Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ronald and Georgette

Georgette, according to her contemporaries was very beautiful as a young woman. She was tall, too, at 5'10". She was not athletic, and according to Hodge "took no exercise that she could avoid", but she did enjoy dancing.

She met Ronald Rougier in 1920 at Christmas when both families were staying at the Bushey Park Hotel. Ronald liked George Heyer immediately and was impressed by his intelligence. He also took to the young Georgette. In the 1920s young ladies were expected to bring their own partner when they were invited to dances, and Ronald became Georgette's.

Ronald, tall and handsome, was two years older than Georgette. His family were of Huguenot extraction, but had settled in York where they ran an import-export business. His first love, the navy, had to be given up because of poor eyesight, so he attended The Royal School of Mines to become a mining engineer. In 1922 he qualified as such and worked in Nigeria for a while. He also played first-class rugger with the Harlequins.

After dating for five years, he and Georgette became engaged in 1925. A month later, after playing tennis with his future son-in-law, George Heyer died of a sudden heart attack.  Two months later the wedding went ahead as planned on August 18, 1925 at St. Mary's in Wimbledon. Georgette wore a pretty little cloth hat and her wedding photo in Hodge shows her carrying a huge bouquet and standing next to a smiling and dapper Ronald. The ceremoney was kept simple with no bridesmaids. 

As close as Georgette was to her father, she must have been suffering immensely from grief. Ronald must have been of great strength to her. She confided to a friend a few months later that a girl never got over the death of her father.

As a couple they were always reserved. Georgette was already an established writer, bringing in a good income with her novels. At all accounts they were a well-suited and happy couple. She learned to play bridge for her husband's sake, and, though she disliked exercise, walked many golf courses in his wake. A friend stated that she was 100% loyal to Ronald and that he was entirely devoted to her. They were married for almost fifty years.  She may have been Georgette Heyer to her fans, but she was Mrs. Ronald Rougier in her private life.

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