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Solene Rachelle Fabron was born in 1905 at the peak of la Belle Epoque in a beautiful house situated in the 8th arrondissement of Paris on the right bank of the River Seine to a wealthy, hard-working couple. They only had one child as children were not part of their commitment to their professions. Her father was a successful banker controlling many investments in Africa and Asia; her mother worked for one of the many haute couture houses that were emerging at the time. Solene wasn’t spoiled, although she had numerous staff to help with her studies in education, etiquette and deportment. After her mother was killed in the first world war by a bomb, she moved with her father first to England and then to West Africa, returning to an unrecognisable Paris in 1919.

Before the second world war, Solene had met and married an Army officer and had moved to a more modest home in Montreuil travelling into Paris to work for her father’s bank. She believes her husband was killed after being captured and tortured by the Nazis at the beginning of the second world war.

At the end of the war, Solene had settled in London, partly due to her dealings with the British authorities and partly to move on and try and forget her painful memories.

 

In May 1945 she met and began a romance with Emil Kohler, a German scientist that had arrived in London in April. Emil Kohler had never been married apart from to his work. He arrived in Britain in April 1945 as was quickly hired by the University in the Faculty of Engineering at Cambridge University. Although he had rooms at College, Emil preferred to live in London and travel. Emil Kohler was fascinated by the emergence of the cinema and went often. After one such lonely screening he saw and engineered a conversation with the beautiful and sophisticated widow, Solene.