I never saw him again. Of course I cried. I cried a lot.
Months later, mutual friends told me Clive's family had put pressure on him not to marry me. They had nothing against
me personally but they didn't want him to marry an actress.
Clive, by the way, finished up a High Court Judge, which he is today.
Six months later I was back in the show I'd quit and touring in Black Velvet again. Years later Val and I often
laughed about his stage door prediction. But it was no joke to me at the time.
From Black Velvet I secured a part in the West End production of Let's Face It, an American musical in which Danny Kaye
had starred on Broadway. Although I was still a teenager I played a middle-aged woman in the London Hippodrome
Early in the run there was a charity gala at Grosvenor House and all the cast were invited. It was there and I
saw Val again, for the second time. Recognising me as the girl who'd walked out on showbusiness just a few months previously,
he came over and asked me to dance.
"I see you're back," he said. "I told you so."
We spent most of the evening together. He was slim, elegant, he was a marvellous dancer. For me it was
an evening of pure magic. I knew there was no holding back. All my girlish dreams had come true. This had
to be my Great Romance.
We sipped champage. He looked into my eyes and at that moment I knew I'd met Mr Right. Nothing special was
said. He didn't flirt with me. He didn't have to. But at that moment we both knew our love story had begun.
At the end of the evening he told me he had a home in Buckinghamshire and that each morning he took the train to London's
Marylebone station. At that time I was living with my parents in a flat in nearby Bryanston Square. I told him
this and he asked if he could look in for coffee the following day on his way to the office.
"Yes, of course," I told him. Sure enough, next morning soon after 10 o'clock he was ringing the doorbell.
In his arms he carried a bunch of cabbages and lettuces from his country garden.I introduced him to my mother, who rejoiced
in the nickname of Jockey. She liked him at once - in fact she adored him almost as much as I did.
Soon we were meeting every day for lunch. We usually went to the old Trocadero in Shaftesbury Avenue, close to
his Cranbourne Mansions offices in Leicester Square. I was rather prim and virginal in those days and it was some months
before I succumbed to his overtures that we should become lovers in the full sense of the word.
The more I saw of him, the more I loved him. He was such an entertaining, thoughtful and considerate companion.
He made me laugh. He was lots of fun. He was the most attractive man I'd ever met.
As well as having a home in the country he had a London flat in Westminster Gardens. One night we went out to dinner,
returned to his flat and, over a glass of champagne, our love affair started.
We were always discreet. In 20 years we never spent the night together. We even travelled in separate planes.
I didn't want to damage his position as an international showbusiness executive nor to hurt his private life with his wife
Helen. And Val, on his side, never wanted to compromise me.
When Mother realsied what was happening she took me to see Barbara Stanwyck in Back Street, the tradegy of a betrayed
mistress. It was her way of warning me what became of girls who formed a liaison with a married man.
But all the films in the world, and all the warnings, couldn't have stopped me. I couldn't help myself. I
was head over heels in love. From then on we saw as much of each other as we could. But we never lived together
in today's accepted meaning. It was always separate rooms in whatever cities we were visiting, whether in England or