Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston

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The Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston

Grace Elvina, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston.jpg
The Marchioness by John Singer Sargent, 1925.
Born
Grace Elvina Hinds

(1885-05-16)16 May 1885
Died29 June 1958(1958-06-29) (aged 73)
England
NationalityAmerican-British
Spouse(s)Alfredo Duggan
George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
ChildrenAlfred Duggan
Hubert Duggan
Grace Rice

Grace Elvina Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston, GBE (née Trillia Hinds; 16 May 1885 – 29 June 1958)[1] was a United States-born British marchioness and the second wife of George Curzon, British parliamentarian, cabinet minister, and former Viceroy of India.[2]

Early life[edit]

Curzon was born Trillia Hinds in 1885 in Decatur, Alabama, a daughter of Joseph Monroe Hinds (1842–1905), former United States Consul General to Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, and Lucia "Lucy" Anita Trillia (1846–1882), a former British subject from Montevideo, Uruguay.[3][4]

Grace grew up in a "great colonial mansion with 'banks of roses'" and although her father was a resident of Alabama, he fought with the Union Army as a captain of a cavalry company during the American Civil War.[5] The family "had a flair for social life," traveling often and introducing Grace to the prominent people of the age, including U.S. President Grover Cleveland at the White House.[5]

Personal life[edit]

On May 1, 1902, she married her first husband, Alfredo Huberto Duggan (1875–1915), a first generation Irish Argentinian from Buenos Aires. In 1905, Duggan was appointed to the Argentine Legation in London where the family thereafter moved. Together, they were the parents of three children, two sons and a daughter:[6]

When Grace was presented at Court, she stood behind fellow American Nancy Langhorne Shaw, who later became Viscountess Astor upon her marriage to Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor in 1906 (and later an MP in her own right).[5] She was also a friend of Lady Randolph Churchill, the American born mother of Winston Churchill, and Consuelo Vanderbilt, the wife of the 9th Duke of Marlborough.[5]

Grace Duggan was a wealthy woman after her husband's death in 1915, inheriting an estate of more than $18,000,000,[8] which included eighteen large estancias in South America. In 1916, Philip Alexius de László painted her as a widow.[11]

Second marriage[edit]

Portrait by László before her second marriage in 1916 in nurse's uniform

In 1917, aged 32, she became the second wife of Lord Curzon. In 1923, when Curzon was passed over for the office of Prime Minister partly on the advice of Arthur Balfour, Balfour joked that Curzon 'has lost the hope of glory but he still possesses the means of Grace".[12]

Curzon had three daughters from his first marriage to Mary Victoria Leiter, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston: Mary Irene, Lady Ravensdale (born 20 January 1896); Cynthia Blanche (born 23 August 1898), the first wife of Sir Oswald Mosley; and Alexandra Naldera (born 20 April 1904), the wife of Edward Dudley Metcalfe, the best friend, best man and equerry of King Edward VIII.[13][14]

Despite her fertility-related operations and several miscarriages, the couple did not produce an heir. This eroded their marriage, which ended in separation but not divorce.[15] Letters from Curzon to Grace in the early 1920s indicate that they remained devoted to each other.[16]

Oswald Mosley admitted privately to some people that he had had sexual relations with the lady (who was Mosley's first wife's step-mother) as well as with her other step-daughters, Alexandra and [Mary] Irene.[17]

Later life[edit]

In 1917, Curzon and her second husband bought Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, a 14th-century building that had been gutted during the English Civil War. They restored it extensively, then bequeathed it to the National Trust.[18]

In the 1922 New Year Honours List, she was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for "services rendered during the War to the British Red Cross Society, and to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association, the Belgian -Soldiers' Club, and Queen Alexandra's Nursing' Association."[19]

In 1925, soon before she was again widowed, her portrait was painted by the American artist John Singer Sargent. This oil on canvas painting, which measures 129.22 × 92.39 cm (50.9 × 36.4 in), was Sargent's last oil portrait. The painting was purchased in 1936 by the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire.[15]

Marchioness Curzon died on 29 June 1958 near Dover in South East England.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 1 July 1958. p. 1 July 1958.
  2. ^ Alabama; a Guide to the Deep South, Best Books on, 1941, p. 182, ISBN 978-1-62376-001-4
  3. ^ UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1916
  4. ^ "Marchioness Curzon Dies at 80; Long a Leader in British Society". The New York Times. 1 July 1958. p. 31. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Marchioness Curzon Dies at 80; Long a Leader in British.Society; Widow of Viceroy of India and Later Foreign Secretary Was Born in Alabama" (PDF). The New York Times. 1 July 1958. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Angus (2016). One Bold Deed of Open Treason: The Berlin Diary of Roger Casement 1914-1916. Merrion Press. p. 288. ISBN 9781785370595. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b "ALFRED DUGGAN, NOVELIST, IS DEAD; Wrote Historical Fiction -- Known for Scholarship" (PDF). The New York Times. April 5, 1964. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "HUBERT JOHN DUGGAN; Captain of Life Guards and M.P. -- His Mother an American" (PDF). The New York Times. October 26, 1943. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  9. ^ "DAUGHTER OF PEERESS IS REPORTED ELOPING; Despite Denial by Marchioness Curzon, London Papers Say Miss Duggan Has Left Home" (PDF). The New York Times. March 13, 1927. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Wedding of Miss Caroline Rice", Dover Express (4811), p. 8, 13 October 1950 – via British Newspaper Archive
  11. ^ "Grace Elvina Hinds (1877–1958), Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston". Art UK.
  12. ^ Blake, Robert (1997). The Conservative Party from Peel to Major (Third ed.). London: Arrow. p. 213.
  13. ^ Higham, Charles (1989). The Duchess of Windsor: the secret life. Charter Books. p. 106. ISBN 1-55773-227-2. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  14. ^ Allen, Martin (2002). Hidden Agenda: How the Duke of Windsor Betrayed the Allies. New York: M. Evans and Co. p. 70. ISBN 0-333-90181-9. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  15. ^ a b Currier Museum of Art, Currier Museum of Art, archived from the original on 28 September 2007
  16. ^ Reminiscences by the Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston. Hutchinson & Co 1955.
  17. ^ "Leiter: The Curzon Daughters | Classic Chicago Magazine". Classic Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  18. ^ Channel 4 history microsites: Bodiam Castle
  19. ^ Notice of GBE honour, thegazette.co.uk; accessed 13 May 2016.