Friday, May 29, 2009
Tart of the Week: Sarah Countess of Tyrconnel
Sarah Hussey was born into money which meant two thing: a prestigious marriage and scandal. Being a grand heiress, poor-ish nobles were lining up to marry Sarah by the time she was sixteen. The man who won Sarah's hand (and money) was George Carpenter, the earl of Tyrconnel, an Irish peer. George has already been married, which made Sarah his second countess. What happened to the first countess you may ask. Well, Lady Frances was still very much alive; she had just gone through the pricey process of divorce, or rather, George had gone through it, to do away with her.
Sarah picked up where the former Lady Tyrconnel left off. She quickly got bored with her older husband and went out partying and man-scouting. She seemed to have hit the jackpot in 1788 when she began an affair with Prince Frederick, Duke of York. As with just about all royal affairs, the press had a field day, boosting Sarah up to celebrity status. The strangest aspect of the whole affair: both Sarah's father and husband were blooming with pride. When Frederick broke off the affair a year later, the two men were more upset than Sarah. It sounds like something out of The Tudors, no?
Sarah wasn't one to mope around about broken relationships. She moved on. The next man in her life was John, Earl of Strathmore, son of none other than Mary Eleanor Bowes. Once again, satirical prints loved the pretty little countess' affair and it publicized for all to see. But this time, the affair seemed to mean a little more to Sarah, she loved John. Finally, one day she just up and left George and went away to live in sin with John. Afterall, she was an independant woman. When the artist John Downman was portraying her, he noted such. Sadly, Sarah's legacy was not to last very long. She died in 1800 from a bad cold at the age of thirty-seven. Her final resting place is the illustrious Westminster Abbey.