Gwladys Robinson, Marchioness of Ripon

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Lady Constance Gladys circa 1915
Lady Constance Gladys by Adolf de Meyer,1910

Constance Gwladys Robinson, Marchioness of Ripon (22 April 1859 – 28 October 1917[1]), was a British patron of the arts. She was a close friend of Oscar Wilde, who dedicated his play A Woman of No Importance to her; other celebrated friends included Nellie Melba, whose success in London was largely due to Lady Ripon's support, Nijinsky and Diaghilev.


Lady Ripon was born in 1859 to Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea and his wife, Elizabeth, a writer and notable convert to Catholicism.

Lady Ripon married St George Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale, and had a daughter, Gladys Mary Juliet. [2]

After his death she married Frederick Robinson, 2nd Marquess of Ripon, then known by his courtesy title of Earl de Grey. At this time, she was known as Gladys de Grey. They had no children.

Lady Ripon was a patron of the arts, supporting the restoration of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. [3] She exerted great influence through the impresario Augustus Harris, because of her ability to persuade important people to purchase season tickets in advance.[4]

She died in October 1917, aged 58. Lord Ripon survived her by six years and died in September 1923, aged 71. They are buried together in the Ripon family tomb at Studley Royal Church.


Lady Ripon was descended from George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke; his mother was the Russian-born Countess Catherine Woronzow (or Vorontsov), daughter of the Russian ambassador to Britain, Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov.[5][6] Her mother was the granddaughter of Sir William à Court, 1st Baronet.

Most of Lady Ripon's six siblings were notable:

  1. Mary Catherine (1849–1935), who married, in 1873, the modernist theologian, Baron Friedrich von Hügel.
  2. George Robert Charles Herbert (1850–1895), who became the 13th Earl of Pembroke.
  3. Elizabeth Maud (1851–1933), who married, in 1872, the composer, Sir Charles Hubert Parry.
  4. Sidney Herbert (1853–1913), a Member of Parliament, who succeeded his brother as the 14th Earl of Pembroke.
  5. Michael Henry Herbert (The Hon. Sir Michael Herbert, KCMG, CB, PC) (1857–1904), a diplomat who ended his career as British Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington DC, after whom the town of Herbert in Saskatchewan, Canada, is named. One of his sons was Sir Sidney Herbert, 1st Baronet.


  1. ^ Geograph
  2. ^ Memorial
  3. ^ "Ripon Civic Society". Ripon Gazette. 
  4. ^ John Rosselli. "Gladys de Grey". In L. Root, Deane. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ Woronzow, HumphrysFamilyTree, accessed April 4, 2012
  6. ^ Lundy, Darryl. Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea,, accessed 23 May 2012