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Socialite inspiration behind Miss Moneypenny

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Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny & Roger Moore as James Bond 007

Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny & Roger Moore as James Bond 007

In the spirit of what is most definitely Bond season, we have more news from the slick, Brit spy and his creator Ian Fleming.

Ian Fleming’s true inspiration for M’s no nonsense secretary Miss Moneypenny has been revealed as society hostess and bright young thing of the 1920s, Loelia Ponsonby.

The wife of the 2nd duke of Westminster, Ponsonby was said to be a close friend of the 007 author after meeting just before the 2nd World War.

The link between the two was made public after correspondence between the pair came to light. It was the impersonal, flirtatious manner of the letters, which mirrored the exchanges between Bond and Miss Moneypenny.

In the original novels he gave the Duchess’ name to the secertary before changing it to Miss Moneypenny in On Her Majesty’s Service. This all occurred long before the celebrated film franchise kicked off.

The letters, which are to be auctioned at Christies in London, contain playful exchanges such as,  ‘shall I come and wake you with a kiss’ and ‘I shall sleep outside (I said outside) your door and live on Luft and Liebe (air and love)’. Although the letters may suggest otherwise it is thought the two never actaully had a relationship, much like Bond and Moneypenny.

For the diary:
The collection of letters go under the hammer at Christies on 13 November. Visit the site here.

2008 also marks the centenary of the birth of the world’s most famous spy novelist. Click below to watch a clip of Fleming talks about his ficitious hero:

Words: Seamus Swords

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