Unity Mitford Collection

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 149235
1 Jan 1933 - 31 Jan 2004
Level of Description
  • English
EHRI Partner

Biographical History

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Unity Valkyrie Mitford, born 8 August 1914, was a British socialite. Renowned for her relationship with Adolf Hitler. Both in Great Britain and Germany, she was a prominent supporter of Nazism, fascism and antisemitism, and belonged to Hitler's inner circle. Unity was a member of the Mitford family, an aristocratic family tracing its origins in Northumberland back to the 11th-century Norman settlement of England. She was the fifth of seven children to David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, and his wife, Lady Sydney Redesdale. Her sister Diana left her husband to pursue an affair with Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet, and leader of the British Union of Fascists. They eventually married in 1936. She attempted suicide in Munich on 3rd September 1939, the day Britain and France declared war on Germany. She shot herself and was taken seriously ill on a visit to the family-owned island of Inch Kenneth when she was taken to hospital in Oban. Doctors had decided it was too dangerous to remove the bullet in her head. On 28 May 1948, Mitford died of meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around the bullet. She was buried at Swinbrook Churchyard.

Archival History

Memorandum from David Pryce-Jones Unity Mitford died in 1948 on the island of Inch Kenneth. Her mother, Lady Redesdale, had looked after her. Moira McKay lived in Oban on the mainland and had befriended Unity. Immediately after Unity’s death, Lady Redesdale gave Moira McKay a tin box containing various papers of Unity’s as a keepsake. Moira McKay moved in 1983 to Northampton and she gave these papers to a neighbour, Gerald Russell who in 2002 signed a sheet of paper telling what he knew of these papers and that they were in his possession. After his death, the papers went to a friend of his, and when he sold his house this person gave the tin box to Brian Coughlin. He had never heard of Unity, went to the local library where he lived in Stoke-on-Trent, Googled her name and learnt that David was the author of her biography. He duly emailed him. David visited him, saw that the papers were genuine, and bought them from him in a commercial transaction in 2016.


Donated 3.8.2021

Donor: David Pryce-Jones

Scope and Content

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This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.