Elizabeth was quite the catch of the court and the fact that she was one of the Princess of Wales' maids of honour only added to her allure. She had many admirers. One of those admirers was James 6th Duke of Hamilton, who at the time was a minor and couldn't marry without his parents' consent. He left for the grand tour with promises to return and wed Elizabeth (he would go on to marry Elizabeth Gunning on a whim) but her hormones were too wild to be able to wait that long. The next man to come along was Augustus Hervey and he really had nothing to boast of. Okay in the looks department and a zero in the heir department, Augustus was the second son of John Hervey and therefore joined the navy knowing his peer prospects were grim. It was lust at first sight when the two met at Lainston House and it was there they made the rash decision to marry ASAP. James Who of Hamilton?
|The remains of the chapel|
Sneaking into a medieval chapel on Lainston grounds under the cover of darkness Elizabeth and Augustus sealed their fate. Ironically the chapel was rarely used except for a mausoleum. A single candle was used in the secret ceremony and the amount of witnesses you could count on one hand. Without wasting a moment the couple immediately set out to consummate the marriage...since that was the only reason they got married in the first place.
Three days after the ceremony and bunny-like bedroom activities, duty called Augustus back to the sea. In this case, absence did not make the heart grow fonder and Elizabeth chose to forget that the marriage ever happened, firstly to keep her maid of honour job and then because she regretted her hasty decision. Augustus was surprised by his wife's rejection at first and then just shrugged it off and forgot about it too.
Elizabeth almost got away with the forgotten marriage too since there was no paperwork documenting the event. However the greedy Elizabeth royally screwed herself when, years later, she visited the dying reverend who performed the marriage in order to gain paperwork proving they were married. Why did Elizabeth do this when she herself had it set in her mind that the marriage never happened? The covetous tart heard that Augustus may actually have a chance at the Earldom of Bristol after all. In the end her actions screwed her. She married the Duke of Kingston so she didn't need that paperwork to earn her a title after all, however it did earn her a trial for bigamy.