Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Duke of Bedford Causes a Stir

"Indeed we are all undone,"

These were Georgiana's distressed words to Lady Melbourne in 1802.  Political catastrophe was first thing on the two ladies minds; she continued, "no possible event could have so thoroughly overtuned the habit of our society as this.'

The Duke of Bedford was considering, do I dare say it? 'tis truly horrible...a Tory for a wife. 

Yes, the prominent Whig was not just crossing over to the dark side, he was crossing over to the deep-dark side; he was considering the Duchess of Gordon's daughter as a wife.  That would mean having Tories for in-laws.  Georgiana saw him as good as turned just from mere proximity to that Tory temptress!

She also blamed herself for this whole debacle. Bedford had once been after her eldest daughter, Little G but she instead ended up marrying Lord Morpeth.  He had also been canoodling with the widely available Lady Melbourne for fun.  Although Little G marrying some other dude didn't hurt Bedford's feelings, Georgiana not paying him back money she owed him when he was short on cash did.  He refused to speak to her, and not long after was courting Georgina Gordon. 

Georgiana and Lady Melbourne expected the worst but they certainly didn't expect the duke to suddenly drop dead while playing tennis three weeks later.  Neither did the notorious husband-hunter Duchess of Gordon; she and her daughter were severely lampooned by satirical artists for their fruitless labour of love.

3 comments:

  1. Who painted this portrait of the Duke? Love the red velvet...

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  2. Why, it's the handiwork of the one and only Sir Joshua Reynolds! I was sorry I couldn't find an image with better quality.

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  3. Thought it was JR - but when I'd googled His Grace, this portrait never turned up. Must be tucked away in some remote private collection. Thanks for hunting him down, even in lousy resolution. :)

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