I'm aware of both of those pieces, but The Mail article is by far the most comprehensive piece.
It's also of special interest to me because I have been assembling an article on Caspar, based on Ann Fleming's letters. The Mail even quoted from the same letters I had planned to use! Having been scooped, I don't plan on finishing the article, but I hate to let my research go entirely to waste, so here are some extracts from the longer letters. They form a rough chronicle of Caspar's brief life, as seen through his mother's pen. The level of detail is probably too much for general readers, but will interest anyone curious about the personal lives of the Flemings.
1952 was a momentous year for Ian Fleming. He had begun Casino Royale in January and completed a rough draft six days before marrying Ann on March 24. To celebrate he purchased a gold-plated typewriter. Caspar Robert Fleming was born on August 12, and Ian wrote to his bed-ridden wife:
This is only a tiny letter to tryout my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold. […]
You have been wonderfully brave and I am very proud of you. The doctor and nurses all say so and are astonished you were so good about all the dreadful things they did to you. They have simply been shuffling you and dealing you out and then shuffling again. I do hope darling Kaspar has made it up to you a little. He is the most heavenly child and I know he will grow up to be something wonderful because you have paid for him with so much pain.
Goodnight my brave sweetheart.
Caspar was born by Caesarean, and his birth was extremely difficult for Ann, as she wrote to her brother Hugo Charteris:
"I am on the low road to recovery, I thought once I got Caspar to the sea that recovery would be immediate but instead I am pursued by demons, and have nightmares about long red rubber tubes and can't stop crying, for five days all normal functions and some abnormal ones were performed by tubes." [Sept. 3 1952]
Ann eventually resumed her duties as a society hostess. Her most frequent correspondent was Evelyn Waugh, who was not especially fond of Caspar. After a luncheon in 1955, he complained that "Caspar is a very obstreperous child, grossly pampered." Ann thought otherwise:
The next bout of fisticuffs was in the sepulchrally silent tea room of the Grand Hotel, Folkestone. Evelyn was annoyed that I had brought three-year-old son, who was perched on my knee; so he put his face close to the child’s, dragging down the corners of eyes and mouth with forefingers and thumb, producing an effect of such unbelievable malignity that the child shrieked with terror and fell to the floor. I gave Evelyn's face a hard slap, overturning a plate of éclairs, and presently had my revenge by driving over a cart-track so bumpy that he swallowed half his cigar.
Waugh was unrepentant: "I do hope that old Kaspar has nightmares about his visit to Folkestone. I shall, for many years."
Caspar's home life was not helped by the deterioration of his parents' marriage. In early 1962, Ian had the following to say to his wife:
…you bring up how much you suffer over Caspar's day off. You have no idea of the torture those aimless querulous wanderings are for me and how much I am nauseated by his bad manners which you seem to tolerate so indulgently. I love him and I would take him anywhere alone, but watching his character deteriorate under your laissez-faire depresses me beyond words because I see him not being casually spoiled now but spoilt when it comes to facing the world.
You say that I should impose my authority. I cannot when you abrogate the position of father as well as mother and when Nanny abets you. Those outing days slay me—apart from the long and aimless driving through those dreary TV villages and your complaints about the car. It's purgatory and we must make a new plan and above all decide who is father and who is mother and what their roles are. […]
The point lies in only one area. Do we want to go on living together or do we not?
In the present twilight we are hurting each other to an extent that makes life hardly bearable. That inhuman state of affairs has got to be ended. But it cannot be ended by my simply saying 'yes' to all you think you want, whether it is a real need or a whim. I get terribly exhausted and that's why I go to bed every night [...] at 10.30 and often sleep round the clock.
And that is one reason why I am going where I am, away from the sterile grind of Sandwich and London, to have a rest from it all and regain some spirit, which, though you haven't noticed it, is slipping out of me through my boots.
Ann in turn was enraged about Blanche Blackwell, Ian's mistress in Jamaica, and also disturbed by the increasing prominence of 007, as she wrote to Ian in March 1962:
I fear that since the rise of James Bond you do not care for a personality that in any way can compete with yours, and no doubt there is more adulation to be had at [Blanche Blackwell's], and you refuse to see that it is an impossible situation for me. […] I would love to diminish the emotionalism of our lives but while she continues to be an adjunct of Jamaican life, and you take every opportunity of patronage and friendship to see [her] family I shall be neither calm nor happy. The fact that you saw her in the nursing home reveals your feelings for her, for you do not want to see many people. If you were well and we were both younger our marriage would be over; but I love you and want to look after you, and grind my teeth when you smoke, and am pleased when you refrain from the deadly gin after whisky, and because of these things I think it would be worth your while to put yourself out a little to do things with me and for me. Last year my happiness started when you were well enough to leave the nursing home and ended with those cruel words in the mistral, cruel because they were true and I did not have the self-sacrifice and the self-control to accept the truth. I fear I am not good enough for that. If I was it would probably not be virtue but indifference, and if I was indifferent to you, Caspar's home would be broken. […]
I do not know what it is except your personality has greatly changed with success, Bond and bad health—this is a general opinion. You need great love, calm and quiet, more than anyone. I can give you all if you give me little; but please devote a little of your vitality to keeping us close together, and share what you can of your life with me.
Ian snarled back:
But for my love for you and Caspar I would welcome the freedom which you threaten me with.
It has all been getting worse and worse and I knew this year would be decisive. Either we survive it or we don't. There is no one else in my life. There is a whole cohort in yours. I am lonely, jealous and ill. Leave me my pleasures as I leave you yours.
Above all, have compassion.
Ann's sister Mary Rose died around Christmas 1962. She was found dead by her son Francis Grey, who was Caspar's age and became something of a step-brother to him:
"I took old Caspar to meet [Francis] at the airport and hoped old C. would shed some light on the degree of affection the poor child felt towards his mother, old C. said he did know but it was a secret he would never divulge and then said wistfully 'Do you think his spirits will be high enough for fighting?'" [Jan. 1 1963]
Caspar (often nicknamed "Old Caspar" in Ann's letters to Waugh) had his father's gift for the outrageous. Here he comments on the engagement of his half-brother:
Old Caspar took the news of Raymond's engagement very badly, he said he had so hoped to be of royal blood; we were to lunch with the young couple in Oxford so I suggested he should put a cheerful face on the situation, which he did by announcing loudly in the dining-room of the Randolph that he would never marry because he was not so oversexed as James Bond--should I take him to a psychiatrist? [March 12 1963]
By August 1964 Ian Fleming was nearing the end, as Ann recognized:
Ian's life from now on hangs on a thread. Such recovery as he could make depends on his self-control with cigarettes and alcohol. The doctor spent Bank Holiday with us, and was able to witness the sad change that ill health and drugs can bring. Poor Ian nags at me specially and then Caspar all the time. It ends all fun and is anguish to be with one one loves who is very mentally changed and fearfully unhappy—poor old tiger.
By the evening of August 11, Ian "was in great despair." He suffered a severe haemorrhage and was taken to Canterbury Hospital. "I was in despair that Caspar should see his father carried from the hotel," wrote Ann. The next day was Caspar's birthday and it was customary for father and son to dine together. Ian died at one in the morning. Neither his wife nor son would fully recover from his loss.
In 1963 Evelyn Waugh wrote to Ann: "You will lose someone you love every year now for the rest of your life. It is a position you have to accept and prepare for." He was fully correct, and died in 1966, followed by Ann's father, her brother in 1970, several beloved friends, and Caspar in 1975. Before the latter, Ann had tried her to encourage her young son's interests. In 1965 she took Caspar to Egypt to indulge his love of its history, despite her distaste for ancient Egypt:
Egyptian religion seems based on the fallacy that you can take it with you - wish I had not read books on it, I thought a little knowledge would stimulate my interest, but my worst fears are confirmed, none of it appeals. The trustees regard the journey as extravagance, in fact it is a sacrifice to please Caspar who has learned so much of this uncivilisation that I am impressed. [March 28 1965]
The Valley of the Kings is a nightmare of glare, heat and tourists, and the tombs smell awful. I do not like Egyptian art, it seems monotonous. Neither youth, nor age, nor love, nor fun is depicted. It's a necrophile materialistic religion.
Happily our companion, Fred Warner, takes Caspar out at dawn. I know him no better than when we left England and cannot conceive why he should wish to be with us. He is a super tutor and dragoman [...] Caspar thinks him a marvel, and there are only six more days! […]
Caspar is awfully happy. He spends his evening bargaining in the antique shops, and enjoys walking the streets alone followed by starving Arab children yelling for baksheesh. At dinner he returns triumphant with a bundle of fake scarabs and amulets. [April 1965]
Back home, tension inevitably arose between them, especially when she accompanied Caspar on the Fleming family's Scottish vacations: "Two months driving Caspar on Scottish visits have proved exhausting. Caspar hates me and talks of little but matricide. What shall I do? He is too old and strong to hit" she wrote, undoubtedly with some exaggeration, to Evelyn Waugh.
Waugh was amused: "It is very wrong of Caspar to plot your murder. Do you think those terrible modern pictures have unsettled the boy? I don't mean films of course but the paintings you have lately acquired? ...I suffer far more than you can understand by the present degradation of the Church. I will pay Caspar's single fare (first class) if he will go to New York to assassinate the Pope." [Sept. 14 1965]
For a while things improved at home and at school. Caspar "loves Eton and takes the Archeological Society to Sotheby sales," wrote Ann, though signs of future trouble were apparent. "It is long leave, Caspar and cousin are footling with fireworks and sawn-off shot guns." [Nov. 4 1967] Caspar was eventually caught with multiple firearms at school, and though his Uncle Peter Fleming tried to hush up the matter, the police were called in ("it looks as if Peter, Caspar and me will all be in Wormwood Scrubs when you return" Ann wrote to Caspar's godmother). He was eventually expelled, his time at Eton having been promising but stressful:
"Last holidays he was white and in tears a great deal of the time, and dreading 'A' levels, though his report was wonderful and he was expected to do very well: somehow he felt under pressure, and is now talking all the trendy nonsense of his generation, anti-materialism and all sorts of nonsense."
Mother and son attempted to relax with a trip to Greece. Ann said Caspar was "a wonderful companion," but stress returned with them to Britain: "It's awfully rum having a house full of teenagers. I had anticipated a joyful period but the age gap is too great, and it's permanent stress organizing meals, transport, and trying to offset their modish gloom. I worship Caspar but nothing he does adds to peace of mind." [Nov. 7 1969]
A few years later came another brief spell of happiness, when they returned to Greece to visit Ann's friend Patrick Leigh Fermor, who wrote an account of the visit:
In August 1972 Ann and Caspar came again, with Rachel Toynbee this time, a charming girl Caspar was attached to, the most serious attachment in his short life [...] we explored the Mani and visited the ruins of ancient Messenia. 'I long to pinch all the bits of marble lying about,' Caspar said, pretending to linger with intent to put the wind up Ann and us. 'Just look at that lion's head! Asking for it!' I hurried him on ... he had a passion for archaeology in all sorts of abstruse branches, and knew a great deal about it. The passion had followed his previous Bond-like craze for weapons, swordsticks, daggers, pistols, guns and even steel crossbows that sent glittering arrows whizzing at high speed across the croquet lawn at Sevenhampton and thudding into tree trunks. He had extraordinary adventures and scrapes chaffering over guns and artefacts, and heaven knows what else, with shady dealers in the attics and cellars of Soho. Was he nineteen or twenty then? He looked younger and rather frail and slender and pale with a few scattered freckles and thick dark curls, rather like an angry and vulnerable faun. He got very excited cleaning a Graeco-Roman funerary slab (which I had unearthed in one of the hill villages) with a solution of aquaforte [...]
We sat up late into the hot August nights playing the dictionary game; there was exciting rivalry and a lot of cheering in victory and tearing of hair in defeat. Caspar was wildly competitive and very good at it, which gave us a feeling of success and made Ann enjoy it too. (She always enjoyed things normally, but when Caspar was there, her anxiety about his pleasure dictated hers [...]). He was deep in Egyptology and when he left, signed his name in the book in Egyptian hieroglyphics: beautifully drawn cartouches filled with sphinxes, palm leaves, ibises and galleys.
By 1973 Ann was aware of Caspar's growing drug problem, but unable to cope, though she tried to keep her son within sight as often as she could. Caspar was diagnosed as a severe depressive and given electric shock treatment. James Bond endured the same in The Man With the Golden Gun, but Caspar did not get better. Instead he followed the path of another shock therapy patient, Ernest Hemingway, and killed himself on October 2, 1975. Letters of condolence poured in to Ann, who answered with quiet grief:
"The last fifteen months have been a nightmare. The best of the 'shrinks' described C's condition as 'malignant depression'. For my sake C. made efforts to come to terms with life, but lately he had never been other than despondent." [Oct. 30 1975]
"Caspar tried to come to terms with life, for my sake, and then suddenly could not try any more. The note he left said 'If it is not this time it will be next.' It was an act of will and the best analyst wrote to me what you did--at the moment there is no cure. I shall miss him forever, until a year ago he was a marvelous companion and more recently one's heart was anguished for there was no help one could give. [Nov. 6 1975]
After so many deaths, Ann began drinking heavily. She had already been doing so in the months before Caspar's death, after visiting him at various nursing homes. But eventually she found the strength to regain sobriety and recover some of her earlier vivacity and sociability. It was not quite a happy ending, but it was more than deserved for a woman who had lost so much, and who, regardless of her faults, deeply loved her husband and son.