BBC1 Wales will air a new documentary Dec. 7 to mark the centenary of David Lloyd George becoming the first, and so far only, Welsh-born Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The story, apply titled Dan Snow on Lloyd George — My Great-Great Grandfather, is told by historian Dan Snow, a descendant from one of Lloyd George’s daughters.
At the end of the First World War the solicitor from north Wales, who had become Prime Minister in 1916, was hailed as “the man who won the war” and was hugely popular. But, at the same time, with his wife Margaret living back home in Wales, and after a string of affairs, he was living a double life.
“He was also a notorious womanizer,” said Snow in a statement, “whose long-running relationship with his young secretary meant that he almost had two wives. I’m descended from one of Lloyd George’s daughters, so this other side of his life has always been a bit of a family secret, something we never talked about.”
Snow travels to north Wales to retrace Lloyd George’s footsteps to Westminster and then on to the Palace of Versailles, where he represented Great Britain and her empire at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
In one section of the program, Snow visits the Parliamentary Archives to read excerpts from the diary of Lloyd George’s secretary Frances Stevenson, as well as letters Lloyd George wrote to her.
“On one level, as a family member, it’s pretty distressing,” Snow said. “Reading about your great-great-grandfather’s love affairs and his aborted love-child. And an incredible self-obsession and ambition that seems to have crowded out the feelings of anybody else.
“But on another level you do find yourself attracted to him — as a lover, as a human — and you almost feel yourself wishing him all the best in that relationship, because he clearly loved her very much.”
Lloyd George later married Stevenson after his wife’s death.
But there was also much more to Lloyd George’s story.
“I think the most remarkable aspect of the Lloyd George story is that this was a guy without money, without connections, without an army background and without being educated in Oxford or Cambridge, who rose up to become one of the most powerful men in the world, becoming Prime Minister of Britain at a time when the British Empire extended right around the world,” said Snow. “That single fact, to me, is one of the most remarkable aspects of 20th Century history.”
Dan Snow on Lloyd George — My Great-Great Grandfather airs Wednesday, Dec. 7 on BBC1 Wales at 9 p.m.