Widower quickly remarries family assistant? Maybe?
June 20, 2014 9:10 AM   Subscribe

At some point after reading My Life in France, I convinced myself that Alex Prud'homme wrote that after Julia Child's death, Paul quickly married her long-time assistant, with an explanation that he didn't know how to be alone after being married so many years. That's not the case (in fact, she outlived him by 10 years). I know that this is a long shot because that sort of thing probably happens quite a bit, but: Who was I thinking of?

So, I'm reading Dearie now, and while reading the description of Paul's declining health and mental capabilities, and how, by the time Julia moved him to a home, he didn't really know where he was or who she was, I was thinking, "Gosh, either he has a miraculous recovery or whoever married him is incredibly unethical." But, no, in what was a very dramatic twist to me, Paul actually died 10 years before Juila.

So, can you name some famous widowers/widowers of a famous spouse who very quickly remarried her (or his, or their) assistant after death of said spouse? And I would have read about it in a bio or memoir?
posted by amarynth to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Possibly Agatha Christie's second husband, Max Mallowan, who married his colleague/assistant after her death? It's variously reported -- most modern sources take it for granted that they were having an affair for years before Christie's death, but I think the earlier reports of the story ignored the affair.
posted by pie ninja at 9:43 AM on June 20, 2014

Benjamin Harrison's wife, Carrie's niece married a man who died three months later. As a 23 year old widow the same age as her own daughter with no prospects her aunt invited her to move into the white house and become her assistant. After his term Mary stayed on as Mrs. Harrison's assistant up until her death. Strangely, after Carrie's death, Mary stayed on in the Harrison household and soon married the former President.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:48 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thomas Hardy married his first wife Emma in 1874. They eventually became estranged and after she died in 1912 he married his secretary, Florence, in 1914. Strangely, much of his poetry after that was about his first wife, not his second, even though some accounts claim he and Florence had had a relationship for some time while his first wife was still alive.

Hasn't got the French setting, though. Or the cooking.
posted by zadcat at 10:08 AM on June 20, 2014

Possibly John Bayley, Iris Murdoch's widower, who married their longtime family friend and informal caregiver, Audi Villers, a couple years after Murdoch died.
posted by Beardman at 10:12 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Leonard Woolf grieved mightily for Virginia, but also fell deeply in love (with a married woman) within a relatively short time after her death, and continued that affair until his own death. I've heard that it's men who were most happily married, who are most likely to remarry promptly upon becoming widowers.
posted by mmiddle at 4:59 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Henry Fielding married his wife's maid, but it took him three years (and a pregnancy) to do it.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:09 PM on June 20, 2014

Thanks, all! I don't think any of these folks are who I conflated with Paul & Julia, but they all answer my question, so you all get best answer. Maybe I dreamed it! It's just so strange how sure I was about it.
posted by amarynth at 7:41 AM on June 23, 2014

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