Saturday, August 13, 2016

Aristocratic Ladies of Great Britain of the Edwardian Era | Portraits by Philip de László



Philip de László (1869-1937) was a Hungarian painter who became well known for his many portraits of royal and aristocratic men and women of the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. In 1907, he moved to London but he was constantly traveling throughout Europe to carry out the various artistic commissions he was assigned. His impeccable work, which focused mainly on English and American socialites, earned him a slew of awards and honors. King Edward VII named him a MVO (a member of the Royal Victorian Order) and Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, King of Hungary ennobled him as "Philip László de Lombos" in 1912 (until then, he went by his birth name, "Laub Fülöp"). He became a British citizen in 1914 and at the turn of the century he married the Irish Lucy Madeleine Guinness, a member of the famous banking and brewing Guinness family. They had six children and seventeen grandchildren before de László died of a heart attack, which was brought on by overworking. Philip de László painted several members of royalty, such as: Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, Queen Louise of Sweden, King Constantine I of Greece, Queen Elizabeth II, and King Edward VII, but he also painted many aristocratic women of the U.K. in the early 1900's. Below are some of his beautiful works and their equally stunning subjects.





Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Marchioness of Londonderry

Edith Helen Chaplin was born on December 3, 1878 in the village of Blankney, Lincolnshire to Henry Chaplin, a British landowner and conservative politician in the House of Commons, and Lady Florence Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, a daughter of the 3rd Duke of Sutherland. Edith had one older brother, Eric, and one younger sister, Florence. Her mother died in childbirth with her younger sister in 1881 and her father, who was a member of the Privy Council, was named the 1st Viscount Chaplin. Edith was just two years old when her mother died so she was sent to her maternal grandfather's estate of Dunrobin Castle in Sutherland to be brought up. Edith matured into a charming, sociable, dark-haired beauty with elegant features, a slender figure, fair skin, and blue eyes. On November 28, 1899 just five days away from her twenty-first birthday, she married Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, the eldest son and heir of the 6th Marquess of Londonderry, who was just seven months her senior. At the time of his marriage to Edith, he was a lieutenant in the British Army. The couple resided in the Londonderry family estate of Mount Stewart near Newtownards, County Down in Northern Ireland where Edith would become active in creating the lovely gardens around the estate. Today, Edith's gardens at Mount Stewart are regarded as some of the best in the British Isles. 

Edith had five children with her husband, four daughters and one son: Maureen (1900-1942), Edward (1902-1955), Margaret (1910-1966), Helen (1911-1986), and Mairi (1921-2009). When Edith's father-in-law died in 1915, Charles became the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, making Edith his Marchioness. Edith became a popular and influential socialite and hostess in the 1920's-30's and was active in the war effort during World War I. She was the Colonel-in-Chief of the Women's Volunteer Reserve and opened up the Londonderry townhouse as a military hospital. For her work, she was the named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Military Division in 1917, the first woman to receive such an honor. Her husband, who served during the war, was a prominent politician as the Secretary of State for Air from 1931-35 but he was forced from government in 1938 when he applauded Nazi Germany. He was not faithful to his wife, as he had an illegitimate daughter with the American actress Fannie Ward in 1900. Edith, who became the Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry in 1949 upon her husband's death, died on April 23, 1959 from cancer at the age of eighty. 





Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston

Grace Elvina Hinds was born in 1879 in Decatur, Alabama to Joseph Monore Hinds, a one-time U.S. Minister to Brazil, and Lucy Trillia of Montevideo, Uruguay. On May 1, 1902, she married a wealthy Irish Argentinian landowner, Alfred Huberto Duggan, when she was about twenty-three. They lived in Buenos Aires for around three years where Grace had two sons - Alfred Duggan (1903-1964), a future historian and archeologist, and Hubert Duggan (1904-1943), who would become a British Army officer and conservative politician. In 1905, Grace's husband was given a position at the Argentine Legation in London so the family moved to England. Grace would remain here for the rest of her life. She had another child with her husband, a daughter named Grace Lucille Duggan (1907-1995), before his death in 1915. 

Grace inherited her late husband's extensive estancias in Argentina after his death, which made her a very rich widow. She served as a nurse for Britain during the First World War before she married again in 1917 to the haughty and stubborn George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (the Viceroy of India from 1899-1905), at the age of thirty-eight. Curzon, who was twenty years older than Grace, had been married once before from 1895-1906 to another wealthy American, the beautiful Mary Victoria Leiter of Chicago, who gave him three daughters before her early death. Curzon married Grace in an attempt to produce a much-desired son and heir. Grace miscarried several times and had a few fertility-related operations but she was unable to have a living child with Curzon because of her age. Though they always remained faithful to each other, Curzon and Grace became estranged (but still lived together) after it became apparent that Grace wouldn't have a son. In 1922, Grace was named a Dame Grand Cross (GBE), the highest honor of the Order of the British Empire for her services as a nurse during the war. Two years after Curzon was passed over for the position of Prime Minister, he died of a severe bladder hemorrhage in 1925. Grace survived him by thirty-three years before her death in 1958 at the age of seventy-nine.




Hon. Harriet Sarah Jones-Loyd, Lady Wantage


The Hon. Harriet Sarah Jones Loyd was the only surviving child of Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone and Harriet Wright. She was born in 1837 at her family seat of Wolvey Hall in Wolvey, Warwickshire. He father, who was one of the richest men in Britain, was a banker and a Whig politician of Welsh ancestry. He was ennobled as a baron in 1850. In 1858, the twenty-one year old Harriet married Brigadier General Sir Robert James Lindsay, who was five years her senior. Harriet's father gifted her with a substantial fortune upon her wedding as well as the property of the Lockinge Estate, making her one of the wealthiest heiresses of her day. However, Harriet could never inherit her father's title upon his death because of her gender. When Lindsay married Harriet, he took the name of "Robert Loyd-Lindsay" by deed poll. The couple mainly resided at Lockinge Estate, which was near Wantage, but they also had a second home of Overstone Park in Northampton. Though Harriet and Lindsay were unable to have any children, they were happy together.

The respected and benevolent Harriet dedicated most of her time and efforts to charitable and philanthropic activities. She was greatly involved in hospital and nursing work and helped to create the National Aid Society, the precursor of the British Red Cross Society. When Queen Victoria established the Order of the Red Cross in 1883, Harriet was one of the first individuals to be awarded the honor. In 1885, Harriet became the Lady Wantage when her husband was ennobled as the 1st Baron Wantage (the title was taken from the name of their favorite estate and principal home). In 1901, Lindsay, who had served valiantly in the Crimean War, died at the age of sixty-nine.  Since Lindsay had no children by his wife, his title died with him. Harriet created a monument to him after his death on the Ridgeway. In 1908, she opened Wantage Hall for the University of Reading as the first Hall of Residence in honor of her late husband. Harriet wrote a biography and memoir of er late husband before her own death on August 9, 1920 at the age of about eighty-three.



Viscountess Lee of Fareham

Ruth Moore, Viscountess Lee of Fareham 

Ruth Moore was the eldest child of New York financier and Wall Street stock market promoter, John Godfrey Moore, and his first wife, Miriam Jane Aldrich, of Munson, Massachusetts. Ruth was born sometime in the 1870's or 1880's and she had one younger sister, as well as a younger brother from her father's second marriage (Ruth's mother died in 1890). The petite, blue-eyed blonde was described by one newspaper as possessing an, "atmosphere of royalty with an unconscious girlish charm." Ruth met Arthur Hamilton Lee, a British military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington D.C. at parties in Kingston and Gananoque. Lee, who was a close friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, was the half-American son of a clergyman and was born in Bridport, Dorset. A mutual attraction developed between the two and Lee invited her to a few balls with him at the Royal Military College in Kingston. On December 23, 1899, the couple married. Ruth inherited a great amount of wealth from her father right before the wedding, as he died just a few months prior to the ceremony. 

Lee had a career in Parliament and joined the Cabinet and the Privy Council in 1919 before he was named the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1921. A year later, he was named the 1st Viscount Lee of Fareham. Ruth, as the Viscountess Lee, had a happy and stable marriage with her husband despite the fact that they had no children. In 1909, they took over the lease of Chequers Court in Buckinghamshire and completely renovated the estate into a fashionable main residence. When the Great War began, the couple opened up their house as a hospital and later a convalescent home for officers. When the war began to draw to a close in 1917, they gave the entire house and its contents in trust to the government as the official home of future British Prime Ministers. Lee died in 1947 at the age of seventy-eight and was survived by his wife for almost two decades until her death in 1966.




Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Montrose

Lady Mary Louise Douglas-Hamilton was the only child of William Douglas-Hamilton, 12th Duke of Hamilton and Lady Mary Montagu. Mary Louise was born in 1884 in London a decade after her parents' wedding. While her mother was a daughter of the 7th Duke of Manchester and Louise Cavendish, the "Double Duchess", her father (who also held the titles of 9th Duke of Brandon, 2nd Duke of Châtellerault, and 8th Earl of Selkirk) was the son of his namesake, the 11th Duke of Hamilton, and Princess Marie of Baden, the adoptive granddaughter of Napoleon I. Mary Louise's paternal aunt, Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, was the Hereditary Princess of Monaco as the first wife of Prince Albert I of Monaco. When Mary Louise's father died in 1895 when she was just eleven years old, his title passed to his fourth cousin. Mary Louise's mother remarried two years after her husband's death but had no more children. 

In 1906, the twenty-two year old Mary Louise married James Graham, the son and heir of the 5th Duke of Montrose, who was six years her senior. Graham was a naval officer and later a politician in the House of Lords. Mary Louise had four children with her husband, two sons and two daughters: James (the future 7th Duke of Montrose), Mary, Ronald, and Jean. Graham was also an engineer and invented the world's first naval aircraft carrier in 1912. He also served as the President of the British Institution of Marine Engineers and was active in World War I as a commodore. His father died in 1925, making him the 6th Duke of Montrose. Mary Louise was the Duchess of Montrose until her husband's death in 1954 at the family seat of Buchanan Castle in Stirlingshire. She died in 1957 at the age of about seventy-three.




Lady Margaret Alice Leicester-Warren

Margaret Alice Leicester-Warren was the eldest child of Cuthbert Leicester-Warren, a son of Sir Baldwyn Leighton, 8th Baronet and the Hon. Eleanor Leicester Leighton-Warren, and Hilda Marguerite Davenport. She was born in either 1905 or 1906 in her family home of Tabley House, Knutsford and had two younger brothers. On January 18, 1933 at the age of about twenty-seven, Margaret Alice married Lieutenant General Sir Oliver William Hargreaves Leese, 3rd Baronet, a senior Army officer who was about eleven years her senior. Leese was the eldest son of Sir William Hargreaves Leese, 2nd Baronet, a barrister, and Violet Mary Sandeman. He served as a second lieutenant in World War I and was wounded three times during the conflict, including during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. His bravery in this particular battle earned him the Distinguished Service Honor.

When Leese married Margaret Alice, he was ranked as a major but by 1938, he was a colonel. His father died a year prior to this promotion, so by the time he became a colonel he had also succeeded to his father's baronetcy. Leese and Margaret Alice had no children and lived at the estate of Lower Hall in Worfield, Shropshire. Leese served as a military instructor in India for a few years before returning home to Britain to fight in World War II. He replaced Bernard Montgomery as the Lieutenant-General of the Eighth Army's XXX Corps in 1944 and fought in North Africa and Italy. He died in 1978 of a heart attack at the age of eighty-three, five years after his right leg had to be amputated due to health reasons. He survived his wife by thirteen years, as she had died on April 30, 1964 at the age of about sixty-one. 




Margot Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith

Emma Alice Margaret Tennant was born on February 2, 1864 in Peeblesshire, Scotland as the eleventh child and sixth daughter of Sir Charles Tennant, 1st Baronet, an industrialist and Liberal politician, and Emma Winsloe. The childhood home of Emma Alice, who went by the name of "Margot", was her family's country estate of Glen, where she grew up as an adventurous, wild, and riotous child. She was very close to her sister Laura and she liked she venture throughout Glen's moors, ride horses, play golf, and climb up to the rooftop at night. When Laura died in 1888, Margot was so devastated with grief that she developed chronic insomnia, a sickness that followed her until her dying day. On May 10, 1894, the thirty year old Margot married the Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Asquith, a widower who was twelve years her senior. His first wife had died of typhoid fever in 1891, leaving him with four sons and one daughter. Margot was the complete opposite of Asquith's quiet and meek late wife; she was, according to one of her stepchildren, a "dazzling bird of paradise, filling us with amazement, amusement, excitement, sometimes with a vague uneasiness as to what she might do next". Margot introduced her husband to her extravagant social world, which helped him achieve the position of Prime Minister of the U.K. in 1908. Before Asquith became Prime Minister and moved to 10 Downing Street with his wife, they lived in the Asquith family home of in Cavendish Square. Their favorite residence was their weekend home of The Wharf in Sutton Courtenay, which the politics-loving couple set up as a meeting place for intellectuals in literature, art, and government. 

Margot had five children with Asquith but only two - a daughter named Elizabeth (1897-1945) and Anthony (1902-1968) survived past infancy. Elizabeth would become the Princess of Bibesco after her marriage to the Romanian Prince Antoine of Bibesco while Anthony would become a notable director in film. Asquith was the longest continuously serving prime minister in the twentieth century as he was in office from 1908-16. However, his successes as Prime Minister before the Great War have been forgotten due to his weak leadership during the conflict. In 1925, he was named the 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, making Margot a countess. After his death in 1928, Margot lived in a state of destitution. She made some money writing autobiographies but the death of her daughter in 1945 from pneumonia proved to be her breaking point. She died on July 28, 1945 at the age of eighty-one just three months after her daughter's death.




Muriel Thetis Warde 


Muriel Thetis Wilson was born in 1875 to the shipping magnate Arthur Wilson and Mary Emma Wilson. Her father was the son of Thomas Wilson, the owner of the Thomas Wilson Sons & Co. shipping business, which operated steamship lines throughout the globe. When Arthur inherited his father's company in 1907, he was arguably the richest ship owner in the world. Muriel had a sister and three brothers, one of whom, Arthur Stanley,  served as a conservative member of Parliament for Hull. Muriel's family became involved in a scandal when her father hosted his good friend, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, at the Wilson family home of Tranby Croft near Hull in 1890. The Prince and Arthur fell into legal trouble when it was revealed that one of Arthur's guests was discovered to have cheated in a game of baccarat, a card game which was illegal in England at the time. The Prince was so embarrassed by the whole affair that he never went back to Tranby Croft. Although Arthur was offered a peerage some time after this event, he was so negatively affected by the royal baccarat scandal that he refused a title and withdrew from the public eye. 

Muriel was said to be one of the most beautiful girls in Britain during her youth. She was described as having a, "small and oval" face, "a complexion so dark as to verge on olive...large, dark, lustrous and very expressive eyes," a small mouth, and a shapely nose. She had many admirers and was engaged to some well known British aristocrats such as Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough and Gilbert Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 2nd Earl of Ancaster, but these betrothals fell through. She was also good friends with future Prime Minister Winston Churchill who was said to have unsuccessfully proposed to her. Muriel was a charming amateur actress and a skilled horsewoman who loved to wear lavish and unique fashions. She married later in life (most likely in the first decade of the twentieth century) to a Richard Edward Warde who was nine years her junior. They had no children and she died in 1964 at the age of eighty-nine. 




Nancy Beatrice Borwick, Lady Croft

Nancy Beatrice Borwick was the daughter of Robert Hudson Borwick, 1st Baron Borwick and Caroline Johnston, who had been born in Madras, India. Nancy was born in 1885 in her father's hometown of Regent Park, London and had one brother and two sisters. In 1907, Nancy married Henry Page Croft, a conservative member of Parliament. Henry, who was four years older than Nancy, was the son of Richard Benyon Croft, a naval officer and the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, and Anne Elizabeth Page, the daughter of a successful businessman in the grain and malster industry. Nancy had two children with Henry - a son named Michael Henry and a daughter named Diane. 

Henry entered Parliament in the House of Commons in 1910 but served in France during World War I from 1914-16. He co-founded the National Party in 1917, which stood for strong diplomacy and more armaments, anti-German policies, the end of the sale of honors, etc. Much to his horror (as he was an anti-German Protectionist), his daughter Diana married a German lawyer and painter in 1936. In 1940, Henry was named 1st Baron Croft, making Nancy the Lady Croft. Prime Minister Winston Churchill made him the Under-Secretary of State for War from 1940-45. He devoted much of his time to raising the morale of British soldiers in the Army and made it so education and entertainment was provided to the men fighting in Europe and Africa. Nancy survived her husband by two years, as she died in 1949 at the age of sixty-four.




Winifred Cavendish-Bentick, Duchess of Portland

Winifred Anna Dallas-Yorke was the only daughter of Thomas Yorke Dallas-Yorke of Walmsgate, Lincolnshire and Frances Graham. She was born on September 7, 1863 at Murthly Castle in Perthshire and grew up alongside her only sibling, her younger brother Hailburton Francis. She was friends with Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII, and served as her canopy bearer during the King's coronation in 1902 before being named Mistress of the Robes from 1913 until the Queen's death in 1925. On June 11, 1889, Winifred married William Cavendish-Bentick, 6th Duke of Portland, who was six years her senior. William was the son of Lieutenant-General Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck by his first wife, Elizabeth Sophia Hawkins-Whitshed. He became the Duke of Portland in 1879 when his cousin, the 5th Duke, died without issue. He was a conservative politician in the House of Lords with a military career and served as the Master of the Horse from 1886 to 1892. Winifred and William had three children: Victoria (1890-1994), William Arthur (1893-1977), and Francis (1900-1950).

Winifred, who had always loved animals, had numerous stables at her home of Welbeck Abbey, the family seat of the Dukes of Portland, which she used to house old horses and dogs in need of homes. She used her title and prominence as the Duchess of Portland to make a different in the areas of humanitarianism and animal rights. She became the first president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as well as the vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the president of the ladies committee of the RSPCA. She even convinced her husband to use most of the winnings he earned in horse racing to set up almshouses at Welbeck. Winifred also supported miners in the community by paying for their health care and creating sewing and cooking classes for their daughters. Her efforts earned her the honor of being made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1935. She survived her husband by eleven years before her death on July 30, 1954 at the age of ninety.



Victoria Mary 'Vita' Sackville-West (1892–1962), Later Lady Nicholson

Vita Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson


Victoria Sackville-West, more commonly known as "Vita", was the only child of Lionel Sackville-West, 3rd Baron Sackville and Victoria Josefa Sackville-West, the illegitimate daughter the 2nd Baron Sackville, who was Lionel's uncle, and a Spanish dancer. Vita was born on March 9, 1892 at Knole House in Kent, the family seat of the Baron Sackville family. In 1913, the twenty-one year old Vita married the twenty-seven year old politician and writer, Harold George Nicolson, a son of a British diplomat named Arthur Nicolson, 1st Baron Carnock. Vita and Harold, who were both bisexual and had affairs with both genders before and after their wedding, had an open marriage and lived in Cihangir, Istanbul (because of his father's profession, Harold had been born in Iran) until 1914, after which they lived in Kent. Here, they had two sons: Benedict (1914-1978), an art historian, and Nigel (1917-2004), who became a leading writer and politician like his father. Vita herself was a writer and published several novels, which earned her the honor of being named a Companion of Honor in 1947. But despite Vita's fame as an author, she was far more proliferate for her various affairs. She had a brief fling with Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood, the future husband of Mary, Princess Royal, and Hilda Matheson, the head of the BBC Talks Department, which lasted from 1929-31. After this, she was involved in a ménage à trois with a journalist named Evelyn Irons and her boyfriend.

Her most famous affairs were with Rosamund Grosvenor, a granddaughter of the 1st Baron Ebury, Violet Trefusis, a daughter of the Hon. George Keppel and his wife, Alice Keppel (a mistress of King Edward VII), and the famous author, Virginia Woolf. Vita and Rosamund (who was four years her senior) went to the same school in 1899 and were educated under the same governess. They grew up together and fell in love but their covert affair ended when Vita married. Vita had a more passionate affair with Violet, who she also went to school with. They began their relationship after both married and became writers. They eloped many times in 1918 (often to France) with Vita usually cross-dressing as a man when they went out in public. The two always remained deeply in love with each other but their affair ended after Violet didn't uphold the promise she and Vita had made to each other that they wouldn't be intimate with their husbands. In the late 1920's, Vita engaged in a relationship with fellow author Virginia Woolf. Vita inspired Woolf to write one of her most famous novels - Orlando. Vita died just a month after her husband at the age of seventy on June 2, 1962.




Mabell Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie

Mabell Frances Elizabeth Gore was the eldest daughter of Arthur Gore, Viscount Sudley and Edith Jocelyn, the daughter of Viscount Jocelyn. She was born on March 10, 1866 and had two younger sisters. After her mother's death in 1871, she and her sisters were sent to live with their maternal grandmother, Lady Jocelyn. Their grandmother was acquainted with the Duchess of Teck so the girls often visited the Duchess and her family, allowing Mabell to become good friends with the Duchess's daughter, the future Queen Mary, wife of King George V of the U.K. In 1884, Mabell's paternal grandfather died and her father inherited his title of the Earl of Arran, which gave Mabell the title of "Lady". On January 19, 1886, the twenty year-old Mabell married David Ogilvy, 11th Earl of Airlie, who was ten years her senior and a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army. Now the Countess of Airlie, Mabell had six children with her husband: Kitty (1887-1969), Helen (1890-1973), Mabell (1892-1918), David (1893-1968), Bruce (1895-1976), and Patrick (1896-1917). Mabell lost her husband in 1900 when he was killed in action at the Battle of Diamond Hill in the Second Boer War. Her eldest son, David, became the new Earl of Airlie at the age of seven so Mabell oversaw his duties as Earl in his name.

A year after her husband's death, Mabell's old friend, Mary of Teck (now the Princess of Wales), appointed Mabell as her Lady of the Bedchamber. When Mary became Queen of the U.K. once George V succeeded to the throne in 1910, Mabell stayed at court as the Lady of the Bedchamber. Like many other aristocratic women during World War I, Mabell did her part in supporting the war effort. She volunteered for the Red Cross and her work as the president of Queen Alexandra's Army Nursing Board earned her the honor of being named a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 1920. But she had to undergo heavy personal losses during the conflict; her youngest son and son-in-law were killed in action as well as her daughter, Mabell. The Dowager Countess of Airlie served Queen Mary as Lady of the Bedchamber for fifty-two years until the Mary's death in 1953, after which Queen Elizabeth II awarded her with the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) for her many decades of service. After Mary of Teck's death, Mabell moved from Airlie Castle to Bayswater Road in London where she died a few weeks after her ninetieth birthday on April 7, 1956. Mabell's grandson, Angus (a son of David Ogilvy, 12th Earl of Airlie), married Princess Alexandra of Kent, the youngest granddaughter of King George V and Queen Mary, in 1963, thus uniting Mabell's family with Queen Mary's, her oldest and closest friend, in blood.





Beatrice Violet Wyndham, Lady Leconfield

Beatrice Violet Rawson was the eldest daughter of Colonel Richard Hamilton Rawson and Lady Beatrice Anson. She was born on May 6, 1892 in London and had one older brother (who died young in a horse-riding accident) and a younger sister. While her father was a High Sheriff for Sussex as well as the county's Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant, her mother was the second daughter of the Earl of Lichfield and a granddaughter of the 1st Duke of Abercorn. In 1911, the nineteen year-old Violet (as she went by) married the wealthy Charles Wyndham, 3rd Baron Leconfield, who was twenty years her senior. Violet, now known as Lady Leconfield, lived with her husband at the Leconfield family seat - Petworth House in West Sussex. They also had property in Cumberland, such as Cockermouth Castle and Scafell Pike.

Wyndham, who served in a cavalry regiment of the British Army as a lieutenant in the 1890's, rejoined this regiment in World War I to command the Royal Sussex Volunteers as the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex. Later, in World War II, he would be named Honorary Colonel of the 5th Battalion of the Border Regiment for Cumberland. Although he and Violet had no children of their own, they adopted two children - Peter and Elizabeth Geraldine (whose birth name was Betty Seymour) Wyndham. Peter was not able to succeed his father as the 4th Baron of Leconfield after Wyndham died in 1952 at the age of eighty following a long illness since he was not of his blood. Instead, Wyndham's younger brother inherited the Leconfield title and lands. Wyndham's daughter, Elizabeth,  a civil servant and socialite, would become a linguist for the British codebreaking department in World War II (she was a skilled polyglot). Violet survived her husband by four years before dying on May 22, 1956 at the age of sixty-four. 




Violet Warwick Bampfylde, Countess of Onslow

Violet Marcia Catherine Warwick Bampfylde was the only daughter of Coplestone Bampfylde, 3rd Baron Poltimore and Margaret Harriet Beaumont, the daughter of the 1st Baron Allendale. She was born on December 22, 1884 and had three brothers. On February 22, 1906, the twenty-one year old Violet married Richard Onslow, Viscount Cranley, who was eight years her senior. Onslow was the eldest son and heir of William Onslow, 4th Earl of Onslow, who was also the Governor of New Zealand from 1889-92. His mother was the Hon. Florence Coulston Gardner, a daughter of the 3rd Baron Gardner. Before World War I began, he was a diplomat who worked in Madrid, Tangier, St. Petersburg, and Berlin before working in the Foreign Office from 1910-14. In the Great War, he served as an Honorary Colonel. 

In 1911, Onslow's father died and he became the 5th Earl of Onslow, making Violet the Countess of Onslow. They had two children - a daughter named Mary Florence and a son named William Arthur, who eventually succeeded his father as the 6th Earl of Onslow. After the war, Onslow had a variety of government jobs such as the Chairman of the Committees and Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords. Onslow died in 1945 at the age of sixty-eight. His wife survived him by nine years before dying on October 23, 1954, two months before her seventy-first birthday. 




Jane Graham Murray, Viscountess Dunedin

Jane (also known as Jean) Elmslie Henderson Findlay was the only child of George Findlay, a hat maker in Aberdeen, and Jane Elmslie Henderson. She was born on Christmas Day of 1885 in Aberdeen, Scotland. By the time her birth was registered in January 11, 1886, she was an orphan (why her parents died so soon after her birth is unknown). She became an author and later the editor of Everyman magazine, as well as the secretary of the Scottish War Savings Committee during World War I. In 1923 at the age of thirty-seven, she married the widowed Andrew Graham Murray, 1st Viscount Dunedin, a Scottish politician and judge as the Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session. He had also been the Secretary for Scotland from 1903-05.

Murray, who was a whopping thirty-six years older than his wife, had been married once before to a woman named Mary Clementina, a daughter of a Scottish naval commander and baronet. They had two daughters and one son before Mary died in 1922. He married Jane less than a year later but due to her age at the time of their wedding, they had no children. His son by his first wife died in 1934, eight years before his father, who passed at the age of ninety-two. Since Murray died without a surviving son, his title became extinct upon his death. Jane lived as the Viscountess Dunedin until her death in 1944 at the age of fifty-eight.




Helen Percy, Duchess of Northumberland

Helen Magdalan Gordon-Lennox was the youngest daughter of Charles Gordon-Lennox, 7th Duke of Richmond and Lennox, 2nd Duke of Gordon, and his second wife, Isabel Sophie Craven. Through her father, Helen was descended from Charles II by his mistress, Louise de Kerouaille. She was born on December 13, 1886 in London and had one full sister as well as two half-sisters and three half-brothers from her father's first marriage. The fair-haired Helen lost her mother just a year after her birth and by the time she was eighteen, she acted as hostess for her father and took on the duties of the lady of the house. The kind-hearted Helen, who was described as a "saint" by one of the Queen of Spain's ladies-in-waiting, was "the sort of woman who rides in buses, pays her bills, and is nice to old servants". On October 18, 1911, the twenty-four year old Helen married Alan Percy, Earl Percy, who was six years her senior. 

Alan was the second surviving son of Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland, and Edith Campbell, a daughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll. He became his father's heir in 1909 when his older brother, Henry, died of pleurisy. Alan had served as a Captain in the South African War of 1901-02 and took part in the Sudan Campaign in 1908. When World War I erupted less than three years after Helen and Alan's marriage, Alan worked with the Intelligence Department to supply eyewitness accounts of battles as part of the Grenadier Guards. In 1918, his father died and he became the 8th Duke of Northumberland, which made Helen a duchess. She had six children with her husband: Henry (1912-1940), Hugh (1914-1988), Elizabeth (1916-2008), Diana (1917-1978), Richard (1921-1989), and Geoffrey (1925-1984). Alan also became the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland in 1918, a position he held until his death in 1930 at the age of fifty. Seven years after Alan's death, Helen, now the Dowager Duchess of Northumberland, became the Mistress of the Robes to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A year after she received this position, she was honored as a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). Her eldest son, the childless 9th Duke of Northumberland, died fighting in World War II so her second son, Hugh, succeeded his late brother as the 10th Duke of Northumberland. Meanwhile, two of her daughters became duchesses by marriage; her eldest, Elizabeth, married the 14th Duke of Hamilton and her youngest, Diana, married the 6th Duke of Sutherland. Helen retired as Mistress of the Robes in 1964 and died not long after on June 13, 1965 at the age of seventy-eight. 

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