Georgina Ward, Countess of Dudley
|The Right Honourable
Georgina, Countess of Dudley
The Countess of Dudley in the 1880s
|Born||Georgina Elizabeth Moncreiffe
9 August 1846
Dunbarney, Perthshire, Scotland
|Died||2 February 1929
Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, London
|Spouse(s)||William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley (m. 1865; d. 1885)|
William Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley
John Hubert Ward
|Awards||Royal Red Cross
Dame of the Order of Saint John
Early life and family
Georgina was born in Dunbarney, Perthshire, Scotland – "the third of a series of sisters all famous for their good looks" – to Sir Thomas Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 7th Baronet, and Lady Louisa Hay-Drummond, daughter of Thomas Hay-Drummond, 11th Earl of Kinnoull. Her sister Harriet became Lady Mordaunt; another sister, Louisa, married John Stewart-Murray, 7th Duke of Atholl.
In the summer of 1865, the engagement was announced between the 17-year-old Georgina and the 48-year-old William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley, a wealthy land and mine owner. The earl had been widowed since November 1851 as his first wife, Selina Constance (née de Burgh), died six months into their marriage. Georgina and the earl married on 21 November 1865 in London, and Dudley was proud to show off his beautiful new wife across Europe:
|“||Her loveliness was something quite apart. Scores of women may be said to have challenged her supremacy, and to have been her superiors at certain points, but her exquisitely shaped and poised head, her flowerlike complexion, her matchlessly beautiful eyes,, her dignity of carriage, even in early youth, made her fame to ring through Europe. At Compiègne the Empress Eugénie and her Court, which consisted of all that was fair in France, confessed themselves completely outshone. In Vienna the crowds gathered in the Plaza to watch the Imperial carriage pass to and fro admitted that their hitherto peerless Empress paled before the Englishwoman seated by her side.||”|
|— Obituary of Lady Dudley in The Times, 4 February 1929|
Over the course of their marriage, Georgina and Dudley had one daughter and six sons. Dudley spoiled his wife with the finest clothes and jewels, but gave her no say in the running of their magnificent homes at Witley Court and Dudley House.
|“||For 14 years this queen of beauty lived in something like a gilded cage, from which, however, there was no wish to escape. Lord Dudley, a man of cultured taste and many accomplishments, was benevolent and bountiful, but whimsically despotic. He insisted on his wife's wearing full dress, even at the remotest shooting lodge in the Highlands; he loaded her with gorgeous jewels, some of which were the subject of a remarkable robbery; he bought the famous Coventry vases for a birthday present; he gave her everything — always excepting any measure of responsibility.||”|
|— Obituary of Lady Dudley in The Times, 4 February 1929|
In 1879, the earl suffered a stroke, on the same day they had been preparing for a large party with a poetry reading by actress Sarah Bernhardt. The countess at once took charge of both the management of the family estates and his health. She dutifully nursed him and stayed by his side, with the exception of when business required her elsewhere. She was only rarely seen at social engagements without him.
He died of pneumonia on 7 May 1885.
After the earl's death, Lady Dudley resumed a more active social calendar. She never remarried despite many offers for her hand in marriage, with a son of Prince Bismarck among her reported suitors. She remained wholly dedicated to her family and sons' education, as well as to national service and charitable organisations.
During the Boer War and World War I, she served with the British Red Cross Society. In late 1900, she was involved in running the Mayfair nursing home for disabled officers under its auspices. Her actions at that time proved to be pivotal in ensuring Captain Trenchard (later to become Marshal of the Royal Air Force) recovered from a wound he had received in action. From 1914 to 1918, she worked nine hours per day at the convalescent hospital, taking care of the needs of the injured. She lost her youngest son in the early days of the war.
She died at Pembroke Lodge in February 1929 at the age of 82, having spent more than half of her life as a widow.
The earl and countess had six sons and one daughter. Their fourth son, Capt. Reginald Ward, died in 1904 after an appendectomy in London. Their youngest son, Lieutenant Gerald Ward, a first class-cricketer for Marylebone Cricket Club, was killed in action in 1914 while serving with the 1st Life Guards in  at Zandvoorde, Belgium.
- William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley (25 May 1867 – 29 June 1932)
- Hon. Sir John Hubert Ward (20 March 1870 – 2 December 1938)
- Hon. Robert Arthur Ward (23 February 1871 – 14 June 1942)
- Lady Edith Amelia Ward, later Lady Wolverton CBE (16 September 1872 – 6 June 1956), married Frederick Glyn, 4th Baron Wolverton
- Captain Hon. Reginald Ward DSO (11 June 1874 – 7 March 1904)
- Captain Hon. Cyril Augustus Ward (31 January 1876 – 11 January 1930)
- Lieutenant Hon. Gerald Ernest Francis Ward MVO (9 November 1877 – 30 October 1914)
- "Georgiana Countess of Dudley". The New York Public Library Digital Collections. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Georgina Lady Dudley: A Great Lady and Her Work". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 4 February 1929. p. 11.
- "Obituary: Lord Dudley". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 8 May 1885. p. 11.
- Griffiths, Arthur (1889). "Jewels stolen in transit". Mysteries of the Police and Crime. vol. 2. pp. 254–255.
- "Lady Dudley's Jewels. The Story of the Theft". The West Australian. 28 July 1891.
- The London Gazette: . 26 June 1908.
- Boyle, Andrew (1962). "Chapter 3". Trenchard Man of Vision. St. James's Place, London: Collins. pp. 58–59.
- "Death of Georgina, Lady Dudley: A Great Lady of the Victorian Age". Glasgow Herald. 9 February 1929.
- Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. Burke's Peerage. 1914. p. 658. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
- "Obituary: Captain The Hon. Reginald Ward". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 8 March 1904. p. 4.
- "Gerald Ward profile at". CricketArchive.com. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Ward, the Hon. Gerald Ernest Francis". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- The Edinburgh Gazette: . 15 March 1901.
- The London Gazette: . 22 June 1928.
- The London Gazette: . 24 June 1902.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Georgina Ward, Countess of Dudley.|
- BBC Your Paintings – Georgina Ward (1846–1929), Countess of Dudley (Oil on canvas full length portrait of Georgina Ward)