The youngest daughter of Michael Berry (Lord Hartwell), owner of the Telegraph newspapers, Eleanor first met Robert Maxwell, then owner of the Mirror Group of Newspapers and Labour MP, at a party at his house, Headington Hill Hall, when she was a teenager. This led to a lifelong platonic friendship and a host of amusing anecdotes and stories.
Here we meet the benevolent, unknown side of The Mirror Newspaper Group owner Robert Maxwell. He was a surrogate father to Eleanor on a platonic basis and saved her life by charging into an operating theatre (not scrubbed up) and shouting, “Turn that f**king machine off!” He was referring to the deadly E.C.T. (electro-convulsive therapy), which she did not need.
Maxwell was always kind and generous to Eleanor although he and her father, Michael, who owned The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, were very jealous of each other. Eleanor is proud to have been his friend.
Eleanor campaigned on behalf of Robert Maxwell in the 1970 election, and we hear about the colourful characters she encountered in his campaign office and of the adventures she had whilst she was out canvassing the local voters. And what was the secret that Maxwell’s daughter Ghislaine guessed about Eleanor?
The gutter press have only informed us about Maxwell’s faults, but Eleanor saw a different side to the man she likened to a ‘beautiful, big black bear’. After his death Eleanor hounded the journalists who wrote unkind editorials on ‘Captain Bob’. This led to an interesting confrontation in the offices of Private Eye’s editor Ian Hislop, which she will discuss on the night.
Eleanor has her own theories on the Mirror Pension funds scandal that ensued before his death, and will give us her thoughts on what happened to him on that fateful morning on his boat The Lady Ghislaine on November 5th 1991.
The interview with Eleanor will be followed by a free Champagne and canapé reception in the Apollo bar and an opportunity to meet Eleanor Berry as she signs copies of her book, ‘My Unique Friendship with Robert Maxwell: The Truth at Last!’ The book costs £8.99 in paperback and can also be obtained from www.bookguild.co.uk (ISBN no. 9781912362899)