed, visitor.
She and Vita met when they were girls. During WWI their friendship developed into a passion. Though they both made conventional marriages, Violet could finally bear her love no longer and instigated the “elopement” that has since become a special chapter in the history of love.
When Vita returned to her family and her writing at Sissinghurst, Violet imposed exile upon herself, turning to art and writing and the fantasy world of international society. But the feelings that she and Vita shared never abated. “You are the un-exploded bomb to me,” Vita wrote Violet in 1940. “I don’t want you to disrupt my life.” Even after twenty years of separation, she could still write of the love that “always burns in my heart whenever I think of you.”