Cynthia Cary Van Pelt Russell

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Cynthia Cary Van Pelt Russell (born October 16, 1924)[1] is an American socialite, who was part of American 'High Society' in New York and Newport, Rhode Island,[2] and is a first cousin once removed of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Early life[edit]

She is the daughter of Guy Fairfax Cary (1879–1950) and Cynthia Roche (1884–1966), who married in 1922.[3][4] Her brother was Guy Fairfax Cary II (1923–2004), who did not marry.[5]

Her maternal grandparents were James Roche, 3rd Baron Fermoy (1851–1920) and Frances Ellen Work (1857–1947), and her mother's siblings were Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy (the maternal grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales), and the Hon. Francis Burke Roche.[6] Her paternal grandparents were Elizabeth Miller Potter (1856–1945) and Clarence Cary (1845–1911), who grew up at Vaucluse plantation with his sister, Constance Cary (1843–1920).[7] Elizabeth Miller Potter was a granddaughter of Alonzo Potter. Her great-grandparents, Archibald Cary and Monimia Fairfax were a Southern planter aristocrat family. Archibald Cary was the son of Wilson Jefferson Cary and Virginia Randolph.[8] Monimia Fairfax was the daughter of Thomas Fairfax, 9th Lord Fairfax of Cameron.[9]


Personal life[edit]

She was married first to lawyer Charles Bingham Penrose Van Pelt (1922–2003),[10] the son of Andrew Van Pelt and Sarah Hannah Boles Penrose. He graduated from the Groton School, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and served in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence in the Pacific during World War II.[11] Before their divorce, they had two sons and daughter:[12]

  • Peter Turner Van Pelt, a writer.[13]
  • Guy Fairfax Cary Van Pelt (b. 1957), who married Mary McGill duBose Adickes, the daughter of Mrs. Thomas Walter Blake and David Pryor Adickes, in 2000.[14]
  • Abby Ann Van Pelt, who married Jay R. Feldman, in 1982.[15]

She later married Edwin F. Russell (1914–2001), an American newspaper publisher.[16] He had previously been married to Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill,[17] daughter of John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough from 1943 until their divorce in 1966. Winston Spencer Churchill, a grandson of the prime minister, served as a page at the wedding. He married Iris Paine after Lady Sarah and before Cynthia.


Mrs. Russell's home in Newport, "Elm Court" [18] was featured in a Style article of The New York Times about the updating of classic homes in that rarified community.[19] She was an active member of the Preservation Society of Newport County.[20]

Cynthia Cary Russell is also a grand niece of the writer Constance Cary.


  1. ^ Roberts, Gary (1984). American ancestors and cousins of the Princess of Wales. Genealogical Pub. Co. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mrs. Burden To Wed Guy F. Cary Today. Widow of Arthur Scott Burden Will Marry New York Lawyer at Newport. Bride Is the Only Daughter of Mrs. Burke-Roche and a Sister of Baron Fermoy.". New York Times. July 24, 1922. Retrieved August 28, 2009. The social colony here received a big surprise today when it became known that Mrs. Arthur Scott Burden of 147 East Sixty-first Street, New York, and Guy Fairfax Cary of 54 Park Avenue, New York, are to be married at one o'clock tomorrow afternoon at Elm Court, the Summer home of Mrs. Burden's mother on Bellevue Avenue. 
  4. ^ "Mrs. Burden Weds Guy Fairfax Cary. Seventy Relatives and Friends at Widow's Marriage to New York Lawyer at Roche Home. Amid 11,000 Columbia Roses. Bridal Pair Leave by Motor for R. W. Goelet's Fishing Lodge in Canada to Spend Honeymoon.". New York Times. July 25, 1922. Retrieved August 28, 2009. In the presence of about seventy relatives and close friends in the reception room of Elm Court, the Summer home of Mrs. Burke Roche, on Bellevue Avenue, Mrs. Cynthia Roche Burden, Mrs. Roche's ... 
  5. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths — CARY, GUY FAIRFAX". The New York Times. November 19, 2004. 
  6. ^ "Mrs. Burden now a Citizen. The Former Cynthia Roche Takes Out Her Naturalization Papers". New York Times. July 19, 1908. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Mrs. Constance Cary Harrison," in Raymond, Ida; Mary Tardy (1870). Southland Writers: Biographical and Critical Sketches of the Living Female Writers of the South. With Extracts from Their Writings, Vol. 2. Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger. p. 775. 
  8. ^ Pecquet du Bellet, Louise; Edward Jaquelin; Martha Cary Jaquelin (1907). Some Prominent Virginia Families, Vol. 2. Bell. p. 81. 
  9. ^ McMurdo Whitemore, Madeline. "The Monticello Graveyard 1837–1883". The Monticello Association. Archived from the original on September 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
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  12. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths — CARY, GUY FAIRFAX". The New York Times. November 19, 2004. 
  13. ^ "Death Penalty: Peter T. Van Pelt: 9781413440485: Books". Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  14. ^ "WEDDINGS; Mary Adickes, Guy Van Pelt". The New York Times. 26 March 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "Abby Ann Van Pelt Is Bride". The New York Times. 4 July 1982. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
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