But the story had a happy ending, for those same friends helped me with my life of Cecil Beaton, and Diana Cooper, in her more usual role as peacemaker, effected a successful rapprochement between us.
I enjoyed a number of meetings with Daphne in New York in 1981, during which she chatted amicably about our experiences and regaled me with Cecil Beaton stories.
(When eventually they were divorced, there was a prolonged court case before three judges to dissolve that earlier marriage, and regularise the unusual situation.) Old Lord Bath in 1928 handed the running of the Wiltshire family seat, Longleat, to his son (not without certain misgivings about his capacity for work) and he and Daphne threw themselves wholeheartedly into the management of the estate.
While married to Fielding, she wrote her books Mercury Presides (1954) and its sequel, The Nearest Way Home (1970), and a novel, The Adonis Garden (1961), of which Evelyn Waugh wrote that she had "squandered six books in one", adding, "You have used almost everything that has happened in the last twelve years." The Duchess of Jermyn Street, a life of Rosa Lewis of the Cavendish Hotel subsequently serialised on television, was to have been written with the help of George Kinnaird (a writer who also used to help Baroness de Stoekl with her books), but he gave up while going through a divorce.
It was published in 1964 and Evelyn Waugh described it as "jolly good but I think full of inaccuracies".
Having been a part of the world of Bright Young Things in the 1920s, she was well known in society as the Marchioness of Bath, and following her marriage to Xan Fielding she produced a stream of books of easy charm which achieved great popularity.
Good-looking when young, in later life she was a tall, handsome figure, and could have been mistaken for a distinguished actress.
Daphne wrote the first guidebook to Longleat, a lively history of the Thynne family from 1566 to 1949, which she researched and wrote in three weeks.
This she followed with Before the Sunset Fades (1953), a slim 30- page book about life above and below stairs at Long- leat, decorated, appropriately, by her old friend and Wiltshire neighbour Cecil Beaton.
Daphne Winifred Louise Vivian, writer: born 11 July 1904; married 1926 Viscount Weymouth (succeeded 1946 as sixth Marquess of Bath, died 1992; two sons, and two sons and one daughter deceased; marriage dissolved 1953), 1953 Xan Fielding (died 1991; marriage dissolved 1978); died 5 December 1997.
Daphne Fielding was a society author in the decades between 19.
The friends she made then were friends for life, a group that gave each other unswerving loyalty despite infidelities and political differences, everlastingly self-protecting; and a group through which she met Viscount Weymouth, heir to the Marquess of Bath.