Sunday, 5 April 2009
The Duchess of Devonshire...Part 1
I have just finished reading Amanda Foreman's wonderful biography 'Georgiana-Duchess of Devonshire', published in 1998. All I can say is that I've been truly captivated by this extraordinary woman and her high octane life. Georgiana was born into the Spencer family at Althorp on 7th June, 1757. Georgiana, despite being closely followed by a baby brother, was her mother's life-long favourite.
Georgiana had a typical aristocratic upbringing-her life governed by the seasons and moving from house to house depending on what time of the year it was. As with all aristocratic families the Spencer's regularly took holidays on the continent to enjoy the benefits of a warmer climate. The whole Spencer family embarked on a Grand Tour in 1772 when Georgiana was 15. Society everywhere admired Georgiana wherever she went-Georgiana was beautiful and graceful, even as a 15 year old girl.
During this tour the Spencer's moved to Spa in 1773-this is where Georgiana met the twenty-four year old Duke of Devonshire. After Georgiana had danced with the Duke several times and sat next to him at various dinners, she was quite 'in love' with the idea of being his wife. The Duke of Devonshire was rather inept in public, not very talkative or one to show his emotions but Georgiana thought that, like her father, the Duke would be different in private.
In 1774 talks about a marriage between the Duke and Georgiana were concluded-it was set-Georgiana would be the Duchess of Devonshire. Georgiana's reaction to the proposal convinced her mother and father that she was truly in love with the Duke, however, Amanda Foreman believes that Georgiana reacted in such a happy way because she knew the marriage would please her parents.
Georgiana was married on her 17th birthday in 1774 to the Duke in what was being dubbed the 'wedding of the year' by society. There were high hopes for the marriage; of course, one high hope would prevail over all others-the hope that Georgiana would give the Duke an heir.