The Last Orchid – a play by Michael Johnston

The Last Orchid is a dramatisation of the little known story of the romance between the Romanian Princess Marthe Bibesco and the British Cabinet Minister, Lord Thomson of Cardington, who was Secretary of State for Air in both Ramsay McDonald governments. It begins when they meet in Romania in 1915 and ends as he dies in the crash of the airship R101.

In this version of the story there are only four characters (Marthe, Thomson, McDonald and the Austrian Military attaché). A quarter of a century ago, I wrote and presented a drama documentary for Radio 4 in which Janet Suzman played Marthe Bibesco.

 

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The Last Orchid

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