James Bond's lover in Casino Royale 'inspired by Churchill's fav spy'
As the famous film franchise 'James Bond' turns 50, it has been revealed that Winston Churchill's favourite spy Christine Granville was the inspiration behind the character of Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green in 'Casino Royale'.
Ian Fleming published his first James Bond novel 'Casino Royale' in 1952 - the same year Granville, whose real name was Krystyna Skarbek, was stabbed by one of her lovers.
'Casino Royale' features a dark-haired and enigmatic European beauty named Vesper Lynd as 007's love interest.
Fleming's biographer Donald McCormick claims that this character was inspired by Fleming's memories of Christine, following a lunch with her in Soho shortly after the war.
Said to have been Churchill's favourite spy, she carried a seven-inch commando knife in a leather sheath strapped to her thigh, and was also expert in the use of hand-grenades, which she far preferred to guns.
"With a pistol you can defend yourself against, at most, one person. With a hand-grenade, against five, perhaps ten," the Daily Mail quoted her as saying once.
However, her most devastating weapon was an ability to charm men, compared by one admirer to 'a searchlight which could blind anyone in its beam'.
Born in Poland in 1908, she was the daughter of an impoverished Roman Catholic aristocrat and his Jewish wife and was expelled from convent school at the age of 14 for setting light to a priest's cassock as he conducted mass.
Later, bewitching many men with what one admirer described as her 'brilliant, brown, arresting eyes', and another as 'her crackling vitality', she spent much time as a young woman in the fashionable ski resort of Zakopane.
She was also crowned "Miss Ski" at the age of 23 in 1931.