Author Topic: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.  (Read 77275 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2009, 12:34:41 AM »
Ooops sorry I have just noted I said 'Capability' Brown designed the park at Woburn....sorry I wasn't concentrating as Humphrey Repton was responsible for the landscaping at Woburn! Also in one post I referred to the 10th Duke as Hastings, sorry his name was actually Sackville as written elsewhere! I aslo named the 11th Duke and Duchess' son as Herbrand when he was called Hastings I hope I haven't confused anyone?!?! Also all 'Hebrand' should read Herbrand!

Perhaps it would easier be to just do a list:-

Hastings, 9th Duke of Bedford
Sackville, 10th Duke
Herbrand, 11th Duke
Hastings, 12th Duke

I should really write up posts in 'word' first and then paste after proof reading rather than reel them off here online!

« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 01:05:09 AM by Toots »

Offline Vecchiolarry

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 759
    • View Profile
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2009, 08:59:37 AM »
Hi Alix,

OMG, poor Mary!!  Another Amelia Earhardt - mystery and all...
I'm glad she found something(s) to do.  Can't imagine sitting around all day with nothing to do (all those servants) would appeal to anyone.  She sounds like a fulfilled person.
I smilingly wonder if she'd lived, would she have been a bomber pilot in WWII???!!!



  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2009, 04:17:44 PM »
The 11th Duke of Bedford and Duchess Mary continued:-

Knowing Mary, I should imagine, even if the RAF had declined her because of her age by 1939, she would have probably bought herself a bomber and a few others in order to establish the 'Beford Bombers.'!!

Mary really was the most amazing woman and certainly one of the most interesting Duchesses of her day! Herbrand had not really approved of her nursing and 'cutting people open', and he really disaproved of her flying, and when all opposition failed to dissuade Mary from continuing her hobby, he resorted to cutting out articles about air disasters and leaving them on her desk! It made no difference. Only her bird watching seems to have had her husband's tacit approval from the start. Although Herbrand missed her when she went off on an expedition, he eventually gave her a beautiful replacement for the first yacht she had use of, in the form of an elegant clipper bowed single stack vessel. Their marriage was strengthened by respect and loyalty. In the case of Mary, it cost her contact for two decades with her only child, and she met her grandson for the first time when he was sixteen.

It is probably best to think of the Bedfords as they regarded themselves, which according to one commentator was as 'being rather grander than God.'

The future 12th Duke of Bedford's pacifism during the Great War was manifested due to his belief that Christians should not fight one another! This man whose mother seemed ever more preoccupied with her pet projects during his childhood, and whose father, though affectionate in his own way had done little to broaden his heir's horizons, had reached maturity during the unrest that saw the Lords being forced to accept the demands of the elected Commons. Death duties against estates were becoming a norm and were increasing at an alarming rate with each budget. in fact the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time seemed determined to attack the Dukes of the realm in particular. Duke Hebrand was unusual amongst his creed, when he spoke presciently of adding members to the Lords, not through hereditary right but through nomination and merit. Yet his son's marriage to one Louisa Crommelin Whitwell was hardly auspicious to either her new in-laws or herself. She apparently confessed years later to her son Ian, that she had prayed at one time that her future husband would propose to her sister, rather than herself! But a pushy, snobbish mother, no doubt fueled to rhapsodies by the social glories of having a daughter as future Duchess of Bedford is believed to have made sure Louisa accepted Tavistock's proposal!

 Poor Louisa Tavistock never even visited Woburn Abbey, instead she went to Endsleigh, the Bedford house above the River Tamar in Devonshire to meet her in laws. According to Ian, 13th Duke, his father's realtionship with his father would be repeated between himself and his father. It was the start of a tradition that would cross three generations in time.

Duke Herbrand was initially estranged from his son, Tavistock, after the latter became a conscientious objector and the breach became so wide, that Tavistock's elder son did not realize he was  heir assumptive to the Dukedom of Bedford until he was sixteen! Up until 1933, the Tavistocks never mentioned the 'family' and the future 13th Duke was kept at home and educated privately, which probably went some way to protect him from ragging at a public school like Eton or Harrow, where his expectations would no doubt have been mentioned! It is believed that Ian was educated privately as his father had loathed Eton, although perhaps Tavistock may also have realized, for all his zealous religious faith, that his son would no doubt have endure numerous trials at such a school because of his father's active pacifism. It was probably one of the few occasions, the future Duke Hastings ever did anything that may be construed as remotely paternal and protective for his son. It is also pertinent to know that when Tavistock married he came into a settlement from which he drew an income of about 15,000 pounds a year, a type of trust that even his father had not been able to tamper with. This gave Tavistock complete independence from his father and he never had to seek support or assistance, which probably suited both in their hostile regard for one another.

By today's standards the relationship between the 11th Duke and his heir would be regarded as glaringly dysfunctional and in turn the 12th Duke would repeat this with his own son and heir. In 1933 Tavistock received a letter from his son asking him if it was true that the 11th Duke of Bedford was his grand father. When this revelation was confirmed, Ian naturally wanted to meet Herbrand and Mary and arrangements for a luncheon at Woburn were arranged. Thereafter Ian saw his grandparents about three times a year, and in part he was responsible for bringing about a thaw in relations. The very public break up of Tavistock's marriage to Louisa Whitwell also went some way to bring about this rapprochement between Duke Herbrand and his heir, although relations remained highly strained.   

« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 04:47:04 PM by Toots »


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2009, 06:09:06 PM »
The 8th Duke of Manchester 1853 - 1892

Here is a bit of 'juicy' blurb that may appeal to some who enjoy history full of scandalous and larger than life characters. The 8th, 9th and 12th Dukes of Manchester were the tabloid press' dream 'disgraces' of their day!

Perhaps the most notorious man to wear a ducal coronet during the latter half of Queen Victoria's reign was George Victor Montagu, 8th Duke of Manchester, otherwise known by a diminutive of the title Lord Kimbolton, namely 'Kim', which he bore by courtesy during the lifetime of his grandfather.

This man, who is hardly worthy of the name of 'gentleman' is best remembered for his flagrant affair with a music hall star, being constantly persued by a horde of creditors and eventually bringing complete disgrace upon himself and his house by being declared bankrupt, and probably most all for marrying the 'luscious' and fascinating Consuelo Yznaga.

I can not help but find Kim intriguing! By ducal standards, the Manchesters were not in the top league of landed earners like the Westminsters, Buccleuchs or Bedfords nor were their resources anywhere near comparable to those of their Graces of Devonshires, Northumberlands, Portlands, Clevelands or Hamiltons for example. Instead their patrominy, neatly divided between two estates, Kimbolton in Huntingdonshire and Tandragee in County Armagh provided the ducal coffers with an annual income of about 40,000 pounds a year during the heady agricultural boom that ended in 1880. Thus the Manchesters were on a par with Dukes such as those of Grafton, Somerset, Marlborough, Leeds and Atholl, whhich barring the Leeds Dukedom endure to this day and still retain some portion of the acres they owned in 1880 around the mansions they still regard now as then, as their homes. But not the Manchesters, they no longer own either of their estates. One is now a school and the other serves as the headquarters of a potato crisp manufacturing company. Kim Manchester did much to bring about the catastrophic dispersal of his patrimony. He may not have sold any acres or auctioned off the superb collection of old masters that once graced the interiors of the elegantly appointed castle rebuilt for his predecessor, the 1st Duke, by Sir John Vanburgh, but it is his actions which can be seen as a principal contributing factor in the ensuing decline in the Manchester fortunes that left Kim's grandson the 10th Duke, all but landless in his native land!

Kim's great great grandson, the present Duke lives in the USA and is presently married to a native of Laguna Beach, California. How Alexander Manchester came to be in the US, whilst his younger brother Lord Kimble resides in Australia is bound up in the life stories not only the 8th Duke of Manchester, but those of his successors. This terminal decline continued with his only son the 9th Duke who was the first and only Duke of the realm to date,  who has endured a stay at her Majesty's pleasure at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. This tale of declasse disgrace continued toward the present via a vast cattle ranch in Kenya with a house filled with a portion of the family art collection and antiques shipped out from Kimbolton Castle and thus saved from sale by the 10th Duke, onward via a crocodile farm in Australia and a spell in a Florida State Penitentiary by the 12th Duke, who ran the laundry during his stay!

I bet some will love this family for its sheer absurdity and utter fall from grace! I will add more if anyone likes?



« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 06:28:42 PM by Toots »

Offline Vecchiolarry

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 759
    • View Profile
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2009, 06:59:29 PM »

So, Consuelo's money didn't stop the flow towards poverty & ruin...
I've heard of her as one of the first "Dollar Duchesses" or "Dollar Princesses"...
I think Consuelo Vanderbilt was named after her and then unfortunately followed in her footsteps.  I'm currently reading Greg King's book on the Gilded Age but haven't gotten to the part about the "selling of all those daughters to the princes" yet...  What price a tiara???



  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2009, 08:59:07 PM »
The Dukes of Manchester  - a bit of general blurb

Why did the Manchester fortunes seemingly vanish? Well it is probably simplest to compare this line of the family to the senior branch of House of Montagu. Although the elder line became extinct in 1745, the family estate including the mansion at Boughton, that is today known as the 'English Versailles' passed through the female line to the Scott Dukes of Buccleuch, who eventually added the Montagu surname to their own. Those lucky Buccleuchs subsequently inherited the Dukedom of Queensberry along with the Douglas surname and its vast patrimony, thus uniting three ducal interests and creating one of the greatest collections of castles, mansions and works of art in existence to this day!

The Dukes of Manchester are descend from the younger brother of the 1st Baron Montagu of Boughton who was founder of the line from which the Dukes of Montagu rose and fell, and from whom Boughton eventually passed to the Buccleuchs. The founder of the collateral line of Montagus, trained as a lawyer, as he had little prospect of inheriting any significant part of the Montagu lands as a younger son. Instead, this man acquired his own landed interests in the neighbouring county of Huntingdon and eventually acquired a place in the Lords as Viscount Mandeville and Baron Kimbolton in 1620, when peerages could be bought for 10,000 pounds. It was in the following year, that the new Viscount's elder brother got his own coronet when he became Baron Montagu of Boughton.

In 1626 Viscount Mandeville was promoted in the coronation honours of Charles I and became Earl of Manchester. His great great grandson, the 4th Earl would be rewarded for little more than a rather inconsequential career as a diplomat with a ducal coronet in 1719, fourteen years after his cousin, the Lord of the Manor of Boughton climbed from Earl of Montagu to his Dukedom. Thereafter the two branches jogged along together with another branch, that founded by the younger brother of the 1st Lord Montagu of Boughton and of the 1st Earl of Manchester which was also established in Huntingdonshire under the nominal head of the Earls of Sandwich. It is relevant to note that the 1st Earl of Manchester apparently bought the estate of Hinchingbrooke, not far from his own seat at Kimbolton, and settled it on his younger brother, thus providing the future Earls of Sandwich with a landed interest conducive to their status. Even more pertinent, is that the 1st Earl left all his sons other than his heir to the Earldom well provided for including his fifth son, who inherited the estate of Horton in Northamptonshire, which eventually became the seat of his son, Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax.

This liberality with regards to distribution of property, demonstrates what may be construed as a fatal error on the part of the 1st Earl, who having worked so hard to build up his landed interests and buy his way into the Lords, subsequently scattered a fair proportion amongst his younger male progeny, rather than leave it intact to his successor as Earl of Manchester. Perhaps the 1st Earl envisaged that his sons and grandsons would use their inheritances to their advantage,through personal labour and lucrative marriages to heiress as a way to build upon the interests he provided. In this his descendants the Earls of Sandwich, such a hypothesis was proved relatively successful, as they became exemplars of the patrician classes, living in comfort down the ages at Hinchingbrooke and taking an active and for the most part benevolent interest in county affairs, whilst at Kimbolton their cousins the Manchesters did likewise for a few generations at least, until the 4th Earl was promoted and the pressures of maintaining the dignity of a Dukedom eventually proved too cumbersome to bear without embarrassment for his descendants.

Meanwhile at Boughton, the senior branch went from strength to strength in their quest for pre-eminence. The 3rd Lord Montagu of Boughton recognized the relative modesty of his landed interests and embarked on a highly successful career at court, that blossomed during the most fraught period of Charles II's reign. Ralph Montagu became Master of the Great Wardrobe which came with a very useful salary in excess of 1,000 pounds per annum and various perquisites which would in time find their way into the chambers of the splendid new mansion he intended to build at Boughton. This magnifico of his age served as Ambassador to France and he even had time to marry two of the richest widows in the realm. In the case of his second marriage, Montagu showed just how mercenary and avaricious he could be, as his quarry the widowed Duchess of Albermarle, though incredibly rich in her own right as well as that of her late husband, was quite mad and had been heard to declare that she would never remarry unless her husband was an anointed sovereign. Ever resourceful, Ralph, 3rd Lord Montagu of Boughton ordered a suitably splendid and oriental looking outfit from his tailors and began to court the potty Duchess as the Emperor of China!

Once married to his 'Empress' Montagu set about his scheme to transform Boughton into a magnificent home. What he really wanted was a Dukedom. He seemed to spend the next decade and a half working towards this with the help of his wife's huge resources which he spent with relish. By 1705 he won his prize and became Duke of Montagu.

Whilst the new Dukes of Montagu and their descendants enjoyed lives of near unpararelled ducal spelndour at Boughton and later when it became just ones of numerous homes, the Manchesters spent the next century on the periphery, jogging along in comfort, but makig no attempt to enhance their fortunes or their profile. The 2nd Duke of Manchester married the 2nd Duke of Montagu's daughter Lady Isabella and this marriage could have greatly enhanced the fortunes of the Manchester branch, had the couple produced any children, but instead the Dukedom passed to his brother in turn. He, the 3rd Duke did not make such an auspicious marriage nor did his successors. The 5th Duke of Manchester was actually obliged to take the post of Governor of Jamaica in order to avoid the embarrassment of a constant lack of funds with which to maintain his dignity and that of his family.

To be continued.....


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2009, 09:16:27 PM »
The Dukes of Manchester - a bit more general blurb!

It is perhaps easier to understand the position of the Dukes of Manchester, when one remembers that Dukes of the realm were duty bound by their birthright and rank to live and behave in a manner befitting their exulted rank. This attitude only began to alter gradually, as a consequence of the social democratic changes that took root in Britain during the years after Waterloo and which eventually culminated in universal suffrage in the last century. Saying this, even up to the eve of the Great War, the aristocracy was expected to behave and live in a certain way. Those who did not conform were often encouraged to 'see the colonies,' and some 'gentlemen' who did something really disgraceful, such as appearing drunk in society were black balled and sent to Coventry. They were literally cut out of the social scene, hence the term. Others such as repeat offenders of such crimes and a few more including those unspeakable types known as cads and bounders, who 'god forbid' behaved in an unseemly fashion toward young ladies or (absolute horror of horrors!!!!) youths, were often pressured into 'doing the honourable thing.' rather than risk bringing disgrace upon their families! Rank and the closing of ranks went hand in hand during this period. Appearance was all!

Respite from the constant pressures that a Dukedom without the necessary means of support could entail, finally came to an end when the 6th Duke of Manchester managed to contract a marriage of real and immediate monetary benefit. His bride, the daughter and heiress of a Huntingdonshire neighbour brought into the family the splendid Tandragee estate in Ulster. This legacy along with another modest estate not far from the ducal seat at Kimbolton, basically doubled the ducal income with the ink barely dry of the marriage certificate, and appeared to give the Dukedom a more adequate landed interest with which to service and maintain the wearer of the Manchester coronet in a worthy style to the manner born!

No Larry, the Yznagas were pretty shrewd! At the time of her marriage, Consuelo hardly brought a fortune to the Manchesters, though she had the expectation of getting a very sizable sum from her father in time. What is most interesting is that Consuelo and her brother Ferdinand later tied up her money in various very safe trusts. By the time she died in 1909, Consuelo would have been all to aware of just what a wastrel her only surviving child was! In fact the 9th Duke was by far the worst of his family. He was utterly beyond the pale. His own father in law did a similar thing as his mother, in protecting his daughter's inheritance by tying it up for a generation.

Kim the 8th Duke was appalling but his son and successor was worse where money was concerned that is....IMHO. I guess this may have been because he lived so much longer than his dissolute father!

It is so sad to see what happened to the Manchesters. The Sparrow inheritance really should have put the Dukedom on a firm financial footing and had the 8th and 9th Dukes behaved, the Yznaga and Zimmerman fortunes would no doubt have brought relief during the agrarian depression and seen the Dukedom through so to speak. But alas, it was all too late by the time the 10th Duke succeeded. He more or less abandoned Britain and settled in Africa where he lived like his ancestors had, with a vast retinue of servants to maintain his home and where he owned and ran a vast estate in a style which was simply no longer possible to maintain in Britain at that time.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2009, 09:24:13 PM by Toots »

Offline Vecchiolarry

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 759
    • View Profile
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2009, 10:50:14 PM »

Gads!!!  Potty duchesses courted by phony Chinese Emperors!!!  I just love it!!!
I've now finished reading and digesting your entries and am now off to bed to dream, no doubt, about potty duchesses, dressed up dragon Emperors and poor Mary nosediving into the sea!!!

Pity the English aristocracy is so dull today - - or are they???  Enquiring minds want to know!!



  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2009, 12:29:00 AM »
The Dukes of Manchester continued:-

Ooo...Larry you have Greg King's book about the gilded age....I have yet to buy a copy but will! I loved his 'court of the last Tsar' was so well put together and full of fascinating data that so needed to be gathered into one lovely big tome! Thank goodness Greg undertook that project!

Actually, last week I ordered his 'Twilight of Splendour' which I bet is just a wonderful as 'Tsar'.

With regards to the 'vanished fortunes' of the Manchesters and how the 8th Duke is IMHO responsible in part for this....well...lets go back a tad.....

Kim's father, William, 7th Duke appears to have been the embodiment of an upstanding and respectable mid Victorian Duke. Whilst it was the 7th Duke's father who extended and embellished the new family seat of Tandragee in Armagh, it was his son and successor who really benefited from the Sparrow inheritance. Interestingly the 5th Duke of Manchester was the last of his line to hold the Lord Lieutenancy of Huntingdonshire, a literal personal family office, which had been held by every Earl and Duke of Manchester at some time during their lives, since the 1st Earl's appointment in 1624. Although the 6th and 7th Dukes represent the family seat as MPs for the county, neither made any lasting mark.

The 7th Duke inherited the Dukedom and entailed family estates at the age of thirty two in 1855, having sat in the Commons in the Tory interest first for Bewdley in Worcester before transferring to the family seat of Huntingdonshire. In 1851 the future 7th Duke met the daughter of courtier at the court of King Enrnest Augustus of Hanover, Countess Louise von Alten. With uncharacteristic zeal Viscount Mandeville, as he was then known began to woo this young woman who was universally admired as one of the great beauties at the Hanoverian Court. For her part the twenty year old Louise was probably enchanted by such attentions, after all Mandeville would one day be a Duke which may have made his suit rather more tempting than his general person.

At the time of their marriage in July 1852, Mandeville, having made a brief career in the army was now at the start of a new career in Parliament, where he was still cutting his teeth in the Commons and had recently been appointed to a junior post in the new Tory ministry of Lord Derby as a Lord in waiting to Prince Albert. In the notorious Who? Who? Ministry, as Lord Derby's first government became know, Mandeville's post was little more than symbolic and it would not take his wife long to come to appreciate just how limited her spouse's political abilities were. Nonetheless the anticipation of his one day inheriting the Dukedom and its elegant if somewhat austere looking principal seat at Kimbolton and the charming castle in Armagh with its folly like turrets and homogeny of styles probably kept Louisa occupied as she dutifully began breeding the requisite heir, who would grow up to become the 8th Duke followed by a daughter. Then, in 1855 with the death of her father in law, Mandy, as she called her husband lost his seat in the Commons and entered the Lords as 7th Duke of Manchester, and Louisa found herself chatelaine of Kimbolton and Tandragee.

By ducal standards Kimbolton was certainly an acceptable principal seat, the only reminder of its past incarnations as a castle that had once the home of Katherine of Aragon and was the place of her death, were the surviving tudor mullions and vaulting in the subterranean basement and the decorative battlements which Sir John Vanburgh added to the four elegantly austere and regular silver grey facades of the mansion he was commissioned to create around a suitably imposing courtyard that survived intact from earlier eras.

 From the outside the Castle was deceptively regular and neat and in harmony with the alluvial and verdant countryside that made up the surrounding estate. But within, many considerations were made in adapting the pre-existing remnants of the older building. Vanburgh carried out similar work in Lincolnshire for the 1st Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, but at Kimbolton the evidence of a much tighter budget produced a more restrained result. It is important to note that the first three Earls of Manchester preferred to repair and extend rather than rebuild the castle, and the 4th Earl who in 1719 became 1st Duke only employed Vanburgh to carry out extensive rebuilding works after one of the ranges at the castle subsided so dangerously that a surveyor's reports declared the building at risk of collapse! As we have already seen, funds for a complete rebuild were not at hand to Manchester and therefore, unlike the works he carried out at Blenheim and Castle Howard, Vanburgh was obliged to restrain his talents and incorporate as much of the existing house as he could salvaged into the resulting house that 7th Duke and Duchess moved in to in 1855. Like many examples of castles of old, a village had stood in the shadow of the walls of the castle at Kimbolton for centuries, but unlike many other eighteenth century owners of similar structures, who either demolished and rebuilt new seats far from the the settlements of their tenants, or as in the case of the 5th Duke Devonshire, moved entire villages away in order to a create a more appealing aspect from the big house, the Castle at Kimbolton remained firmly entrenched on the edge of the town, with its gate house added for the 4th Duke to the designs of Robert Adam, facing directly onto the main thoroughfare that passed through the town.

Here at Kimbolton the 7th Duke and Duchess and their family lived in great comfort, for unlike some ducal piles, Kimbolton was primarily a home rather than a showpiece built to herald great wealth and prestige!

« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 12:38:04 AM by Toots »


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #39 on: April 10, 2009, 05:38:47 PM »
Well Larry, a lot of Dukes tended to go to ground during the later part of the last century. In some cases this was due to declines in family fortunes. In others it was a case of Dukes realizing that where they predecessors had been dubbed eccentric, when if fact most were merely being uber individual as their rank and status permitted, the increasing intrusion of the press into the very highest echelons of British society put an end to flagrant ducal misbehaviour.

Occassionally, a Duke or a member of his family would emerge and become 'the talk of the town' for a while, but most who survivied in Britain were too busy trying to protect what was left of their patrimonies.

Probably the most sensational story run in British newspapers during the last century about Dukes and Duchesses, was that of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll and the photographs of the headless man! Even today, in an age of celebrity obsessive madness, where lurid acts of intimacy are often captured on mobiles and downloaded and feasted over on the internet, the scandal that erupted over the graphic photographs of a woman wearing nothing but some superb pearls, performing an act of extreme intimacy upon an unidentified male, is still well known. Some of those polaroid photographs discovered hidden at Margaret's flat by her suspicious husband had captions scrawled on them, "before," - "thinking of you"- "during,"- "Oh," and "after." which need no explanation!

 Margaret Argyll's understandably outraged husband Ian, subsequently petitioned for divorce. But rather shockingly, he insisted upon having the photographs included as evidence in his case against his wife. It caused a sensation at the time, not only because Margaret was branded a nymphomaniac, but because the headless man in the photographs could, according to the Duke, have been any one of up to eighty eight men he suspected of having enjoyed his wife's favours!

 In court, the issue of the identity of the naked woman was initially disputed until blown up copies and magnifying glasses were passed out and the photographs scrutinized thoroughly and it was confirmed that the magnificent pearl necklace being worn was irrefutably that belonging to Margaret. Then the identity of the man was pondered but it was a moot point, as Margaret was flagrantly guilty of having committed adultery and Argyll was granted his divorce. Neither party came out well from this sensationally sleazy episode. Margaret was branded for life as a complete 'harlot' whilst Argyll was regarded as having behaved appallingly badly and in a thoroughly ungentlemanly fashion by stooping so low as to air such 'filthy linen' in public! The judge in the case said Margaret had a 'sexual association.' with an unidentified man other than her husband in the bathroom of her London home. One journalistis wag wrote that the judge probably thought fellatio was a character from Shakespeare before he heard the Argyll case!!!

The debate over the identity of the headless man raged for decades! One candidate was Winston Churchill's son in law, Duncan Sandys, but after being examined by a Doctor in Harley Street, his pubic hair was found not to match that of the headless man!! Many believed the man was identifiable as Douglas Fairbanks Junior, but he firmly denied it. Nevertheless his handwriting was found to match the scrawl on the photos by a graphologist. The court case came only three years after the ban on 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' was lifted, which may have fueled the interest generated in the Argyll divorce case. As did the 'Profumo' Case which was also raging at the same time. Margaret was even dubbed the 'dirty Duchess'! Shortly before she died in 1993, with typical mischief, Margaret stated that the 'only polaroid camera in the country at the time, had been lent to the Ministry of Defence.' This crafty little comment inflamed speculation as to the identity of the headless man again. Fairbanks categorically denied he was the man until his death, and rather interestingly Duncan Sandys had worked at the Ministry of Defence during the period in which the polaroid photographs were believed to have been taken! Many now believe that their were in fact two headless men, namely Fairbanks and Sandys!   

Margaret was an amazing woman, I met her once in the early nineties and she was totally 'magnetic'. Even then, nearly thirty years after the disgrace of her divorce, she was still a familiar face. This was in part due to her being regarded as on of the best dressed women of her age, for her extraordinary feline beauty and her 'signature' coiffure! She was far too glamorous, self centered and spirited to have been married to a man like Argyll, even though he was a Duke.

The daughter of the Chairman of Celanese Corp, Margaret inherited a fortune from her Scottish born father. She was regarded as the most beautiful deb of her year. She was voted one of the top ten best dressed woman in the world, she was even immortalized in the lyrics of the British version of Cole Porter's song 'You're the top'. Margaret herself wrote of her life, 'The top was what I was supposed to be. I had become a Duchess and mistress of an historic castle. My daughter had married a Duke. Life was apparently roses all the way.'

« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 06:13:08 PM by Toots »


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2009, 07:43:29 PM »
The present Duke and Duchess of Northumberland are another modern ducal couple who have been in the news and are familiar. They live at Alnwick Castle, which is known as the 'Windsor of the North' and is used as a setting for Hogwarts School in some scenes in the Harry Potter films. The family also has another 'pad' in London called Syon House, which for a place in the capital is quite something too, and contains some of the finest examples of of eighteenth century interiors in Britain! The conservatory is also quite impressive!!!!

Jane Duchess is an avid gardener and the brainchild behind the spectacular new gardens that have been laid out at Alnwick since husband Ralph succeeded to the Dukedom and they moved from an estate cottage into the Castle. Here is a link to an article about Jane Duchess, it has a picture of the wonderful cascade garden she really is stunning! On the following link is an article named 'Don't touch the plants' which is about one of Jane Duchess' garden features:-,2005.html

Prince Charles is a known admirer of Jane Duchess and her drive to create a lasting and perhaps equally pertinently a 'visitor drawing' legacy at Alnwick. The castle may be set in some of the most spectacular undulating countryside in the North of England, but this alone and the glorious castle with its sumptuous interiors are not enough to keep the visitor numbers consistent. With her love of gardening, Jane Duchess has not only been able to indulge her passion, but with the help her husband, who has parted with a very large wad of dosh in the process, she has given Alnwick a set of unique gardens, which are modern day equivalents of the spectacular horticultural grand designs created for aristocrats and Royalty in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Having been born and brought up in a thoroughly middle class family, Jane Duchess never anticipated becoming Duchess of Northumberland when she married Lord Ralph Percy. But she has adapted to her position. When she began planning the gardens at Alnwick there were plenty of raised eyebrows. The sheer scale and litany of logistics, including a glitch where residents of some of the surrounding estate villages lost their water supplies, as pressure was drawn off the mains to feed the cascades, did little to ease doubts about the practicalities of the Duchess' vision. This was also confounded by the estimates of the vast amounts of money that was required to bankroll the schemes, but Duke Ralph proved very supportive throughout! In the end as pundits and skeptics predicted a monumental flop and a white elephant that would be out of place in the modern era, Jane Duchess and her team kept on going, and the resulting gardens have proved a spectacular success and the subject of numerous breathless and excited reviews, documentaries and conversations at dinner tables across the country. In time the Gardens of Alnwick will no doubt become as famous as the castle itself.

Here are links to the Northumberland homes:-

From the outside Alnwick Castle looks like a proper medieval fortress, but behind those rather grim grey walls lie a plethora of gorgeously appointed apartments full of glorious old masters and exquisite antiques! Likewise, Syon House looks rather austere and simple from the outside, but this is deceptive as the interiors are dazzlingly beautiful in my humble opinion!
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 08:08:58 PM by Toots »


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2009, 08:24:01 PM »
Here is link to the Alnwick garden site for anyone interested in how a contemporary Duchess with an interest in gardening, a spare ten acres of land at her disposal and a very generous husband by her side, can keep herself occupied!!!!


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2009, 09:03:07 PM »
The Dukes of St Albans, a dynasty of which I am rather fond, have merited little publicity. The 3rd Duke may have scuttled off to live on the continent when his debts threatened to overwhelm him, and the paternity of the 6th Duke may have raised suspicion in various quarters, and the 11th Duke's descent into lunacy and that of his brother, who tried to burn down Eton College, may have provoked gasps of horror, but it is the present heir to the Dukedom who really earned the publicity he provoked in 1999.

In a colourful scene that was caught on camera, Charles Beauckerk, Earl of Burford interrupted a debate over the reform of the House of Lords, and briefly entered the public eye!

Here is link to an article that reports what this impetuous man did:-

Subsequently Burford was banned from the Palace of Westminster for life, but a few weeks after this incident he was back....... albeit briefly ......

Anyway, I always wondered about Burford after these episodes, in particular his sanity, based in part on what had passed before in various members of his family!

But I tend to believe I was being mean and that the Earl is merely rather hot headed and his love of history as evidenced by his superbly researched and finely crafted biography of his ancestress Nell Gwynn, probably inflamed and provoked his response to the abolition of a Hereditary stronghold in the Lords! I now tend to think he probably feared that the monarchy would be seriously undermined by the scrapping of the rights of all but ninety two hereditary peers! The trouble was Burford went about his protest in a rather tempestuous fashion. Interrupting a venerable and polite debate by jumping up and down on the woolsack and ranting like a thwarted child whose favourite toy has been taken away from him by a mean grown-up, was hardly well planned or rational!
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 09:17:51 PM by Toots »


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2009, 08:33:29 PM »
Below are some links to web sites relating to ducal seats and estates present and past that may be of interest:-

The seat of the Dukes of Abercorn:-

The seat of the Dukes of Ancaster and Kesteven (extinct):-

The seat of the Dukes of Argyll:-

The seat of the Dukes of Atholl:-

The seat of the Dukes of Beaufort (Those Beauforts have really pulled rank in recent years and there is very little around about the house!)

The seats of the Dukes of Bedford (past and present):-

The seats of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry (Past and Present!)  - which has lots of data about the three combined patrimonies of the Montagu, Douglas and Scott families.

The principal seats of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos (extinct):_

The seat of the Dukes of Cleveland (extinct)

The seats of the Dukes of Devonshire (past and present):- (Arguably the most iconic ducal seat in Britain today. It well deserves it's reputation too!)  (Presently belongs to a collateral branch of the Cavendish Family in remainder to the Dukedom.)

The seats of the Dukes of Dorset (extinct):-

The principal former country seats of the Earls and Dukes of Fife:-

The past and present seats of the Dukes of Grafton:-

The seats of the Dukes of Hamilton:- (It will give one an idea of what the palace was like before it was tragically demolished)

The seats of the Dukes of Kingston (extinct):-

The seats of the Dukes of Leeds (extinct):-

The former seat of the Dukes of Leinster:-

The principal former seat of the Dukes of Manchester:-

The seat of the Dukes of Marlborough:-

The former seat of the Dukes of Montrose (who still own large swathes of land in the area and maintain a private residence near Drymen to this day)

The seat of the Dukes of Newcastle (4th creation - extinct)

The seats of the Dukes of Norfolk (Past and present) and three other seats owned by collateral branches of Howards who are in remainder to the Dukedom:- (Sold to the 4th Duke of Newcastle by the 13th Duke of Norfolk, and subsequently subsumed into the Clumber estate.) (Probably the most famous non ducal country house in Britain due to its exposure in Brideshead Revisited! It is dazzling!)

The seats (former and present) of the Dukes of Northumberland:-

The seat of Earls, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde (The Earldom is dormant and the Marquessate and Dukedom both extinct) :-

The seat of the Dukes of Portland (extinct) :-

The seats past and present of the Dukes of Richmond, Gordon, Lennox and Aubigny

The seat of the Dukes of Roxburghe

The seats of the Dukes of Rutland and a collateral branch in remainder to the Dukedom:-

The former seat of the Dukes of St Albans:-

The seats of the Dukes of Somerset and that of a collateral branch (the Marquesses of Hertford) who are in remainder to the Dukedom:-

The former and present seats of the Earls (Presently the 24th Countess) and Dukes (Presently the 7th Duke) of Sutherland (A very complicated amalgamation and subsequent break up of four patrimonies, namely those of the Levesons, Gowers, Sutherlands and Egertons)  - seat of the present Duke of Sutherland and his family.   - There used to be a site with marvelous details about the interiors but it has vanished.

The seats of the Dukes of Wellington:-

The seat and property of the Dukes of Westminster:-

« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 08:56:17 PM by Toots »


  • Guest
Re: Dukedoms of the realms of England, Scotland, GB, Ireland and the UK.
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2009, 10:51:13 PM »
I hope that the links above will help some who happen across this thread and take the time to have a quick glance at a couple of the properties described, to better comprehend just how splendidly many of the nineteenth and early twentieth century Dukes and Duchesses of the realms were able to live.

It is not unreasonable to say that in most cases, Dukes and their immediate family were well able to afford to live in a style akin to that of members of the Royal family other than the sovereign. In fact some had incomes which exceeded even that of the of the Prince of Wales.  All non royal Dukes enjoyed incomes that easily exceeded those enjoyed by the likes of the Tecks, the Christians of Schleswig Holstein and the Henry Battenbergs. In fact, all but four Dukes whose income were calculated and published in 1880, enjoyed British based incomes that were greater than those of any Princes of Great Britain and Ireland excluding the Prince of Wales. I also exclude the Duke of Cumberland because his landed interests lay outside the remit of British property and I do not believe that he, the 3rd Duke, was in receipt of an annuity from the British treasury at this time. I have also chosen, for the sake of simplicity, not to include possible dividends from investment portfolios etc. If I had, I would fully appreciate that various Royal incomes would have been greatly enhanced, but then again, so would have numerous ducal ones also!

« Last Edit: April 12, 2009, 10:57:43 PM by Toots »