Elizabeth, Countess de Gramont

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The Countess de Gramont
Lely (1670) - Elizabeth Hamilton (1640-1708).jpg
Born 1640
Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland
Died 3 June 1708(1708-06-03)
Title comtesse de Gramont
Tenure 1664-1708
Known for Windsor Beauties
Nationality British

Elizabeth, Countess de Gramont (née Hamilton; 1640 – 3 June 1708), was an Irish-born courtier and a lady-in-waiting (Dame du Palais) to Louis XIV's queen consort, Maria Theresa of Spain.[1] She was one of the Windsor Beauties painted by Sir Peter Lely.

Biography[edit]

Elizabeth Hamilton was born in Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland. She became a member of the English court in 1661. She was described as a great beauty and became known for her judgement, charm and sensibility, and she was seen as witty and careful with her words as she, reportedly, said no more than she thought.[2] She also loved practical jokes and mischief. On one occasion, she played a practical joke on two British maids of honour, Lady Muskerry and Miss Blague.[2] She was much courted, by — among others — the Duke of York, the Duke of Richmond and the heir of Norfolk, but she reportedly rejected them all.[2]

She was married in London to Philibert, Count de Gramont, a French exile at the English court. "La belle Hamilton" was one of the great beauties of the English court, and was, according to her brother's optimistic account, able to fix the count's affections. Gramont (a younger half-brother of Antoine III, duc de Gramont) had courted her for some time and it was understood that they would be married. When Gramont was given permission to return to France, however, he left in haste, giving the impression that he would not honour his intention to marry Hamilton. Her brothers therefore stopped him on his way and pressured him to return and marry her.[2]

She followed her spouse to France in 1669, where she was made Dame du Palais to the French queen. She was a woman of considerable wit, and held her own at the court of Louis XIV, but her husband pursued his gallant exploits to the close of a long life, being, said Ninon de l'Enclos, the only old man who could affect the follies of youth without being ridiculous. She was pointed out as a client to La Voisin, and was thereby incriminated in the affaire des poisons in 1679. In 1696, her spouse was afflicted with a grave illness, and after he recovered, he turned to a religious life, in which she followed him.[2] She died one year after being widowed.

Family[edit]

Her father was Sir George Hamilton, and her mother was Mary Butler, sister of James, Duke of Ormonde. She and her husband Count Philibert had two daughters:

  • Claude Charlotte de Gramont (died 14 May 1739), who married Henry Stafford-Howard, 1st Earl of Stafford
  • Marie Elizabeth de Gramont (born 27 December 1667), who became an abbess[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William Anderson (1877). The Scottish nation. 2. A. Fullarton & co. 
  2. ^ a b c d e William Henry Davenport Adams (1865). Famous beauties and historic women, a gallery of croquis biographiques. 
  3. ^ "Elizabeth Hamilton". The Peerage. 22 January 2011. 

External links[edit]