Friday, October 15, 2010

Little G, the Daughter of the Duchess of Devonshire

Castle Howard, Yorkshire
The snuff box sold at the Duke of Devonshire’s attic sale showed a picture of the most famous Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, and her eldest child, Georgiana Dorothy Cavendish. (See picture in post below.) The Duchess, who was married to the 5th Duke of Devonshire, was bound to him in a loveless marriage, one in which he showed no affection for her, probably because he was showering his love on the Duchess’s dearest friend, Lady Elizabeth Forster, his mistress of 25 years, and co-resident of Chatsworth. Lady Elizabeth became the Duke’s second Duchess upon the death of Georgiana in 1806.

Duchess and Little G by Reynolds
 But what happened to Georgiana's little girl? Little G married the 6th Earl of Carlisle and took up residence at their beautiful home in Yorkshire, Castle Howard, the setting for the television series, Brideshead Revisited. The earl served in the moderate Tory government of George Canning. However, Carlisle split with the Tories over electoral reform and later served as a member of the cabinet in the Whig administration of Lord Grey. Ironically, Lord Grey had had an affair with Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, and together they had had a child, Eliza Courtney Ellice. Lord Grey was married to Mary Ponsonby, a descendant of the 3rd Duke of Devonshire. Are we clear on this?


  1. There was a lot of inbreeding amongst the English aristocracy. It's always been believed there was a greater incidence of autism amongst the English aristocracy than other sectors of society.

    Stiff upper lip, haughtiness, no, just autism.

    Thanks for this interesting post, Mary.

    PS I always thought Darcy was a little on the autistic side.

  2. Tony, How interesting. I know that there were a lot of mentally unstable royals in Europe because of inbreeding, no doubt. But it makes you wonder about autism.