|Frieda Lawrence, 1938 Courtesy of Jenny Vincent|
Frieda von Richthofen was born into an aristocratic family in Metz, Germany. In 1899 she moved to England after marrying the much older, Ernest Weekly, professor of French at the University College, Nottingham. After giving birth to three children, Frieda met the author D.H. Lawrence in March, 1912. Two months later the couple eloped to Europe.
After marrying in 1914, the Lawrences returned to England. At the outbreak of the First World War the authorities became concerned that Frieda was a spy. The couple settled at Zennor in Cornwall, but local people reported that the Lawrences were using the clothes hanging on their washing line to send coded messages to German U-boats. After searching their cottage, the authorities forced the Lawrences to leave the area.
When D. H. Lawrence was diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis, the couple went to live in Sicily. Over the next few years they also spent time in North America, Mexico and Australia. Novels published by Lawrence during this period included Women in Love (1920), Aaron's Rod (1922), Kangaroo (1923) and The Plumed Serpent (1926). He also wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover but unable to find a publisher, he had it printed privately in Italy.