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AUGUST 13, 2003

Lady Diana Mosley

Lady Diana Mosley, the mother of FIA President Max Mosley, has died in Paris at the age of 93. The FIA President owes a great deal to his mother as he inherited much of her intellectual brilliance and ambition. At the same time his career was adversely affected by the adventures of his parents in the 1930s and there is no doubt that if left to his own devices he would have gone into politics, where his talents truly lie.

Diana Mosley was one of most colorful characters of the Twentieth Century, being at the same time a friend of both Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill. She grew up in privileged circumstances as one of the six Mitford girls, who were the stars of London aristocratic circles in the 1930s: Nancy went on to become famous as a best-selling author; Jessica was a Communist who ran away to join the republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and ended up becoming a successful investigative journalist in the United States; Deborah became the Duchess of Devonshire and used her energies to restore the great Chatsworth estate to its former glory while Unity was a close friend of Adolf Hitler who shot herself when Britain and Germany went to war.

Diana, who Sir Winston Churchill referred to as "Dynamite", married into the Guinness Family before causing a scandal and running off with Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists. The pair married in Germany and when war broke out Diana and Sir Oswald were imprisoned by the British as Nazi sympathizers. In MI5 documents published last year the security service concluded in 1940 that Lady Mosley was "far cleverer and more dangerous" than her husband.

After the war, disenchanted with Britain, the couple lived abroad and Max was educated in France and Germany, learning to speak several languages before embarking on his career as a lawyer. When it became clear that he could not have a political career in England he turned to motor racing, establishing March Engineering and later becoming a leading figure in FOCA, battling for control of the sport with the FIA. He then joined the establishment and was elected FIA President and has since used his skills to help form the sport into its current state and establish the FIA as a voice for motorists around the world.

Our thoughts are with the FIA President.