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Aristocratic Women and Political Society in Victorian Britain$

K. D. Reynolds

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207276.001.0001

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(p.222) Biographical Appendix

(p.222) Biographical Appendix

Source:
Aristocratic Women and Political Society in Victorian Britain
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Entries are listed under the title by which the subject appears most frequently in this book; other names and titles by which they are known are given in the entries.

Louisa, Countess of Antrim

Born Louisa Grey in 1855, she was the daughter of the queen's private secretary, General Charles Grey, and Caroline Farquhar, who after Grey's death was appointed a woman of the bedchamber. Louisa married William McDonnell (1851–1918), sixth earl of Antrim in 1875; her own appointment, in the family tradition, as lady of the bedchamber in 1890, enabled her to spend a certain amount of time each year away from her erratic and hot-tempered husband. She served Queen Alexandra in a similar capacity, and died in 1949. Main residence: Glenarm Castle, Larne, Co. Antrim.

Elizabeth, Duchess of Argyll

Born Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower in 1824, the eldest daughter of George, second duke of Sutherland, and Lady Harriet Howard, she shared her mother's religious and philanthropic interests, and followed her as mistress of the robes (1868–70) in Gladstone's first administration. She married George Campbell (1823–1900), marquess of Lorne in 1844 (he became eighth duke of Argyll in 1847), and shared his liberal political interests. Having had twelve children, her health collapsed in 1870, and she died in 1878. Main residences: Argyll Lodge, Campden Hill, Kensington; Inverary Castle, Argyllshire; Roseneath, Dumbartonshire.

Anne, Duchess of Athole

Born Anne Home Drummond in 1814, the daughter of Henry Home Drummond and Christian Moray, in 1839 she married George Murray (1814–64), baron Glenlyon, who in 1846 succeeded as sixth duke of Athole. Appointed mistress of the robes in Lord Derby's short-lived ministry of 1852, from 1854 until her death in 1897 she served as a lady of the bedchamber to the queen, and appears to have been one of her most trusted attendants and closest friends. Main residences: Blair Castle and Dunkeld House, Perthshire.

Louisa, Duchess of Athole

Born Louisa Moncrieffe in about 1844, the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Moncrieffe, seventh baronet, and Lady Louisa Hay. In 1864 she married John Murray (Stewart-Murray from 1865) (1840–1917), marquess of Tullibardine; Iain, as he was known to his family, became seventh duke of Athole the next year. Hers was a family-centred life, based on the family's Perthshire estates and the social round of the London season, especially in the 1880s and 1890s, when the futures of her three daughters (p.223) were her prime concern. She died on a continental tour in 1902. Main residences: Blair Castle, Perthshire, and 84 Eaton Place, London.

Constance, Lady Battersea

Born in 1843, elder daughter of Sir Anthony de Rothschild and Louisa Montefiore, in 1877 she married Cyril Flower (1843–1907), Liberal MP and party whip. He was created Baron Battersea in 1892. Lady Battersea was an active promoter of her husband's political career and an active philanthropist. She died in 1941. Main residences: 7 Hyde Park Place, London, and Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire.

Georgina, Lady Bloomfield

Born the hon. Georgina Liddell in 1822, she was the daughter of Thomas Liddell, first baron Ravensworth, and Maria Simpson. She was appointed a maid of honour to the queen in 1841, resigning on her marriage in 1845 to John Bloomfield (1802–79), who succeeded as second baron Bloomfield in 1846. She subsequently accompanied her husband on his diplomatic appointments to St Petersburg and Vienna, and in 1883 published Reminiscences of Court and Diplomatic Life. She died in 1905. Main residences: various European embassies; Ciamaltha, Newport, Co. Tipperary; Bramfield House, Hertfordshire.

Charlotte, Duchess of Buccleuch

Born Lady Charlotte Thynne in 1811, daughter of Thomas Thynne, second marquess of Bath, and the hon. Isabella Byng. In 1829 she married Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott (1806–84), fifth duke of Buccleuch and seventh duke of Queensberry. She served as mistress of the robes in Sir Robert Peel's conservative ministry (1841–6). Profoundly religious, after some twenty years of doubt she converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1860. She died in 1895. Main residences: Dalkeith Palace, near Edinburgh; Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire; Bowhill, Selkirkshire; Boughton House, near Kettering, Northamptonshire; Montagu House, Whitehall Gardens, London.

Beatrix, Countess Cadogan

Born Lady Beatrix Craven in 1844, she was the daughter of William, second earl of Craven, and Lady Emily Grimston. In 1865 she married George Cadogan (1840–1915), who became viscount Chelsea the next year, and succeeded as fifth earl Cadogan in 1873. Her husband was somewhat wayward, a conservative politician, and a member of the circle surrounding the prince of Wales. Lady Cadogan interested herself in household management, which was complicated by the absence of a regular country estate, and in charitable activities. She had seven sons and two daughters, and died in 1907. Main residences: Chelsea House, Cadogan Place, London, and Babraham Hall, Cambridge, rented from the Adeane family.

Charlotte, Countess Canning

Born the hon. Charlotte Stuart in 1817, elder daughter of Charles Stuart, baron Stuart de Rothesay, and Lady Elizabeth York, she was noted for her beauty and (p.224) devotion to religion. In 1836 she married Charles Canning (1812–62), viscount Canning, who was created earl Canning in 1859. She served as a lady of the bedchamber between 1842 and 1855, when her Peelite husband was sent to India as governor-general. A great admirer of the prince consort, she was one of the queen's favourite companions. She was in India throughout the great revolt of 1857, and was India's first vicereine. She died there in 1861, while planning her return to England. Main residences: 10 Grosvenor Square, London; Government House, Calcutta.

Adeline, Countess of Cardigan and Lancastre

Born Adeline de Horsey in 1824, she was the daughter of Spencer de Horsey and Lady Louisa Rous. Her father belonged to a ‘fast’ set, and his daughter followed his example. She early became notorious for her affair with James Bruce (1797–1868), seventh earl of Cardigan: rumours circulated that she had borne his child. She married him two months after the death of his first wife in 1858. Never received by the more morally upright sections of society, she was none the less a well-known member of the racing and hunting set, and kept great state at Deene Park in Northamptonshire. In 1873 she married Antonio, count de Lancastre (d. 1898), but this marriage failed, and she spent most of her time at Deene. She died in 1915, having scandalized society one last time by publishing a scurrilous volume, My Recollections, in 1909. Main residences: Deene Park, near Wansford, Northamptonshire; 36 Portman Square, London; Cardigan Lodge, Newmarket.

Katharine, Countess of Clarendon

Born Lady Katharine Grimston in 1810, daughter of James Grimston, first earl of Verulam, and Lady Charlotte Jenkinson. Her first husband was John Foster Barham, but he died in 1838 after only four years of marriage. She married again in 1839, the Whig George Villiers, fourth earl of Clarendon (1800–70). She accompanied him to Ireland, where he was lord-lieutenant (1847–52); as wife to the foreign secretary, she was a well-known hostess in the 1850s and 1860s. She died in 1874; her daughters became Ladies Derby, Lathom, and Ampthill. Main residences: The Grove, near Watford; 1 Grosvenor Crescent, London.

Susan, Countess of Dalhousie

Born Lady Susan Hay in 1817, the daughter of George Hay, eighth marquess of Tweeddale, and Lady Susan Montagu, whose selfish attention to their own interests was a family byword. In 1836 she married James Ramsay (1812–60), Lord Ramsay, tenth earl of Dalhousie, who was created marquess of Dalhousie in 1849. For some months in 1842 she joined her sister Elizabeth, then Lady Douro, as a lady of the bedchamber to the queen, but ill health forced her early resignation. She accompanied the marquess to India, where he was governor-general (1847–56), but died on a voyage home in 1853. Main residences: Dalhousie Castle, near Edinburgh; Colstoun House, near Haddington; Government House, Calcutta.

Lady Anna Maria Dawson

Born in 1784/5, she was the daughter of John Dawson, first earl of Portarlington, and (p.225) Lady Caroline Stuart. Youngest of four daughters, she never married, but found occupation as lady-in-waiting to the queen's mother, the duchess of Kent, which position she held until 1858. She remained in close contact with court circles until her death in 1866 at the age of 71. Main residences: Clarence House, St James's; Frogmore House, Berkshire.

Mary, Countess of Derby

Born Lady Mary West in 1824, she was the daughter of George West, fifth earl De La Warr and Lady Elizabeth Sackville. In 1847 she married James Gascoyne-Cecil (1791–1868), second marquess of Salisbury, as his second wife, and inherited her predecessor's mantle as one of the confidantes of the duke of Wellington. For twenty years she was the doyenne of the conservative circle based at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Salisbury died in 1868, and two years later she married Edward Stanley (1826–93), fifteenth earl of Derby. In this new situation, she was an important political figure, less as a hostess than as a significant point of contact between individuals and parties. She died in 1900. Main residences: Hatfield House, Hertfordshire; 20 Arlington Street, London; then Knowsley Hall, Prescot, Lancashire; 23 St James's Square, London; Holwood, Beckenham, Kent.

Lady Harriet Elliot

She was the youngest of the five daughters of Gilbert Elliot, second earl of Minto, and Mary Brydone. Lady John Russell was her elder sister, and it was under her auspices that she appeared in London society. She died, unmarried, at an early age, in 1855. Main residences: Minto House, Hawick, and Melgund, near Jedburgh, both in Roxburghshire.

Jane, Marchioness of Ely

Born Jane Hope-Vere in 1821, she was the daughter of James Hope-Vere of Craigie. In 1844 she married John Loftus (1814–57), viscount Loftus, who in the following year succeeded as third marquess of Ely. In 1851 she was appointed lady of the bedchamber to the queen, and remained in the household until her death. After both she and the queen were widowed, she spent much of her time at court, where she was the queen's favoured go-between, a position for which she was temperamentally unsuited. Her death in 1890 was much lamented by the queen. Main residences: Ely Lodge, near Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh; Loftus Hall, Co. Wexford; 9 Prince's Gate, Knightsbridge.

Harriet, Countess Granville

Born Lady Harriet Cavendish in 1785, she was the daughter of the fifth duke of Devonshire and Lady Georgiana Spencer. Brought up amid the notorious Devonshire House set, she belonged to the second generation of the Whig Cousinhood. In 1809 she married Lord Granville Leveson-Gower (1773–1846), who became successively viscount and earl Granville, and inherited the family produced by his liaison with her aunt, Lady Bessborough. She had a distinguished career as his ambassadress during his terms of office in Paris from 1827 to 1841; following his death she became (p.226) noted for her evangelical piety. She died in 1862. Her eldest son was one of the leaders of the Gastonia Liberal party, while one of her daughters was well known as a Catholic convert and novelist. Main residences: Embassy, Paris; Stone Park, Staffordshire; 13 Hereford Street, London.

Lady Charlotte Guest

Born in 1812, she was the daughter of General Albemarle Bertie, ninth earl of Lindsey, and his wife Charlotte Layard. Following her father's early death, her mother married the tutor of her children; to escape the social ignominy of this new relationship, in 1833 she married the Welsh ironmaster John Josiah Guest (1785–1852), who was created a baronet in 1838. Lady Charlotte, who was a noted scholar and published a well-regarded translation of the Mabinogion, took an increasing role in the management of the Dowlais ironworks, and, following her husband's death, took control. In 1855 she married her children's tutor, Charles Schreiber (1826–84), and gave up the works. She became a celebrated collector of porcelain, and a benefactor of the Victoria and Albert Museum. She died in 1895. Main residences: Dowlais, South Wales; Canford Manor, Dorset; 11 Upper Belgrave Street, London; Exeter House, Roehampton.

Elizabeth, Lady Holland

Born Elizabeth Vassall, probably in 1781, she was the daughter of Richard Vassall, who owned sugar plantations in Jamaica, and his American wife, Mary Clarke. In 1786 she married Sir Godfrey Webster, fourth baronet (1747–1800), of Battle Abbey, Sussex; they had five children. In 1794 she met Henry Fox, third baron Holland (1773–1840), in Naples; their first child was born in November. Webster divorced her in July 1797, and two days later she married Holland. Despite her social notoriety, Lady Holland ran the most brilliant salon in London, at Holland House, Kensington, which became a renowned political and literary centre. Whiggery was the creed of Holland House, and in turn, it formed a new generation of Whig politicians, most notably Lord John Russell. Imperious, querulous, and ambitious, Lady Holland dominated Whig society for a generation, until Holland's death in 1840, after which she could not bear to live at Holland House. Her own death followed in 1845. Main residences: Holland House, Kensington; then 33 South Street; 9 Great Stanhope Street.

Sarah Sophia, Countess of Jersey

Born Lady Sarah Fane in 1785, she was the daughter of John Fane, tenth earl of Westmorland, and Sarah Anne Child. She was the heir to the banking fortune of her grandfather, Robert Child, of Child's Bank, and to his Middlesex estate, Osterley Park. She was to take an active interest in the management of the bank. In 1804 she married George Villiers (1773–1859), viscount Villiers, who in the following year succeeded as fifth earl of Jersey. Lady Jersey was a keen politician and conduit of political information; the Whiggery of her early years (she was a prominent supporter of Queen Caroline during the divorce case) bent under the weight of family connections with (p.227) leading Tories in the 1820s and 1830s, principally the duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel. A patroness of the exclusive balls at Almack's, the fact that her own fortune came from banking was a hindrance to the marriage of her daughter to the Austrian Prince Esterhazy. Lady Jersey died in 1867. Main residences: Middleton Park, near Bicester, Oxfordshire; Osterley Park, Middlesex; 38 Berkeley Square, London.

Frances, Viscountess Jocelyn

Born Lady Frances Cowper in 1820, ostensibly the daughter of Peter Cowper, fifth earl Cowper, and his wife, Emily Lamb, her father was in fact probably her mother's lover and eventual second husband, Lord Palmerston. A celebrated beauty, she was expected to make a ‘great match’; she married Robert Jocelyn (1816–54), viscount Jocelyn and heir to the earldom of Roden in 1841. The contrast between the sternly religious Ulster family of the Rodens, who were notorious Orangemen, and the secular, worldly Cowpers and Palmerstons was marked. Fanny Jocelyn, who had been a bridesmaid at Victoria and Albert's wedding, became a lady of the bedchamber in 1841, an office she retained until 1867. Her husband, with whom she had an unsettled relationship, and who was a serving army officer, died dramatically from cholera in his mother-in-law's drawing-room in 1854. Blaming herself for the failure of their marriage, she virtually isolated herself after his death, devoting herself to her children and, from 1867, to the motherless children of her elder daughter. Tragedy continued to mar her life: of her six children, five died before her, from tuberculosis. Lady Jocelyn died in 1880. Main residence: Hertford Street, London.

Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry

Born Frances Anne Vane in 1800, daughter of Sir Henry Vane and Anne Catherine Macdonnell, countess of Antrim in her own right. She was heiress to the vast estates of her family, principally in Co. Durham. In 1819 she married, as his second wife, Charles Stewart, baron Stewart (1778–1854), who changed his name to Vane, and in 1822 succeeded his brother as third marquess of Londonderry. Lady Londonderry had a varied career, as ambassadress in Vienna, as a leading Tory hostess in London, and, especially after her husband's death, as the manager and director of the huge industrial and agricultural concerns of the family in England and Ireland. An early patron of Disraeli, she also directed the political interests of her family after 1854, and was a dominant voice in the politics of Co. Durham. She died in 1865. Main residences: Wynyard Park, Stockton-on-Tees; Seaham Hall, Sunderland; Mount Stewart, Co. Down; Garron Tower, Co. Antrim; Holdernesse House, Park Lane, London.

Cecil, Marchioness of Lothian

Born Lady Cecil Chetwynd Talbot in 1808, she was the daughter of Charles Talbot, second earl Talbot, and Frances Lambart. Brought up in a religious family, in 1831 she married John Kerr, seventh marquess of Lothian (1794–1841). When he died in 1841, she was left with seven children under 10 years old. Lady Lothian devoted herself to charitable and religious works; a correspondent of Henry Manning, she tied (p.228) her religious future to his, and joined the Roman Catholic Church, a move which imperilled her guardianship of her own children. Having been a benefactor of high Anglican churches, her patronage was redirected to the Catholic Church, and her funeral sermon after her death in Rome in 1877 was preached by the Jesuit Peter Gallwey. Main residences: Newbattle Abbey, near Dalkeith; Blickling Hall, Norfolk.

Sarah, Lady Lyttelton

Born Lady Sarah Spencer in 1787, she was the daughter of George Spencer, second earl Spencer, and Lady Lavinia Bingham. Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, was her aunt; her grandmother, the pious dowager Lady Spencer, was an important influence in her early years. In 1815 she married William Lyttelton, third baron Lyttelton (1782–1837), and a year after his death accepted the position of lady of the bedchamber to the queen. In 1842 she was appointed governess to the royal children, in which post she supervised and administered the royal nursery until her resignation at the end of 1850. The death of one of her daughters in that year called her back to family duties, which were multiplied by the death of her daughter-in-law, Mary, Lady Lyttelton, in 1857, leaving twelve children. Lady Lyttelton died in 1870. Main residences: Hagley Hall, Worcestershire; 12 Stratton Street, London.

Louise, Duchess of Manchester

Born Countess Louise von Alten in 1832, she was the daughter of Karl, Count von Alten of Hanover. In 1852 she married William Drogo Montagu, viscount Mandeville (1823–90), who in 1855 succeeded as seventh duke of Manchester. She rapidly became established as a member of the prince of Wales's Marlborough House set, despite which she was appointed mistress of the robes under Lord Derby in 1858. A staunch conservative, she soon acquired the Whig Spencer Cavendish, Lord Hartington (1833–1908), as her lover; his liberal colleagues considered her a baleful influence. The relationship continued for more than thirty years, tacitly condoned by society (if not by the queen, who disapproved). Manchester died in 1890, and the regulation two years later, his widow married her lover, who in the meantime had both become a unionist and succeeded as eighth duke of Devonshire. Stalwart supporters of the race-track and the card-table, echoes of the Devonshire House set of a century before were heard once more among the now ageing conservative aristocrats. The ‘Double Duchess’ died in 1911. Main residences: Kimbolton Castle, Huntingdonshire; 1 Great Stanhope Street, London; after 1892, Chatsworth and Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire; Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London.

Frances, Viscountess Milton

Born Lady Frances Douglas in 1819, she was the daughter of Sholto Douglas, seventeenth earl of Morton, and Frances Rose. In 1838 she married (having declined W. E. Gladstone) William Thomas Fitzwilliam, viscount Milton (1815–1902). Lady Milton and her husband, whom she called Tom, spent a considerable amount of time in the 1840s and 1850s managing the family's Irish estates at Coollattin Park, Co. Wicklow; (p.229) in the same period they produced twelve surviving children, seven sons and five daughters. In 1857 Milton's father died, and he succeeded as sixth earl Fitzwilliam and inherited the estates which included much industrial land in Yorkshire. Lady Fitzwilliam died in 1895. Main residences: Wentworth House, Rotherham, Yorkshire; Coollattin Park, Co. Wicklow; 4 Grosvenor Square, London.

Mary, Countess of Minto

Born Mary Brydone in 1786, the daughter of Patrick Brydone of Lemuel House,

Berwickshire, and Mary Robertson, in 1806 she married Gilbert Elliot (1782–1859), who in 1813 became viscount Melgund, and the following year succeeded his father as the second earl of Minto. She periodically felt inadequate to deal with the responsibilities of her social position, but was a conscientious patron of the poor on her estates. The Mintos were perennially financially embarrassed; in the 1850s they closed their Scottish house, and lived abroad for some time to retrench. Shaky finances contributed to their reputation for being ‘political jobbers’ (nepotistic seekers after office), not helped by the marriage of one of Lady Minto's daughters, Fanny, to the Liberal leader Lord John Russell. Lady Minto, who had been ill for some time, died in 1853. Main residences: Minto House, Hawick, Roxburghshire; Melgund, Jedburgh; 48 Eaton Square, London.

Harriet, Countess of Morley

Born Harriet Parker in 1809/10, the only daughter of Montagu Parker of Whiteway, Devon, and Harriet Newcombe of Starcross, she first married William Coryton of Pentillie Castle, Cornwall. Following his death, in 1842 she married her second cousin, Edmund Parker, second earl of Morley (1810–64). Tangentially connected to the court (her husband was a lord-in-waiting 1846–52), she took great pride in her only son's career at court and in Liberal politics. She survived her husband by more than thirty years, and concerned herself with her Devonshire farms and estates and their inhabitants. Lady Morley died in 1897. Main residences: Saltram House, Plympton, Devon; Whiteway, Devon.

Lady Dorothy Nevill

Born Lady Dorothy Walpole in 1826, she was the daughter of Horatio Walpole, third earl of Orford, and Mary Fawkener. She and her sister Rachel were considered ‘flighty’ or ‘fast’, and in order to prevent further damage to her reputation, in 1847 she was married off to Reginald Nevill (1807–78), a cousin some years her senior, and a connection of the marquess of Abergavenny. Lady Dorothy settled into her role as chatelain of Dangstein in Hampshire, where she developed a great interest in horticulture, corresponding with naturalists including Darwin and Hooker; there is, however, some doubt as to the paternity of some of her children. As a hostess in London, her parties had a cross-section of guests from the worlds of politics, science, literature, and the arts; Disraeli was one of her favourites, and she and her daughter Meresia were active members of the Primrose League. In her old age, Lady Dorothy wrote a series of volumes of recollections, bemoaning the declining standards of (p.230) social life. She died in 1913. Main residences: Dangstein, near Petersfield, Hampshire; 45 Charles Street, London.

Emily, Viscountess Palmerston

Born Emily Lamb in 1787, she was the daughter of Peniston Lamb, first viscount Melbourne, and Elizabeth Milbanke. The dominant influence of her youth was her socially ambitious mother, whose close friend was Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, and whose lovers were legion. Her brothers were Frederick (later Lord Beauvale), who became a diplomat, and William, who after years of ignominy (the notorious Lady Caroline Lamb was his wife), became prime minister in 1834. In 1805 she married Peter Leopold Cowper, fifth earl Cowper (1778–1837), a rather dull man, whom her brilliance dimmed still further. She was a leader of society, one of the lady patronesses of Almack's, and, in the later 1820s, the hostess of the Canningite faction, to which her most consistent lover, Henry Temple, third viscount Palmerston (1784–1865), belonged. In 1839, two years after her husband's death, Lady Cowper married Palmerston, and began a second career as the most influential and successful political hostess of her generation, a career which coincided with and helped to maintain the ‘Age of Palmerston’. She survived Palmerston by four years, dying in 1869. Main residences: Panshanger, Hertfordshire; after 1839, Broadlands, Hampshire; 5 Carlton House Terrace, London; then Cambridge House, Piccadilly, London; after 1865, 21 Park Lane, London.

Mary, Lady Ponsonby

Born in 1832, the daughter of John Crocker Bulteel and Lady Elizabeth Grey, she became a maid of honour to Queen Victoria in 1853. Having broken off an engagement to William Vernon Harcourt, in 1861 she married an equerry, (Sir) Henry Frederick Ponsonby, who subsequently became Victoria's private secretary. The couple were frequently separated by the demands of the private secretary's job, but they wrote to each other daily. A woman of strong intellect, she published articles on philosophy, and, despite a high church youth, was suspected of agnosticism in later life. More radical in politics than even her Liberal husband, Lady Ponsonby was a suspect figure at Victoria's increasingly conservative court, accused of exercising political influence over her husband. She died in 1916. Main residences: Norman Tower, Windsor Castle; Osborne Cottage, Isle of Wight.

Eveline, Countess of Portsmouth

Born Lady Eveline Herbert in 1834, she was the daughter of Henry Herbert, third earl of Carnarvon, and Henrietta Howard-Molyneux-Howard. In 1855 she married Isaac Wallop, viscount Lymington (1825–91), who in 1855 succeeded as fifth earl of Portsmouth. Their family of six sons and six daughters placed a considerable strain on the family fortune; Lady Portsmouth regularly recorded in her diary her fears that she was again pregnant. She died in 1906, having successfully launched her younger sons on careers, and having found husbands for all her daughters. Main residences: Hurstbourne Park, Whitchurch, Hampshire; Eggesford House, Wembworthy, Devon.

(p.231) Lady John Russell

Born Lady Frances Elliot in 1815, she was the second daughter of Gilbert Elliot, second earl of Minto, and Mary Brydone. After initially rejecting him, in 1841 she married the Whig leader, Lord John Russell (1792–1878). She was his second wife, and she inherited the responsibility for the two daughters of his first marriage, as well as her own three sons and a daughter. Intellectually interested in the issues of political liberalism, Lady John was constitutionally unsuited to the role of political wife. A poor manager, with uncertain health, she detested London and entertaining; worse still, the aspirations of her relatives were a political burden for Russell, while her capacity for saying the wrong thing earned her, probably unfairly, the reputation of hindering her husband's career. She was openly relieved on his retirement and removal to the House of Lords in 1861 as earl Russell. Her last years were spent bringing up the orphaned children of her eldest son, Lord Amberley, the younger of whom was the philosopher Bertrand Russell. Lady Russell died in 1898. Main residences: Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey; 31 Chesham Place, London.

Frances, Marchioness of Salisbury

Born Frances Gascoyne, in 1802, she was the daughter of Bamber Gascoyne and Fanny Price, and heiress to a considerable fortune. In 1821 she married James Brownlow Cecil, viscount Cranborne (1791–1868), who became second marquess of Salisbury in 1823; a condition of their marriage and his acquisition of her fortune was that he take the additional surname Gascoyne. A confidante of the duke of Wellington, she had five children and died from dropsy in 1839. Her widower remarried Lady Mary West, later Lady Derby. Main residences: Hatfield House, Hertfordshire; 20 Arlington Street, London.

Louisa, Countess of Sandwich

Born Lady Louisa Lowry-Corry in 1781, she was the daughter of Armar Lowry-Corry, first earl of Belmore, and his second wife, Lady Harriet Hobart. In 1804 she married George Montagu, viscount Hinchinbrooke (1773–1818), an active Tory politician, who in 1814 succeeded as sixth earl of Sandwich. The early death from consumption of her husband in 1818 left Lady Sandwich the effective head of her family until her only son came of age in 1832: she was active in promoting Tory interests in Huntingdonshire. The elder of her two daughters became Lady Harriet Baring (later Lady Ashburton), a noted wit, hostess, and friend of Thomas Carlyle; the other married Count Walewski, later French ambassador in London, but died young. Lady Sandwich, who spent many of her later years in Paris, died in 1862. Main residences: Hinchinbrooke House, Huntingdonshire; 46 Grosvenor Square, London.

Georgiana, Duchess of Somerset

Born Georgiana Sheridan in 1809, she was a granddaughter of the playwright and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Georgiana Sheridan and her sisters, later Caroline Norton and Helen, Lady Dufferin, were known for their beauty as ‘the three graces’. In 1830 she married Edward Seymour, Lord Seymour (1804–85), who (p.232) succeeded as twelfth duke of Somerset in 1855. In 1839, she took the part of the ‘Queen of Beauty’ at the Eglinton Tournament. As her husband frequently held political office, she took a great deal of responsibility for the management of their widespread Somerset estates. Her later years were marred by the tragic deaths of both her sons in the 1860s. She died in 1884, a year before her husband. Main residences: Bulstrode Park, near Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire; Maiden Bradley House, Wiltshire; Stover Lodge, Devon; Wimbledon Park, Surrey; 30 Grosvenor Gardens, London.

Lady Augusta Stanley

Born in 1822, a daughter of Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin (of ‘Marbles’ fame), and his second wife, Elizabeth Oswald, the impoverishment of her family led her to seek employment at court. She was lady-in-waiting to the duchess of Kent for many years, and, after the death of the duchess in 1861, was appointed resident woman of the bedchamber to the queen. Victoria became particularly dependent on Lady Augusta Bruce, who lived permanently at court, and was outraged by her decision in 1863 to marry A. P. Stanley (1815–81), the dean of Westminster. Lady Augusta became an important hostess for the broad church party, and a channel through which the queen consented to be drawn, in small degree, back into society after Albert's death. Lady Augusta died after suffering horribly for some time, in 1876. Main residences: Frogmore, Berkshire; The Deanery, Westminster.

Lady Constance Stanley

Born Lady Constance Villiers in 1840, she was the eldest of the three daughters of George Villiers, fourth earl of Clarendon, and his second wife, Lady Katherine Grimston. Brought up in an impeccably Whig household, her parents were surprised to find themselves connected with the equally impeccably conservative Stanley family, when she married in 1864 the hon. Frederick Stanley (1841–1908). Stanley was heir presumptive to his brother, the fifteenth earl of Derby, and succeeded him in 1893. Political and personal differences made her relationship with her brother- and sister-in-law somewhat fraught. She lived until 1922. Main residence: Witherslack Hall, Grange-over-Sands, Lancashire.

The Hon. Eleanor Stanley

Born in 1821, she was the daughter of Edward Stanley (of a cadet branch of the family of the earls of Derby) and Lady Mary Maitland. She was appointed a maid of honour to the queen in 1841, and remained at court until 1862. Her letters describing court life were published as Twenty Years at Court. She resigned in 1862 to marry her cousin, Charles Maitland (later Lord Lauderdale), but the marriage did not come off. In 1866 she married Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Long (1799–1881) of Bromley Hill, Kent, as his fourth wife. She brought up his two daughters, and, following his death, settled in Bryanston Square, London. She died in 1903.

Anne, Duchess of Sutherland

Born in 1829, she was the daughter and heiress of John Hay Mackenzie of Newhall and Cromartie and his wife Anne Gibson-Craig. She was married to the youthful (p.233) George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, marquess of Stafford (1828–92) in 1849; the marriage failed in later years, and her husband took up with a Mrs Blair, whom he married after Anne's death. Having inherited considerable estates in her own right, she was created by Palmerston countess of Cromartie in her own right in 1861. She was mistress of the robes to the queen in Gladstone's first ministry, after the resignation of her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Argyll, from ill health in 1870. She died in 1888 at Torquay. Main residences: Trentham Hall, Staffordshire; Dunrobin, near Golspie, Sutherland; Lilleshall, Newport, Shropshire; Stafford House, London.

Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland

Born Lady Harriet Howard in 1806, she was the daughter of the sixth earl of Carlisle and his wife Lady Georgiana Cavendish. A granddaughter of the celebrated Georgiana, duchess of Devonshire, she was at the centre of the Whig Cousinhood. In 1823 she married George Granville Leveson-Gower (1786–1861), who was then earl Gower; in January 1833 he became marquess of Stafford, and, following his father's death six months later, succeeded as second duke of Sutherland. A close friend of the queen, Harriet Sutherland served as mistress of the robes in every Whig administration from the accession of Victoria until their husbands' deaths in 1861. A devout high churchwoman, she was an energetic philanthropist, promoting the abolition of slavery. Her enthusiasm for both the unification of Italy (she entertained Garibaldi at Stafford House) and for her friend and confidante, W. E. Gladstone, found less favour in the queen's sight. She died in 1868. Main residences: Dunrobin, near Golspie, Sutherland; Trentham Hall, Staffordshire; Cliveden House, near Maidenhead, Berkshire; Stafford House, London.

Frances, Countess Waldegrave

Born Frances Braham in 1821, she was the daughter of John Braham, the famous operatic tenor, and his bourgeois wife Frances Bolton. Her mother had high social aspirations, and was delighted to marry Frances to John Waldegrave, the wild, illegitimate son of the sixth earl Waldegrave, in 1839. A heavy drinker, he was dead within the year. Having been convinced that it was not forbidden by scripture, she proceeded to marry his younger, but legitimate, brother, George, seventh earl Waldegrave in September 1840. The earl also died young, in 1846. Both brothers left their widow all they possessed. Her third husband, George Granville Harcourt (d. 1861) was a widower of 61; from him she acquired social respectability and connections with the old Whig aristocracy. During the 1850s she first blossomed as a hostess, the role in which she was to flourish until her death, entertaining for the Whig/Liberal party. Wooed by all manner of suitors, from the duke of Newcastle to the duc d'Aumale, her fourth marriage, to Chichester Fortescue in 1863, was one of great affection: he had been a devoted admirer for many years. She worked tirelessly to promote his career; his failure to achieve the front rank was his alone. Her death in 1879 devastated Lord Carlingford (as he had become in 1874). Main residences: Strawberry Hill, Twickenham; 7 Carlton Gardens, London; Dudbrook House, Essex; Chewton Priory, near Bath; Nuneham Park, Oxfordshire.

(p.234) Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford

Born in Paris in 1818, Louisa Stuart was the daughter of Lord Stuart de Rothesay and Lady Elizabeth Yorke. Her sister Charlotte became countess Canning. A pious, gentle, and artistic girl, her marriage in 1842 to the dissolute Henry de la Pore Beresford, third marquess of Waterford (1811–59), who was more familiar with the police courts and the race-track than the inside of a church, surprised many. But the marriage reformed her husband, who abandoned the uncontrolled friends of his youth, and became a reforming landlord on his Irish estates. Louisa Waterford lived mainly in Ireland, attempting to relieve some of the worst consequences of the Famine, until Waterford's death in a hunting accident in 1859. Thereafter she retired to Ford Castle in Northumberland, where she devoted herself to art: she was one of the most gifted amateurs of her time. She died in 1891. Main residences: Curraghmore, Port-law, Co. Waterford; Ford Castle, Cornhill, Northumberland.

Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington

Born Lady Elizabeth Hay in 1820, she was the daughter of George Hay, eighth marquess of Tweeddale, and Lady Susan Montagu. She left an unhappy childhood for an unhappy marriage in 1839 to Arthur Wellesley, marquess of Douro (1807–84), the eldest son of the great duke of Wellington. Fortunately, her father-in-law doted upon her, and she escaped from the miseries of her marriage into a career as a courtier. She was a lady of the bedchamber from 1843 until 1858, and mistress of the robes from 1861 to 1868, and again from 1874 to 1880. She survived her husband by twenty years, dying in 1904. Main residences: Stratfieldsaye, Hampshire; Apsley House, Piccadilly, London.

Elizabeth, Marchioness of Westminster

Born in 1797, Lady Elizabeth Leveson-Gower was the daughter of the marquess of Stafford (later first duke of Sutherland) and his wife Elizabeth Gordon, who was in her own right countess of Sutherland. In 1819 she married Richard Grosvenor, viscount Belgrave (1795–1869), who in 1831 became earl Grosvenor, and in 1845 second marquess of Westminster. Immense wealth and Grand Whiggery characterized her family. In 1879 she published an account of a yachting tour of Norway, Sweden, and Russia which she had made with her husband in 1827. She died at the age of 94 in 1891. Main residences: Eaton Hall, Chester; Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire; 33 Upper Grosvenor Street, London; Motcombe House, Dorset.

Priscilla, Countess of Westmorland

Born Lady Priscilla Wellesley-Pole in 1793, she was the daughter of the third earl of Mornington and Katherine Forbes. The marquess Wellesley and the first duke of Wellington were her uncles. In 1811 she married John Fane, Lord Burghersh (1784–1859), who in 1841 succeeded as eleventh earl of Westmorland. Her husband was a professional diplomat, and Lady Burghersh spent many years in Berlin and Vienna, which reinforced her political conservatism; she did not find it easy to settle back into British life after her husband was recalled. The Burghershes were patrons (p.235) of music, being among the founders of the Royal Academy of Music. Lady Westmorland was one of the confidantes of her uncle, the duke of Wellington. Three of her four sons predeceased her. She died in 1879. Main residences: Berlin; Vienna; Apethorpe, near Wansford, Northamptonshire; 16 Cavendish Square, London.

Caroline, Lady Wharncliffe

Born Lady Caroline Crichton in 1779, she was the daughter of John Crichton, first earl of Erne, and Lady Mary Hervey. In 1799 she married James Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie (1776–1845), a descendant of the prime minister Lord Bute, who in 1826 was created baron Wharncliffe. Her correspondence, particularly that with her son, James, reveals her to have been an active Tory, and an associate of Queen Adelaide. She died in 1856. Main residences: Wortley Hall, near Sheffield, Yorkshire; Wharncliffe House, Curzon Street, London.

Susan, Countess of Wharncliffe

The second daughter of Henry Lascelles, third earl of Harewood, and Lady Louisa Thynne, Lady Susan Lascelles was born in 1834. She married Edward Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie (1827–99) in 1855, just months before he succeeded as third baron Wharncliffe. A conservative and a sportsman, he was created earl of Wharncliffe by Disraeli in 1876. If her diary is an accurate reflection, Lady Wharncliffe's life, which revolved around her husband's shooting engagements, was largely devoted to her husband and household; her only child died in 1857. She lived until 1927. Main residences: Wortley Hall, near Sheffield, Yorkshire; Belmont Castle, Perthshire; Simonston, near York; Wharncliffe House, Curzon Street, London.