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Who better for Marina to turn to when Boris goes off the rails, than his mother Charlotte, who, according to Purnell’s new biography, was brought to the depths of a nervous breakdown by Stanley’s habitual philandering?
The new book reveals how, while the mother of four small children, she was treated for nine months in the Maudsley Hospital in London.
Money flowed, expenses were good, and lunches for Eurocrats such as Stanley long.
Charlotte was 32, with four children, living in a fine home in the diplomatic quarter and working as a painter (she had at least one near sell-out exhibition there), and yet here she was suddenly being flown urgently to London for treatment, leaving her small children behind.
The two may be frighteningly alike, from their bright mops of hair (Stanley’s now greying) and rumpled manner to those jokey self-deprecating one-liners.
But the once-politically ambitious father has been far out-stripped by the dazzling success of his son, the Mayor of London. After all, isn’t Boris a serial seducer described in Sonia Purnell’s new biography called Just Boris as a man with ‘no moral compass’?
But she is prepared to explain her capitulation to his charms with these words: ‘He had such extraordinary joie de vivre and gaiety — so like his son. A man can get anywhere if he can make a woman laugh, it’s such an irresistible quality.’The year of Charlotte’s breakdown was 1974, when she and Stanley were living in Brussels where he was working for the then European Economic Community as head of the Prevention of Pollution Commission.
These were Britain’s early years in the Common Market.