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The Love Triangle at the heart of Lloyd George's life

September 15, 2009 2:47 PM
Ffion Hague

Ffion Hague's documentary about the women in Lloyd George's life will be shown on S4C on Sunday 20 September

Do not forget to watch Ffion Hague presenting a documentary on S4C on Sunday, 20 September tracing the relationship between David Lloyd George, one of Britain's greatest politicians, and his two wives.

Ffion, herself, is the wife of a prominent politician, the Conservative Party's Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague. In the programme, Dwy Wraig Lloyd George, she tells the story of the emotional triangle between Lloyd George, his first wife, Margaret Owen and his mistress, Frances Stevenson, who became his second wife.

The revealing documentary, a Tinopolis production, is the culmination of years of research by Ffion for her book, The Pain and Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George's Life.

Among the highlights is the first television interview ever with Frances Stevenson's daughter, Jennifer Longford. The programme also features a tour around 10 Downing Street led by the current Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown. The programme includes striking film shot on location in Cricieth, Llanystumdwy, Bardsey Island, London and Churt, Surrey - all prominent locations in the relationship drama between Lloyd George and the two women.

Lloyd George was a charismatic politician, orator and Prime Minister. Ffion Hague says: "Though I'm from the south, I can remember being captivated at a very young age by the story of Lloyd George and his family. I remember going to Llanystumdwy as a little girl and seeing the grave and asking myself where his wives were. I wanted to know more. In their letters and diaries, in their own words, I came across a captivating story of love, sacrifice, betrayal and deceit. But more than that, the story of two pioneering and influential women who tore up the conventions of the period."

The story begins in 1885 during a chapel outing to Bardsey Island when the young, ambitious solicitor met Margaret Owen, only daughter of one of Eifionydd's most affluent farming families. The story of their love affair is a dramatic one. The families did not approve the match, primarily on religious grounds as they belonged to different denominations but also, possibly, because Lloyd George already had a reputation as a womaniser.

We follow their story, firstly in Criccieth where they had four children and then in London. In the early decades of the 20th century, Margaret provided strong support for Lloyd George as he climbed the ranks of the Liberal Party. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer and in 1916, in the middle of the First World War, Prime Minister. But June 1911 saw one of the most important milestones in their relationship when Lloyd George met the young Bohemian woman, Frances Stevenson, a school friend of his late daughter, Mair Eluned, who had died at the untimely age of 17. It was a meeting that led to a 34-year relationship, as Lloyd George's mistress, his personal secretary and, for the last two years of his life, as his wife and Countess Lloyd George.

The film gets to grips with the relationship between the three during this period, including Lloyd George's seven years as Prime Minister. In 10 Downing Street, Margaret ruled the top floors of the famous house, while Frances worked on the ground floor, next to the Cabinet rooms.

Lloyd George's double life developed from the mid-1920s when he divided his time between his home with Frances in Churt and the family home in Llanystumdwy. We hear about this period from Frances's illegitimate daughter, Jennifer.

But Ffion also shows how the two women not only provided support for Lloyd George, both emotionally and professionally, but became pioneering figures for women in the 20th century.The strong, quiet, determined farmer's daughter, Maggie Owen became a popular figure during the Great War. She is the only Prime Minister's wife until Sarah Brown to publicly campaign for her party in a by-election and the first woman in Wales to become a JP. Frances became one of the most influential women in Whitehall and the first woman to become personal secretary to a member of the cabinet and a Prime Minister.

Dwy Wraig Lloyd George was produced by Catrin Evans and directed by Nia Dryhurst. The programme includes interviews with Lloyd George's great niece, Elisabeth George and Catrin Johnson of Cricieth, who remembers Margaret.

Dwy Wraig Lloyd George

Sunday, 20 September, 9.00pm, S4C

A Tinopolis production for S4C

Available on broadband, s4c.co.uk/clic

Further details on s4c.co.uk/factual

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Ffion Hague sy'n cyflwyno rhaglen ddogfen nos Sul, 20 Medi ar S4C yn olrhain perthynas David Lloyd George, un o wleidyddion mwyaf Cymru a Phrydain, gyda'i ddwy wraig.

Mae Ffion ei hun yn wraig i wleidydd amlwg, sef William Hague, llefarydd materion tramor y Blaid Geidwadol. Yn Dwy Wraig Lloyd George mae hi'n adrodd hanes y driongl serch rhwng Lloyd George, ei wraig gyntaf Margaret Owen, a'i feistres, Frances Stevenson, ddaeth yn ail wraig iddo.

Mae'r rhaglen ddogfen ddadlennol hon o gwmni Tinopolis yn ganlyniad blynyddoedd o ymchwil a wnaeth Ffion ar gyfer ei llyfr, The Pain and Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George's Life.

Ymhlith uchafbwyntiau'r rhaglen mae'r cyfweliad teledu cyntaf erioed gyda merch Frances Stevenson, Jennifer Longford. Hefyd mae taith o amgylch 10 Downing Street yng nghwmni Sarah Brown, gwraig y Prif Weinidog presennol.

Mae'r rhaglen yn cynnwys ffilmio trawiadol ar leoliad yng Nghricieth, Llanystumdwy, Ynys Enlli, Llundain a Churt, Surrey - lleoliadau amlwg yn nrama'r berthynas rhwng Lloyd George â'r ddwy fenyw.

Roedd David Lloyd George yn wleidydd, yn areithiwr ac yn Brif Weinidog carismatig. Meddai Ffion Hague: "Er mai merch o'r de ydw i, dwi'n cofio cael fy hudo yn ifanc iawn gan hanes Lloyd George a'i deulu. Dwi'n cofio mynd i Lanystumdwy yn ferch fach a gweld y bedd a gofyn i fi fy hun ble roedd ei wragedd e. Roeddwn i ishe gwybod mwy. Yn eu llythyrau a'u dyddiaduron, yn eu geiriau eu hunain, des i o hyd i stori gyfareddol o gariad, aberth, brad a thwyll. Ond yn fwy na hynny, stori dwy ferch arloesol a dylanwadol a chwalodd gonfensiynau'r oes."

Mae'r stori'n dechrau yn 1885 ar drip capel i Ynys Enlli, pan gyfarfu'r cyfreithiwr ifanc, uchelgeisiol â Margaret Owen, oedd yn unig ferch un o deuluoedd fferm cyfoethocaf Eifionydd, Mynydd Ednyfed.

Mae hanes eu carwriaeth yn un dramatig. Nid oedd y teuluoedd yn cymeradwyo'r berthynas, yn benodol am resymau crefyddol gan eu bod yn perthyn i enwadau gwahanol, ond efallai hefyd am fod gan Lloyd George eisoes enw fel merchetwr.

Cawn olrhain hanes Lloyd George a Margaret, yn gyntaf yng Nghricieth lle ganed pedwar o blant ac yna yn Llundain. Yn negawdau cyntaf yr 20fed ganrif bu Margaret yn gefn i Lloyd George wrth iddo ddringo rhengoedd y Blaid Ryddfrydol. Daeth e'n Ganghellor y Trysorlys ac yn 1916, yng nghanol y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, yn Brif Weinidog.

Ond ym Mehefin 1911 y gwelwyd un o gerrig milltir pwysica' eu perthynas pan gyfarfu Lloyd George â'r fenyw ifanc Fohemaidd, Frances Stevenson, ffrind ysgol i'w ddiweddar ferch, Mair Eluned, a fu farw mor anamserol o ifanc yn 17 oed. Roedd yn gyfarfyddiad a arweiniodd at berthynas 34 mlynedd, fel meistres Lloyd George, ei ysgrifennydd personol ac am ddwy flynedd olaf ei fywyd fel ei wraig ac Iarlles Lloyd George.

Mae'r ffilm yn mynd i'r afael â'r berthynas rhwng y tri dros y cyfnod hwn, gan gynnwys saith mlynedd Lloyd George fel Prif Weinidog. Yn 10 Downing Street, Margaret oedd meistres yr aelwyd ar loriau top y tŷ enwog, gyda Frances yn gweithio ar y llawr gwaelod, nesaf i ystafelloedd y Cabinet.

Fe ddatblygodd bywyd dwbl Lloyd George o ganol yr 1920au pan rannai ei amser rhwng ei gartref gyda Frances yn Churt a'r aelwyd deuluol yn Llanystumdwy. Clywn yr hanes hwnnw yn rhannol trwy lygaid merch anghyfreithiol Frances, Jennifer.

Ond mae Ffion hefyd yn dangos sut y tyfodd y ddwy wraig, nid yn unig yn gefn i Lloyd George yn emosiynol a phroffesiynol, ond yn ffigurau arloesol i fenywod yn yr 20fed ganrif.

Fe ddaeth y ferch ffarm dawel, gref a phenderfynol, Maggie Owen, yn ffigwr poblogaidd adeg y Rhyfel Mawr. Hi oedd yr unig wraig i Brif Weinidog tan Sarah Brown i ymgyrchu'n gyhoeddus dros ei phlaid mewn isetholiad a'r fenyw gyntaf o Gymru i fod yn ynad heddwch.

Daeth Frances yn un o ffigurau mwyaf dylanwadol Whitehall a'r fenyw gyntaf i fod yn ysgrifennydd i aelod o'r cabinet ac i Brif Weinidog.

Cynhyrchwyd Dwy Wraig Lloyd George gan Catrin Evans a'i chyfarwyddo gan Nia Dryhurst. Mae'r rhaglen yn cynnwys cyfweliadau gyda gornith Lloyd George, Elisabeth George a Catrin Johnson o Gricieth, sy'n cofio Margaret.

Dwy Wraig Lloyd George, Nos Sul, 20 Medi, 9,00pm,

Cynhyrchiad Tinopolis ar gyfer S4C.

Isdeitlau Cymraeg a Saesneg.

Ar gael ar fandllydan, s4c.co.uk/clic,

Am fwy o fanylion, s4c.co.uk/ffeithiol