Bachelor recalled pain of being jilted as a young man

SIR Edward Heath was renowned as a bachelor and gained an undeserved reputation as a misogynist.

But probably the only time he fell deeply in love, the girl he almost certainly wanted to marry jilted him for another man.

He was not entirely without romance in his make-up, although his routine gruffness gave distinctly the opposite impression. He was on record as having said: “I am very good with widows.”

Sir Edward has also poignantly described the pain he suffered when he was jilted as a young man.

And he seriously considered marrying the busty starlet Jayne Mansfield.

In a conversation with TV performers before an appearance on a television show, Sir Edward said: “It was not totally inconceivable that she, Jayne Mansfield, could have joined me as my wife at No 10.”

Sir Edward went on to say that he met the actress several times at her request “and that despite her provocative image she was a highly intelligent woman”.

Ms Mansfield was, like him, an accomplished musician, and a well-respected violinist as well. She was also a linguist.

Her interest in Sir Edward arose when she visited the House of Commons in the 1960s. And although she had been married three times, she asked friends if he was a bachelor.

But in 1967 she died, at the age of 38, in a car crash in New Orleans. Sir Edward was reported as saying: “Her death was a tragedy. Who knows what could have been?”

And at least one serious attempt was made, in the late 1960s when he had 10 Downing Street in his sights, to marry him off to help his political career. It failed lamentably.

The late Lord Chelwood, formerly Tory MP Sir Tufton Beamish, asked Dame Moura Lympany, the concert pianist, whether she would marry Sir Edward to help him become Prime Minister.

She was later quoted as saying: “I was in love with someone else, and that was that. Of course, I declined. It was a political approach. Edward Heath probably knew nothing about it at the time.”

Many of his friends thought that she would have been an admirable choice. Her friendship with Sir Edward stretched back to about 1960 and they had given concerts together.

She went on to say: “He is a very romantic person. He’s charming and attractive. I would do anything for Ted.”

In 1998 in his autobiography The Course of My Life Sir Edward revealed that he had a deep relationship as a young man with a girl called Kay Raven, the pretty and intelligent daughter of a doctor in his home town of Broadstairs.

It was a chaste romance that survived wartime separation, but foundered on his preoccupation with a political career. Ultimately she was to fall in love with and marry an RAF pilot.

Although the couple married in Broadstairs, Sir Edward was not among the guests. He later explained the fact that he had not married by saying “the right occasion never arose”.

But over the years, Sir Edward sent her Christmas cards and she made a point of watching his speeches on TV. When she died of cancer in 1978 he wrote a letter of condolence to her husband.