She had, of course, been planning all her life. Born the eldest daughter of Lord Digby, baron, in 1920, she would never inherit the 1,000-hectare family estate that went eventually to her only brother. But Pamela Digby was bored in the Dorset countryside. She craved more excitement and found it by marrying Randolph Churchill, whom she met on a blind date just weeks after the 1939 outbreak of World War II. The only son of Britain's wartime Prime Minister, Randolph was a womanizer, and the marriage was tempestuous. When he left to battle Germans, Pamela began a series of love affairs. The most important was with Averell Harriman, the top U.S. envoy in Britain, from whom she channeled intelligence information to her father-in-law to help draw the U.S. into the war. When Harriman moved to Moscow two years later as ambassador, she began a torrid romance with CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, the love of her life, who proposed, then changed his mind when his wife gave birth.
Divorced from Randolph in 1945, Pamela moved to France, had the Churchill marriage annulled - while keeping the name - and converted to Catholicism in an effort to marry Gianni Agnelli, bachelor head of auto giant Fiat. He balked, as did the married Elle de Rothschild, scion of the French banking and wine family.