Friday, July 9, 2010
Tart of the Week: Georgiana Fawkener Townshend
Another famous victim of a bad aristocratic marriage was Georgiana's own cousin, Georgiana Poyntz. Georgiana, or 'Jockey' was born in 1763, the second of seven children who all had the Poyntz longevity. Jockey had the misfortune of being the first daughter presented with a marriage opportunity. The lucky man was the boring William Fawkener who was rich and therefore a perfect match for Jockey in her parents' eyes. Jockey, however, was disgusted by the man and made her disinterest known. Sadly though, she was forced into the marriage.
Devonshire House. It was there that she met the rather dashing and witty Whig, Lord John Townshend. The two fell for each other and felt comfortable enough in the lax environment of the Devonshire Set to enter into a hot and heavy affair. By 1786 the two could no longer take the strain of the affair and revealed themselves which created some major dramz.
Fawkener flew into a fury upon realizing he had been cuckolded. He actually even accused Georgiana of aiding the couple in their adultery. Georgiana was enraged at the accusation and her husband was equally as upset, writing to Fawkener to stop pointing the finger at his innocent wife. Fawkener then accused Lord Melbourne of having something to do with the affair, resulting in a duel (which he lost but not at the price of his life). Meanwhile Jockey's parent's and aunt kept her prisoner in their home, trying to force her to give up Townshend. Jockey never relented.
If Fawkener was a clever man with a mind for revenge, he would have kept his married to Jockey. However, he gave his wife exactly what she was looking for. Fawkener sued for Crim Con (in which the Duke of Devonshire testified at the trial- I'm sure he loved that) and then had Parliament grant him a divorce. Jockey and Lord Townshend promptly married. Although Jockey caused a scandal, alienating herself from polite circles, I would say she found an even more advantageous marriage than her parents could get her; now she had a title!