Margaret Mercer Elphinstone
Margaret Mercer Elphinstone, Comtesse de Flahault, Viscountess Keith, and Baroness Nairne (1788–1867), was a Scottish society hostess.
Margaret was the only child of George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith, admiral, by his first wife, Jane, only child and heiress of William Mercer of Aldie, Perth, was born in Hertford Street, Mayfair, 12 June 1788, and in 1789 lost her mother, to whose right to the barony of Nairne (at that time in attainder) she then succeeded.
Margaret was early brought into the circle of the Princess Charlotte of Wales, whose attached friend and confidante she became; and this position raised a rumour against her (which, however, she was able entirely to refute) that she betrayed the princess's secrets to the Prince Regent.
On 20 June 1817, at Edinburgh, she married Charles Joseph, comte de Flahaut, aide-de-camp to Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been educated in this country, and had taken refuge here at the Bourbon Restoration. The comtesse took a prominent place in society. Her husband held office under the Bonapartes. He was ambassador successively at Rome, at Vienna, and (1860) at the Court of St. James (London), and finally resided at Paris as chancellor of the Legion of Honour. The comtesse, who was one of the lady patronesses of Almack's and who was a prominent member of polite society, took part in all his social and political work.(Humphreys 1889, p. 325)
The comtesse died at Palais de la Légion d'honneur in Paris, on 11 November 1867, aged 78. She had five daughters, the elder of whom (who succeeded to her English, Scotch, and Irish titles) was Emily, Dowager Marchioness of Lansdowne at the time of her death succeeded as Lady Nairne.
- Reynolds, K. D. (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8751. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Humphreys, Jennett (1889). "Elphinstone, Margaret Mercer". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 17. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 325–326. Endnotes:
- Allardyce's Memoirs of G. K. Elphinstone, 58, 418–19;
- Gent. Mag. lxxxvii. ii. 81;
- The Times, 15 Nov. 1867, p. 7, col. 2;
- Russell's Moore, iii. 98, 99, 104, 111, 112, &c., vii. 186, &c.;
- see also Miss Knight's Autobiography.