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What became of the broken-hearted? Meet the unlucky in love, 1969

Was society getting sadder? On 10 August 1969, the Observer kicked off an investigation into ‘new aspects of unhappiness’ by talking to people who were unlucky in love. Music manager Eve Taylor, 53, worked with Sandie Shaw and Val Doonican, but success made personal fulfilment elusive: ‘It’s the hardest thing in the world for me to meet somebody now that I’m in the position I’m in.’ Following two ‘disastrous’ marriages, she was ‘looking for somebody to love me,’ but usually stayed home in her nightie, dealing with client dramas. ‘I haven’t got anybody to tell my own troubles to,’ she said.’

‘Why do I always fall in love (loosely used word) with the wrong men,’ bemoaned ‘pretty girl’ Sindy Herbert, 25. A trail of relationship chaos and heartbreak was complicated by drug addiction and a spell in a psychiatric hospital. She was considering becoming a nun or going to India ‘to explore Eastern culture and the smoking scene’.

‘I love rich men and champagne,’ declared Vikki de’Lambrey, 20, who worked as a drag singer. Despite numerous admirers, a hired Rolls-Royce, minks and gold lamé, de’Lambrey declared, ‘The way I live is a terrible waste of a life,’ vowing to end it all by 26. De’Lambrey would actually survive 15 more flamboyant years of gossip column and court appearances, scandals and rumoured espionage connections before dying of an overdose in mysterious circumstances.

Roger Wisbey, 30, owned a men’s clothing boutique, drove an MG sports car and hosted great parties, but his parents’ ‘storybook’ courtship seemed impossible to replicate. He would end short flings in ‘a despicable manner’ and feared he was heading for a ‘darned miserable middle age’. His obituary from 2021 when he died aged 82, hints at the happy ending he feared would elude him: described as a ‘much loved husband’, he was survived by a wife, two children and four grandchildren.