Madeleine Henrey, née Gal, was born in France, the daughter of a poor miner and a seamstress. After her father's death when she was a teenager, she moved with her mother to London, England. After graduating from a Catholic convent school, she took various jobs: in a newsagent's, in a silk merchant's office, and as a manicurist at the Savoy Hotel. There she met her future husband, Robert Henrey, a journalist. In 1928, they married and had a son, who became a child actor known as Bobby Henrey. Between 1941 and 1979, she published more than 30 books under the pen name Mrs. Robert Henrey, including memoirs, reminiscences, and contemporary histories. Her first book, A Farm in Normandy (1941), described their house in a small village in the northern French countryside, lost to the German Occupation of World War II (they were able to return to it in 1964). A Film Star in Belgrave Square (1948) and A Journey to Vienna (1950) recounted her son's work on the films The Fallen Idol and others. Her most popular book, The Little Madeleine (1951), was the first of 14 volumes of her life story.