Author Topic: Interesting Women of the Nobility  (Read 90422 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2007, 04:17:34 PM »
Gladys by Boldini

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2007, 08:00:01 AM »
From an online bio on Consuelo Yznaga, Duchess of Manchester

La Bella Consuelo Yznaga

Consuelo Yznaga's life has been a mystery to many because so few people knew about her life as a bohemian Southern Belle who became an English duchess at the turn of the century.  She had been immortalized by American writer Edith Wharton as Conchita Closson, a very exotic young woman of Brazilian origin.  She also received props from Canadian writer Marina Fowler, who did an extensive biography on her in her 1994 book, "A Gilded Cage."  It's about time to give Consuelo her due.  This biography is about this remarkable lady from Louisiana who met a handsome English duke in New York and eventually married him.  Her life with him in England is not a fairy tale but she made a most out of it, for she became a famous society host in her own right.

Miss Maria Consuelo Yznaga del Valle was born in the plantation of Ravenswood, Louisiana in the year 1858, three years before the war between the states.  She's the third child of Antonio and Ellen Yznaga.  Her father immigrated from Cuba and have connections to several Spanish aristocratic houses,his mother having been born a del Valle.  Her mother hailed from New York.  Her mother came from an old New England family.  Antonio and Ellen had four children.  They made Ravenswood and New York City their homes. For all their connections, New York society refused to accept them as their own.  Ellen had been denied invitations to society events and that made her a little mad and eventually drove her and her family to Paris, where they were well received.  It was there Consuelo was introduced to Empress Eugenie de Montijo.  Eugenie, like Consuelo, was half Spanish, half American and very beautiful.  Eugenie presided over a brilliant court in Paris.  Having been wronged by her unfaithful husband, she sought solace in friends, clothing, and decoration.  Consuelo and Eugenie became lifelong friends. It wasn't going to last long, for a war was to put an end to such fun and Consuelo and her family returned to the states in 1870.

The Yznaga family retreated at the plantation of Ravenswood.  Ravenswood is not an elaborate plantion house you may see down south.  It's an unpretentious two-story wooden house along the banks of the Mississippi.  But her memories in Paris still stayed on her mind for years to come.  Around 1873, Miss Consuelo had made a scene at a ball held in a nearby town of Natchez. The Yznagas have made a point of taking their lovely daughters to a ball.  They wanted to improved their social standing among the affluent citizens of Natchez.  What had happened was that Consuela wanted to dress as she pleased, the women of the town didn't like what she wore and that the men at the ball were embarrased to be seen with her.  One of the male escorts tied a blue ribbon over her dress so that she could be presentable.

Several years later, the Yznagas traveled to Saratoga, New York to introduce their daughters to society as well as getting husbands for them.  It was there Consuelo met a dashing, but impoverished duke from England.  His name was George Victor Drogo Montagu, the future duke of Manchester.  They were married in a lavish ceremony at Grace Church in New York City in 1876.  Although the wedding made front page news at the New York Times, she and her family were dismissed as "nobodies" by the NYT editorial. She received no dowry for the wedding from her father.  The wedding has taken New York society by surprise.  Back then New York society was governed by the Knickerbockers, old families of Dutch and British stock who led quiet, orderly lives and eschew showiness of material wealth.  They most certainly frown upon lavish wedding ceremonies such as those of Consuelo and the future duke.

On the other side of the ocean, the future duke's family wasn't thrilled about the match between him and Consuelo.  He didn't think his daughter-in-law was good enough for his eldest son and heir. For one thing, he didn't receive a dowry from her family, for her family thought he would take care of her and that her father couldn't afford to siphon off his wealth at the time, although he gave his oldest daughter $50,000 dowry upon marrying Lord Lister-Kaye in 1882.  He wondered whether his son had married a red Indian woman, for her behavior didn't conform to the ideal of a proper young English lady for she sang country songs to the tune of the banjo, smoke cigars, behaving in a casual way as she would back home in Mississipi of her youth.  He also wondered whether she was truly wealthy for she didn't bring any dowry to the marriage.  Their marriage started off as being very loving until her husband resume his womanizing ways.  He prefer lower class women for they remind him of the various maids and nannies that worked at his family estate growing up.  He  especially visited bordellos and spent what little money his long-suffering wife had at the time of her marriage. 

Consuelo died in 1909 and is buried in Kimbolton along with her husband and children.

They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2007, 04:06:21 PM »
Consuelo's predecessor as Duchess of Manchester, the famous 'Double Duchess'

Louisa Frederica Augusta Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire nee Countess Louisa Frederica Augusta von Alten (15 June 1832-15 July 1911) was born at Hannover, the daughter of Karl Franz Viktor Graf von Alten, a Hanoverian nobleman. On the 22 July 1852 she was married at Hannover to Viscount Mandeville, eldest son of the 6th Duke of Manchester. He succeeded his father as 7th Duke of Manchester on the 8 August 1855, and Louisa became Duchess of Manchester. One of the most noted beauties of her time, she was appointed Mistress of the Robes to the Queen on the 26 February 1858, and remained in that office until the fall of Lord Derby's government on 11 June 1859. The Duke of Manchester died at Naples on the 22 March 1890, and on the 16 August 1892 the sixty-year-old Dowager Duchess of Manchester married the 8th Duke of Devonshire, who had been in love with her for years. She thereby became Duchess of Devonshire; sometimes she is given the nickname "The Double Duchess". Widowed for the second time on the 24 March 1908, she died at Esher Park in Surrey on the 15 July 1911.

It was Louisa who hosted the famous Devonshire House Ball in 1897 that was attended by (amongst others) the Prince & Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of York, the Duke & Duchess of Connaught, Prince Alfred of Coburg, Princess Victoria, Princess Maud & Prince Charles of Denmark and the Duke & Duchess of Fife.

One of Louisa's daughters, Lady Mary Forster, married the 12th Duke of Hamilton.
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2007, 12:00:40 PM »
At the time that Louise Von Alten received her appointment as Mistress of the Robes, this was still a political appointment, despite QV's unhappiness that this should be the case.

Initially Louise made a very favourable impression upon the Queen and her family, and thus when Louise had to resign her position, due to the change of government, it was with some regret on the part of QV.

However, QV came to revise her opinion of Louise, due to her long-term liaison with the Marquess of Hartington ('Harty-Tarty'), whilst still married to her husband the Duke of Manchester, whom Louise always referred to by his title at the time of their marriage, 'Mandeville'.  This disapproval was not mitigated by Louise's eventual marriage with Hartington after the death of Manchester. 

Another factor that incurred the Queen's displeasure was Louise's intimacy with Bertie and the Marlborough House set.  Louise was very much a leader in both politics and society and, along with Theresa, Marchioness of Londonderry, the leading political hostess of the late 19th century.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2007, 12:21:26 PM »
Anita Leslie's book The Marlborough House Set has some stories in it about Louisa.

Louisa at her Devonshire House Ball



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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2007, 10:45:49 PM »
Theresa 'Nellie', Marchioness of Londonderry (1856-1919)

by Sargent



Theresa was the eldest daughter of 19th Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1875 she married the 6th Marquess of Londonderry, later Viceroy of Ireland from 1886-1889.

At the Devonshire House ball in 1897 wearing some of the famous Londonderry jewels, including the renowned Londonderry tiara (which she referred to as a 'fender bender').  Lady Londonderry, in fact, spent the better half of the Coronation of Edward VII trying to get her family heirlooms out of the facilities at Westminster Abbey, where she had dropped them.





Harry Cust had an affair with Theresa Marchioness of Londonderry - a woman built like a Chieftain tank in loose covers...When the Marquis of Londonderry found out about his wife's behaviour he refused to speak to her. They were married but silent for 43 years.

"The most prominent unionist woman in the early twentieth century was Theresa, Marchioness of Londonderry. During the Third Home Rule Crisis and its aftermath, Lady Londonderry worked tirelessly against Irish self-government. She had been a celebrated political hostess since her husband's tenure as Irish Viceroy in the late nineteenth century. Now, in this perilous time for unionism, she employed her family and political connections to spread Ulster's message to England. She also helped to facilitate the formation of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council (UWUC), an anti-home rule organization, in 1911. She served as UWUC president from 1912 to 1919, directing loyalist women through Ulster Day, the Government of Ireland Bill, and the difficult years of World War I. Driven by her commitment to unionism above all else, Lady Londonderry demanded like dedication from her colleagues, and called for the subordination of outside interests, including the female franchise. She believed that adherence to this ideal was essential to the movement's success. "
« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 11:07:01 PM by grandduchessella »
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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2007, 10:54:13 PM »


The most recent account of Theresa, Lady Londonderry's career is to be found in H. Montgomery Hyde's The Londonderrys: A Family Portrait (London, 1979); the following extracts are taken from pp 63-69, 72-8, 83-5, 92, 94, 111-14, and 136-7.

'Lady Theresa Susey Helen Chetwynd Talbot, who married the 6th Marquess of Londonderry when he was Lord Castlereagh, was born on 6 June 1856 at Ingestre, the Talbot family seat in Staffordshire. Her father, then Viscount Ingestre, MP, succeeded his father as 19th Earl of Shrewsbury and 4th Earl Talbot in 1868. The Talbots were among the oldest families in the country, an ancestor, Richard de Talbot, being mentioned in Domesday Book, while the Earldom of Shrewsbury, dating as it did from 1442, ... made Theresa's father the Premier Earl of England. ...

Lady Theresa Chetwynd Talbot and Lord Castlereagh were engaged to be married in the summer of 1875. The match was arranged in the sense that their respective families approved of it; ... it is doubtful whether they were deeply in love with each other. ... [Following their marriage in October 1875], the Castlereaghs took Kirby Hall at Bedale in Yorkshire as a country house and also a London house at 76 Eaton Place. Their first child, a girl called Helen Mary Theresa, but always known in the family as "Birdie", was born on 8 September 1876 ... . On 13 May 1878 the Castlereaghs had a son, Charles Stewart Henry, who was born in Eaton Place. And, in the same month, Lord Castlereagh was returned after two expensive and unsuccessful attempts to get into parliament, the first for Durham in 1874 and the second for Montgomery in 1877, as Conservative MP for Co. Down in a by-election in which he defeated his Liberal opponent by a large majority.

Shortly afterwards, both being keen riders to hounds, the Castlereaghs acquired a house called The Hall at Langham, near Oakham, in the Cottesmore country. Here their second son and last child, Charles Stewart Reginald, was born on 4 December 1879. It was rumoured at the time, and it has been generally acknowledged since in the family, that Reginald's father was not Lord Castlereagh, ... but his wife's brother-in-law, Lord Helmsley [who died young in 1881]. ...

[Lord Castlereagh's succession to the Marquessate of Londonderry in 1884] naturally involved his taking his place in the Upper House, where he sat as Earl Vane, although he was customarily referred to by the superior title of his Irish peerage. Then, just as his father had added the surname Tempest to that of Vane, so the 6th Marquess by Royal Licence dated 3 August 1885 further added the original name of Stewart to that of Vane-Tempest for himself and his children, thus becoming Vane-Tempest-Stewart, although his brothers remained Vane-Tempest. ...

He was a wealthy man of property [even] by the standards of his times ..., and he and Theresa were particular favourites of the Prince and Princess of Wales, later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, whom they entertained in state [at their three country houses] no less than eight times between 1890 and 1903, six at Wynard, once at Machynlleth and once at Mount Stewart, not to mention sundry banquets and other parties at Londonderry House [Park Lane]. By all accounts the 6th Marquess was friendly, simple and unaffected, with a fine sense of public duty, and with none of his wife's [celebrated] hauteur. ...

"Lady Londonderry was a wonderful woman, with her masculine brain and warm feminine temperament", wrote ... Lady Fingall. "The best and staunchest friend in the world, she would back you up through thick and thin. In love with Love, she was deeply interested in the love affairs of her friends, and very disappointed if they did not take advantage of the opportunities she put in their way. She used to say of herself: 'I am a Pirate. All is fair in Love and War', and woe betide any one who crossed her in either of these." At her house parties at Wynard the bedrooms were conveniently allocated in the interests of her female friends and their lovers. She is easily recognisable as "Lady Roehampton" in Vita Sackville-West's novel The Edwardians. ...

Although she was the leading Tory political hostess of her day, Theresa Londonderry had friends among the Liberals, particularly [Sir William] Harcourt who often came to the house to discuss literature as well as politics; Theresa besides being widely read had literary pretensions of her own which were to find expression in an excellent short book on her husband's [collateral] ancestor the great Castlereagh, an abbreviated version of which had originally appeared in the Anglo-Saxon Review under the editorship of Lady Randolph Churchill. ...' Against this background, it is not surprising to find a great many important figures in literature, the arts, the army, the navy, the law and the church, and nearly every important figure in politics (particularly Tory politics) and High Society, of the period 1890-1919 among Theresa, Lady Londonderry's correspondents.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 11:08:59 PM by grandduchessella »
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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2007, 10:55:31 PM »
'... On 25 July 1886, Lord Salisbury became Conservative Prime Minister for the second time, following the rejection of Gladstone's Home Rule Bill for Ireland by the House of Commons in the previous month. ... Among the more important appointments which the new Prime Minister had to make was that of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, ... [and he] offered the post to the thirty-four-year-old Marquess of Londonderry, ... [who] accepted it ... . The Lord Lieutenant received a salary of œ12,000 a year, on which it was impossible for a Viceroy without private means to live in view of the levées, receptions, garden parties, lunches and dinners which he had to give. ... Londonderry with his amply private means was an ideal choice. He also created a precedent by being the first member of an Irish family to hold the office: hitherto it had been held by an English or Scottish peer. On the other hand, his Castlereagh title was not likely to endear him to the Nationalists, who could be expected to regard a descendant of "Bloody" Castlereagh, the hated architect of the Act of Union, with the reverse of affection. ...

... Londonderry performed all the duties of his office punctually and fairly, but with a Cabinet Minister [Sir Michael Hicks-Beach] as Chief Secretary he felt that it was his duty, apart from his ceremonial obligations, to leave the actual government of the country to Hicks Beach and not to allow any possible divergence of political view to become apparent. ... However, it was not long before the Lord Lieutenant found himself at odds with the Chief Secretary, who was suspected of favouring the Nationalists at the expense of the landlords, not least because Londonderry was himself a considerable landlord in Co. Down. ...

[When Hicks-Beach had to resign, because of] acute eye trouble, the Prime Minister appointed as successor ... his nephew, thirty-eight-year-old Arthur James Balfour, the author of several works on philosophy, whose delicate appearance had earned him the nickname of the "Tiger Lily" among his fellow MPs at Westminster. ... [His Crimes] Act, which became law in July 1887, ... [and] the rigour with which the new law was enforced, showed Balfour's determination to combat political crimes; and under its operation about thirty Nationalist MPs were sent to prison. The new Chief Secretary's role soon resulted in him being generally known to the Nationalist camp as "Bloody Balfour" ... .

At the time he accepted the appointment of Viceroy, Londonderry had made it clear to the Prime Minister that, on account of the needs of a growing family and his interests as a landlord and colliery owner, he did not wish to serve beyond three years. Salisbury agreed and accepted Londonderry's resignation three years to a month from the date of his acceptance. Meanwhile his devotion to duty had been recognised by his being created a Knight of the Garter in 1888. ...

Lady Fingall ... [wrote of Londonderry's term of office as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland] that, while Londonderry was not an exceptionally clever man, he always "did the right thing by instinct". As for Theresa ... "Hers was a most dominant personality. She had the proudest face I have ever seen, with a short upper lip and a beautifully shaped determined chin". This opinion is certainly borne out by contemporary photographs, as well as by her portrait in middle age painted by John [Singer] Sargent. ...  

In 1893, Londonderry was prominent in opposing Gladstone's Second Home Rule Bill, which was rejected by the House of Lords, and he presided over the great meeting at which the political alliance between the Conservatives and the Liberal-Unionists led by Joseph Chamberlain was formally ratified. When the Conservatives returned to power two years later, Lord Salisbury offered Londonderry the post of Lord Privy Seal. This was declined, since Londonderry wished for an office with departmental responsibilities. In 1900 he entered the government as Postmaster-General, and in 1902 he joined the Cabinet as first President of the Board of Education, although he felt diffident about his capacity for the post. ... He did not give up Education when he became Lord President of the Council, but contrived to combine both posts ... . Theresa Londonderry took a keen interest in her husband's departmental work, particularly when it affected Co. Durham ... .

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2007, 10:55:46 PM »
[In 1899, she suffered a heavy personal loss, about which there is much documentation in her papers, in the death of her second son and third child, Lord Reginald]. "Reggie" ... had been a sickly child, afflicted with a painful hip disease, so that it was evident from an early age that he would never be able to walk naturally ... . [Then he] was stricken by another malady, tuberculosis. In 1897, a London specialist ... recommended a voyage to a milder climate. Consequently the end of the year found him in Tenerife, which in those days was regarded, quite wrongly, as most suitable for consumptives. But Reggie's health did not improve, and ... he was despatched to the Kimberley Sanatorium where he spent the greater part of a year, after which he stayed with [Cecil] Rhodes as his guest ... . In May 1899 his mother journeyed out to South Africa to bring him home. On their return to England they went to Seaham Hall [yet another Londonderry seat, in Co. Durham], since the mistaken view still prevailed that sea air was beneficial to consumptives. ... [Reggie died there in October 1899.]

During the Home Rule struggle [of 1912-1914] Theresa naturally spent more time than usual at Mount Stewart - normally a few days at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun were all she and her husband managed. ... By September 1913, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before the [Home Rule] Bill became law. Accordingly 500 delegates of the Ulster Unionist Council met in the Ulster Hall in Belfast to approve the setting up of an Ulster Provisional Government, as soon as the Bill reached the statute book. ... The Council, with Londonderry in the chair, proceeded to delegate its powers to a Provisional Government consisting of seventy-seven members, with an executive "Commission of Five", of whom [Sir Edward] Carson was Chairman.

[The Home Rule Bill] was due to become law in September 1914, but the outbreak of the Great War put it into cold storage for the duration. ... Most of the [Ulster] Volunteers now flocked to join the colours; ... [the Londonderry's elder son, Charles, Lord] Castlereagh, for instance, went off to France with the British Expeditionary Force. Theresa and her daughter-in-law [Edith, Lady Castlereagh] also plunged themselves into war work. ... Things did not go well for Lord Londonderry during the following months. He grew very despondent on account of the war and the turn events had taken in Ulster. Also the fact that his only son and heir had gone off to the front preyed on his mind and he was convinced that he would not return. In January 1915, ... he caught influenza which quickly turned to pneumonia ... .

Charles, 6th Marquess of Londonderry, died on 8 February 1915 at Wynyard aged sixty-two and was buried three days later in the family vault at Long Newton. Carson, who went to the funeral, subsequently described him as "a great leader, a great and devoted public servant, a great patriot, a great gentleman, and above all the greatest of friends". These words were echoed by his widow. "I don't think there was anyone more beloved or thought more of in the two counties in which he lived", she wrote afterwards. ... 

When the time came for her to leave Wynyard, Theresa rented Lumley Castle, near Chester-le-Street in the same county, from Lord Scarbrough, moving in just before Christmas, which she spent there alone, since she found that "when one is terribly unhappy it is much better". ... Unfortunately, she was obsessed with the idea that she had become extremely poor, whereas her husband had left her legacies in his will totalling £100,000. ... "You are under the impression you are a pauper", ... [her son, the new Marquess of Londonderry] wrote to her on 23 April 1915; "I wish I could put the idea out of your mind. ..."

[Theresa, Lady Londonderry died on 15 March 1919.] "A great figure gone, a real true friend", wrote Colonel Repington when he heard the news. "A grande dame of a period which is passing; one of the most striking and dominating feminine personalities of our time, terrifying to some, but endeared to many friends by her notable and excellent qualities. She was unsurpassed as a hostess, clear-headed, witty, and large-hearted, with unrivalled experience of men and things social and political, and with a most retentive memory and immense vivacity and joie de vivre. ..." She was sixty-two, the same age as her husband when he died ...'. 


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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2007, 10:57:09 PM »
Theresa and her son following the coffin of her husband

http://picture.stockton.gov.uk/enlarge.aspx?Image=615s829.jpg
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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2007, 08:12:24 AM »
I'm pretty sure that I have read that Theresa Londonderry shared the attentions of Harry Cust with Gladys, Lady de Grey, later Marchioness of Ripon, another intimate of the Marlborough House set and a woman noted for her style and intellect.

It would appear that this rivalry was bitter and something occurred whereby the news of Theresa's involvement with Cust came to the ears of her husband, thus causing the marital rift. It would seem that the Marquess was not quite as obliging as other members of this social set when it came to extre-marital affairs and from that day never spoke to his wife again........

Theresa naturally was the very proud possessor of an amazing jewellery collection; the tiara that fell down the pan at the Coronation of Edward VII had been made from the Down Diamonds, a collection of stones that had come from Viscount Castlereagh and had been remodelled into a stunning parure by Garrards in 1854, commissioned by the famous Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry (the recipient of the beautiful Siberian amethysts from Alexander I).

Coupled with this lovely parure , Theresa was also in possession of the famous 'Gouttes de perles' suite, some of which she sometimes wore mounted on top of her diamond tiara (most notably when attired as Maria Theresa at the Devonshire House Ball).  These were bought in Vienna in 1821, again by Frances Anne, on the birth of her first son, from the Countess de Fries, for the astronomical sum of £10,000, which really was a huge amount of money at that time.
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'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2007, 09:42:03 AM »
In addition to this, the Londonderry collection was enhanced by the Antrim rubies and emeralds that Frances Anne had inherited from her mother, the Countess of Antrim.

Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry, who very much followed in the tradition of her mother-in-law and Frances Anne in being an important political and society hostess in the 1920's and 30's wrote this of Theresa's mishap with some of the Antrim emeralds:

'The jewels belonging to the Antrim family, which became the property of Frances Anne, included a very beautiful parure of diamonds and emeralds of magnificent colour and size.  They formed a tiara or could be worn across a dress as they really are too large for a necklace.  Theresa, Lady Londonderry, my mother-in-law, lost the most important brooch which belonged to this set.  It was a very large square emerald with large diamond leaves like those of an acanthus plant.

She wore it one evening when going to a reception at Sunderland House and drove there in her brougham.  It was only just around the corner from Londonderry House at the junction of Curzon and Hertford Street.  She was not feeling very well at the time and went straight up the stairs and shook hands with the Duchess of Marlborough, leaving a very short while afterwards.  On the way downstairs she put up her hand and found the brooch missing.  although a great search was made for it, it was never seen again.  From the size of the ornament it could not have fallen down into a chink and the surmise is that it must have been picked up by one of the guests!'

Quite a mishap!!!
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2007, 11:21:31 AM »
From 'Affair of State' by Henry Vane:

" A major source of influence was that the Devonshires were among the three or four hosts who entertained the Prince and Princess of Wales (from 1901 the King and Queen) year after year.  Of the other leading hostesses the closest to the King was Lady Warwick, folowed perhaps by the willowy and artistic Lady de Grey, whose husband was ubiquitous in country-house society as one of the legendary shots of the peiod.  As a strictly political hostess Louise's main rival was Theresa Marchioness of Londonderry.  Her husband had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1886-9, and although he did not reach the Cabinet until 1900, next to Lord Salisbury himself, the most important peer in the Tory ranks.  Theresa Londonderry was thus the leader of Tory society, while Louise Devonshire took her place at the head of the Whig camp.  If there was any aptness in this it was in the freer manners that marked the Devonshire House circle, in keeping with the older Whig tradition.  Lady Fingall identifies these two ladies as the dictators of the social scene, saying: 'If you were Lady Londonderry's friend or the Duchess of Devonshire's, no one would dare to say a word against you.  It was an equally bad thing to be the enemy of either.'

Lady Londonderry's social regime was distinguished by its hauteur - Sargent indulged his gift for character in her ineffably arrogant portrait - and she was known for the pomp with which she received her parades of guests at the top of the staircase of Londonderry House.  She was a strong partisan, described by E.F.Benson as 'a highwaywoman in a tiara', and her violent influence is said to have been behind some of the Tory political imprudences of the coming twenty years.  Margot Asquith, who detested her, once angled for a judgement on this domineering figure, 'whose arrogance and vulgarity hasd annoyed us all', and gave Louise Devonshire's reply;'I dislike her too much to be a good judge of her.'  This was an example of the restraint that Margot noted when she described Louise as 'the last great political lady in London society as I have known it.  The secret of her power lay not only in her position - many people are rich and grand, gay and clever and live in big houses - but in her elasticity, her careful criticisms, her sense of justice and discretion.  She not only kept her own but other people's secrets; and she added to considerable effrontery asnd intrepid courage, real kindness of heart....She was powerful enough to entertain both the great political parties which few can do.'  Elsewhere she remarks: 'Louise Devonshire was a woman whose social ascendancy eclipsed that of anyone that I have ver seen or heard of in London society...She had distinguished children, an intimate knowledge of men and affairs, amazing courage, a perfect profile, and unrivalled personality.  She was intimate with every King, Courtier, Commoner, and Prime Minister and there was no one in London who did not covet her invitations.' "
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Martyn

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2007, 07:18:40 AM »
I've found some information about Louise's relationship with QV and the Court and as to why it all went sour for her.......From 'An Affiar of State' by Henry Vane:

" Louise's relations witht he Court seemed rosy for some years.  Princess Alice showed her special affection ('I am glad to write to you dear Louise', runs one of her letters with rare informaility); The Queen wrote to her cordially in October 1861, and the royal family, although devastated by the recent death of Prince Albert, were delighted when she spent the day at Windsor the following spring.  Then came the marriage of the Prince of Wales to the beautiful Princess Alexandra of Denmark, due to be held at Windsor in March 1863 with a glittering attendance.  It was a thunderbolt when Louise Manchester was not invited to the wedding - and without a word of explanation.  Lord Clarendon, her busy correspondent, was baffled by the slight, and reported the equal astonishment of the other guests.  A stiff message came from Lord Granville that the Queen 'regrets your not having been at the marriage'.

What had happened was that Queen Victoria had got wind of the compact by which Lord Derby had made Louise Mistress of the Robes, and she was not amused at her Household appointments being awarded in that fashion.  From now on she was to observe Louise's 'fast' ways with cold disapproval, and the royal Court was one secene where Louise could abandon her ambitions, even when Derby returned for his last term of office in 1866."

Louise had apparently, over dinner with Lord Derby in the mid 1850's, and as they joked over a glass of champagne, made the future Prime MInister promise that he would make her Mistress of the Robes next time that he returned to office, which involved a written promise, which also suggests that there was more than champagne involved here.  Derby was not immune to Louise's charms and their flirtatious relationship bore fruit for Louise in February 1858, when she achieved her goal.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Martyn

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Re: Interesting Women of the Nobility
« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2007, 12:21:40 PM »
Consuelo Yznaga, Duchess of Manchester's tiara, made by Cartier in 1903.  A lightly graduated frieze of conventionalised flaming hearts mounted in gold and silver.

                                                                                           

Consuelo's marriage was not without its difficulties, one of which seemed to be the shortage of cash.  In spite of this, Consuelo managed to have this tiara made in 1903 - what self-respecting Edwardian woman of the haut ton could afford to do without a diamond tiara? - and it is quite a large and impressive piece, perfectly designed to sit atop Consuelo's favoured Pompadour hairstyle. 

However, Cartier only made the frame and mounted the stones, which apparently were supplied by the Duchess herself, probably from other pieces in her collection.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV