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Author Topic: American socialites and nobility&royalty  (Read 1438 times)
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Principessa

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« on: February 14, 2020, 01:56:25 PM »

Don't know how and why, but today I got interested in the Vanderbilt family. One of the well known members of this American wealthy family is Consuelo Vanderbilt, who was forced to marry the impoverished British Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough.

It seems to be just a period of time, wealthy brides from the America's (independant which part) for impoverished European nobility (and royals). But then, I have got the feeling it still happens. What to think of Marie Chantal Miller and the Greece royals......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consuelo_Vanderbilt
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 01:57:44 PM »

And the novel The Buccaneers of Edith Warton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Buccaneers
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 02:01:35 PM »

Jennie Jerome who would go on marrying Randolphe Churchill and have a son named Winston Churchill

https://www.history.com/n...-marry-british-aristocrat

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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 02:07:18 PM »

Mary Victoria Leiter (Chicago born heiress) who married George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston.

George was styled as Lord Curzon of Kedleston between 1898 and 1911, and as Earl Curzon of Kedleston between 1911 and 1921, and was known commonly as Lord Curzon, was a British Conservative statesman who served as Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, during which time he created the territory of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1919 to 1924. Winston Churchill was one of George's main rivals (in politics).

According to the story:  Initially George had just married Mary Victoria for her money so he could save his estate but ended up falling head over heels for her. Mary had a long and nearly fatal illness near the end of summer 1904, from which she never really recovered. Falling ill again in July 1906, she died on the 18th of that month in her husband's arms, at the age of 36. It was the greatest personal loss of his life.

They had three daughters during a firm and happy marriage: Mary Irene, who inherited her father's Barony of Ravensdale and was created a life peer in her own right; Cynthia, who became the first wife of the fascist politician Sir Oswald Mosley; and Alexandra Naldera ("Baba"), who married Edward "Fruity" Metcalfe, the best friend, best man and equerry of Edward VIII. Mosley exercised a strange fascination for the Curzon women: Irene had a brief romance with him before either were married; Baba became his mistress; and Curzon's second wife, Grace, had a long affair with him.
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 02:11:40 PM »

Frances Ellen Work (1857 – 1947) was an American heiress and socialite. She was a great-grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her great-great-grandchildren include Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and the American actor Oliver Platt.

In 1880 she would marry the Hon. James Boothby Burke Roche (1852–1920), who would later become the 3rd Baron Fermoy in 1920 after his brother, Edward Roche, 2nd Baron Fermoy, died without any male heirs. He was the son of Edmond Roche, 1st Baron Fermoy and Elizabeth Caroline Boothby. They had four children: two daughters, and twin sons.

- Eileen Roche (1882−1882), who died young.
- Hon. Cynthia Roche (1884−1966), who married firstly Arthur Scott Burden (1879−1921) in 1906 and secondly Guy Fairfax Cary (1879−1950) in 1922. She is the matrilineal great-grandmother of American actor Oliver Platt.
- Hon. Edmund Burke Roche (1885–1955), who later became the 4th Baron Fermoy, and was the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.
- Hon. Francis George Burke Roche (1885–1958), a banker who died unmarried.


Frances divorced Roche in Delaware for desertion in 1891, before he had succeeded to the barony. In 1905, the Hon. Mrs. Burke Roche married Aurel de Batonyi, a Hungarian-born riding instructor and society horseman. Work sued de Batonyi for divorce two years after their marriage, allegedly because her father threatened to disinherit her if she continued to live with her husband
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 02:16:50 PM »

This is a fun topic.  Here's the main wiki article on American Heiresses (https://en.wikipedia.org/...ist_of_American_heiresses) and a Smithsonian Series titled "Million Dollar American Princesses" (https://www.smithsonianch...erican-princesses/1003587)
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 02:20:18 PM »

Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan (formerly Consuelo Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough; born Consuelo Vanderbilt)(1877 – 1964) was a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family. Her marriage to the ninth Duke of Marlborough has become known as one of the socially advantageous, but loveless, marriages common during the Gilded Age.

Born in New York City, she was the only daughter and eldest child of William Kissam Vanderbilt, a New York railroad millionaire, and his first wife, a Mobile, Alabama, belle and budding suffragist, Alva Erskine Smith (1853–1933, who later married Oliver Belmont). Her Spanish name was in honor of her godmother, Consuelo Yznaga (1853–1909), a half-Cuban, half-American socialite who created a social stir a year earlier when she married the fortune-hunting George, Viscount Mandeville, a union of Old World aristocracy and New World money that caused the groom's father, the 7th Duke of Manchester, to openly wonder if his son and heir had married a "Red Indian". Consuelo Vanderbilt was largely dominated by her mother, who was determined that her daughter would make a great marriage like that of her famous eponym.

Like her godmother, Consuelo Vanderbilt attracted numerous title-bearing suitors anxious to trade social position for cash. Her mother reportedly received at least five proposals for her hand. Consuelo was allowed to consider the proposal of just one of the men, Prince Francis Joseph of Battenberg, but she developed an instant aversion to him.None of the others, however, was good enough for Alva Vanderbilt, herself the daughter of a cotton factor.

Consuelo Vanderbilt married His Grace The 9th Duke of Marlborough in 1895. They had two sons, John Albert William Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford (who became 10th Duke of Marlborough) and Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill. However, given the ill-fitting match between the duke and his wife, it was only a matter of time before their marriage was in name only. The duchess eventually was smitten by her husband's cousin, the Hon. Reginald Fellowes (the liaison did not last, to the relief of Fellowes's parents), while the duke fell under the spell of Gladys Marie Deacon, an eccentric American of little money but, like Consuelo, dazzling to look at and of considerable intellect. The Marlboroughs separated in 1906, divorced in 1921, and the marriage was annulled, at the duke's request and with Consuelo's assent, on 19 August 1926.

Consuelo's second marriage, in 1921, was to Lt. Col. Jacques Balsan (1868-1956), a record-breaking pioneer French balloon, aircraft, and hydroplane pilot who once worked with the Wright Brothers. Also a textile manufacturing heir, Balsan was a younger brother of Etienne Balsan, who was an early lover of Coco Chanel.

Balsan first saw and immediately fell in love with wealthy American Consuelo Vanderbilt when she was 17, before her marriage to the 9th Duke of Marlborough. She was considered the most eligible woman of the late Victorian Age. Known for his attention to her, it was a very happy marriage.

After the annulment with the Duke of Marlborough, she still maintained ties with favorite Churchill relatives, particularly Winston Churchill.

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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 02:21:18 PM »

This is a fun topic.  Here's the main wiki article on American Heiresses (https://en.wikipedia.org/...ist_of_American_heiresses) and a Smithsonian Series titled "Million Dollar American Princesses" (https://www.smithsonianch...erican-princesses/1003587)

Thanks for these links!  Thumb up Star
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2020, 02:43:57 PM »

Consuelo’s mother gave evidence for her in the annulment case.  She admitted that she had broken off Consuelo’s semi-engagement to another man and had isolated her until she capitulated to the marriage.  Even Consuelo was surprised at her mother’s admission.

Two really good books that I have read on the subject are The Dollar Princesses and The Million Dollar Duchesses.  Consuelo also wrote an autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold.

I had a bit of a streak on the topic when I lived on the North Shore of Long Island.  Consuelo lived two towns east of me and we’d drive past her former estate which is now a golf club, the Tam O’Shanter.  I believe but I’m not sure, that Cole Porter was visiting her and her second husband when he fell from a horse and his legs were crushed.
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2020, 02:51:18 PM »

IRRC the Carnarvons at the beginning of the last century had a couple of countesses that were socialites / heiresses. The current countess has written books about them
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2020, 02:59:27 PM »

This is an excellent book on the subject https://www.amazon.com/Ma...+a%2Caps%2C140&sr=8-1

The Countess Carnarvan that brought LOADs of money to the table was Almina Wombwell, who was the illegitimate and only child of Alfred de Rothchild, who settled a ridiculous amount on them at the marriage and then left her everything. This not only kept the lights on at Highclere amongst half a dozen other stately homes, but also financed the finding of King Tut's Tomb, which also brought a pretty penny back in. Unfortunately, the Earl nicked himself shaving in Egypt and developed blood poisoning, which killed him. This was before penicillin.
 
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 03:07:20 PM by Duchess of Verona » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2020, 03:36:25 PM »

Kathleen Kennedy, sister of President John F Kennedy

https://en.m.wikipedia.or...Marchioness_of_Hartington
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2020, 03:37:31 PM »

Consuelo’s mother gave evidence for her in the annulment case.  She admitted that she had broken off Consuelo’s semi-engagement to another man and had isolated her until she capitulated to the marriage.  Even Consuelo was surprised at her mother’s admission.

Two really good books that I have read on the subject are The Dollar Princesses and The Million Dollar Duchesses.  Consuelo also wrote an autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold.


Oh, Alva was a real piece of work - what she put Consuelo through! She makes a certain modern-day social climbing MIL look completely tame.

I was always glad that Consuelo later found happiness with her second husband.
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2020, 04:32:34 PM »

Kathleen Kennedy, sister of President John F Kennedy

https://en.m.wikipedia.or...Marchioness_of_Hartington


A love match with tragic endings for both.  The Hartingtons requested her body be buried on their estates when Rose Kennedy refused to have her body brought back to the States.  Rose Kennedy was a real piece of work, but that’s a story for another day.
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2020, 04:51:07 PM »

Kathleen Kennedy, sister of President John F Kennedy

https://en.m.wikipedia.or...Marchioness_of_Hartington


A love match with tragic endings for both.  The Hartingtons requested her body be buried on their estates when Rose Kennedy refused to have her body brought back to the States.  Rose Kennedy was a real piece of work, but that’s a story for another day.

She was nowhere near as bad as her husband.
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