Richard's biographer, T. W. Reid, entitled the work "The Life, Letters and Friendships of Richard Monckton Milnes". He was a classless
Englishman, mingling with all levels of society. Reid says of him, "Milnes delighted in making the acquaintance of all those who were playing
a leading part upon the stage of the day; but his truest friendships were often with those whom fame had never reached, nor success
gladdened. The richest outpourings of his heart and mind were in many cases reserved for people of whom the world knew little or nothing.
It was no common blessing which followed the friendship of Milnes for those who enjoyed it."
Milnes was the MP for Pontefract in Yorkshire for many years but would like to have been in the House of Lords. His father was still alive and
the peerage would have to be first bestowed upon the father. Milnes Jr was Liberal and his father was a devout Tory. It would take a Liberal
Prime Minister to be inclined to bestow the peerage for Richard's sake but he would have to create an opponent in the upper house first, a
strong deterrent. Richard was created 1st Baron Houghton after his father's death.
For 7 years, Richard sought the hand of Florence Nightingale
. He was a good
friend of the Nightingale family. Florence turned him down every time he proposed. He eventually gave up, but he and Florence remained
lifelong friends. He married Annabel Crewe instead. She was the daughter of a baron but eschewed aristocratic society.
In the story... Diana is fortunate enough to meet Richard and Annabel when she first goes to London. They are a source of emotional support
for her during the two years of the Crimean War, which has caused much tumult in her life.