Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a French writer and aviator who is renowned for his novella The Little Prince, which is mentioned by the young Alma in The History of Love. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Saint-Exupéry (also referred to as Saint-Ex in The History of Love) worked as a commercial pilot and pioneered international postal flights during the 1920s. He also published several other books including L'Aviateur (The Aviator), Courrier Sud (Southern Mail), and Vol de nuit (Night Flight), which one the Prix Femina (a coveted French literary prize).
During World War II, Saint-Exupéry flew with American forces and then with the Free French Forces as a reconnaissance pilot. His final mission was to collect intelligence about German troop movements in and around the Rhone Valley in southern France in the lead up to its invasion by Allied forces. He took off on the evening of 31 July 1944 and never returned. His silver identity bracelet and plane wreckage were eventually recovered off the coast of Marseille and it is believed that an unidentifiable body wearing French colours found in the area several days later and buried in Carqueiranne that September was that of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, although this has never been confirmed.