Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford
The Duchess of Bedford
Anna Maria Stanhope
3 September 1783
|Died||3 July 1857(aged 73)|
|Burial place||Bedford chapel, Chenies, Buckinghamshire|
|Children||William Russell, 8th Duke of Bedford|
|Parent(s)||Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington|
Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford (3 September 1783 – 3 July 1857) was a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria, whom she served as a Lady of the Bedchamber between 1837 and 1841.
Anna was the daughter of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington, and Jane Fleming. She was the wife of Francis Russell, 7th Duke of Bedford (married in 1808), and sister-in-law to the prime minister John Russell. She was also the mother of William Russell, 8th Duke of Bedford. She became Duchess of Bedford in 1839, when her husband acceded to the dukedom.
The Duchess and her husband entertained the Queen at their country house Woburn Abbey in 1841. The Duchess was also the chief mourner at the funeral of The Princess Augusta Sophia in 1840.
The Duchess became involved in a scandal regarding Lady Flora Hastings. When Lady Flora complained of abdominal pain, the court physician initially stated that she was pregnant. As Lady Flora was unmarried this suspicion was covered up, but the Duchess and Baroness Lehzen who disliked her spread the rumour anyway, naming Sir John Conroy as the likely father. When she was later diagnosed with cancer of which she died shortly afterward, the Duchess, Baroness Lehzen and the Queen herself, who had initially believed the rumour, came under severe public criticism for blemishing the reputation of an innocent woman.
She died in 1857 and is buried in the Bedford chapel at Chenies in Buckinghamshire.
- ^ Lodge, Edmund (1861). The Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire (30th ed.). London: Hurst and Blackett. p. 54 at Google Books.
- ^ Bedford, Duke of. The History and Treasures of Woburn Abbey. Pitkin Pictorials; p. 11