Elizabeth Bibesco - Marriage and Paris

Marriage and Paris

In 1919 she married Prince Antoine Bibesco, a Romanian diplomat stationed in London, a man 22 years her senior. It was the society wedding of the year, attended by everyone from the Queen to George Bernard Shaw. The wedding was filmed by the newly formed British Moving Picture News organization. After the marriage, Prince and Princess Bibesco lived in Paris at the Bibesco townhouse at 45, Quai Bourbon at the tip of the Ile St Louis looking up the river toward Notre Dame cathedral. The walls of the apartment were decorated with huge canvases by Vuillard. "They weren't pictures. They were gardens into which you walked through a frame," wrote Enid Bagnold.

Antoine Bibesco was a lifelong friend of Marcel Proust and after his marriage to Elizabeth she too became a favorite of the reclusive writer. At the time of her marriage Proust wrote that she "was probably unsurpassed in intelligence by any of her contemporaries," and added that "she looked like a lovely figure in an Italian fresco". He would leave his house late at night to visit them, to discuss Shakespeare with Elizabeth or to gossip with Antoine until dawn. Elizabeth wrote a moving obituary for Proust in the November 1922 New Statesman. "Gently, deliberately, he drew me into that magic circle of his personality with the ultimate sureness of a look that needs no touch to seal it. Insensibly you were drawn into that intricate cobweb of iridescent steel, his mind, which, interlacing with yours, spread patterns of light and shade over your most intimate thoughts."

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