Lennox sisters

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The Lennox sisters were eighteenth-century British aristocrats, the daughters of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond (1701–50) and his wife the former Lady Sarah Cadogan (1705–1751). Four sisters — Caroline (1723–74), Emily (1731–1814), Louisa (1743–1821), and Sarah (1745–1826) — married prominent men and attracted varying degrees of admiration or notoriety. A fifth sister died aged 19, and two others in infancy.


They were the daughters of the Second Duke of Richmond and of Sarah, a daughter of William Cadogan, the army general. Their paternal grandfather was an illegitimate son of Charles II.

Lennox sisters's ancestors in three generations
Lennox sisters Father
Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond
Father's father
Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond
Father's father's father
Charles II of England
Father's father's mother
Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth
Father's mother
Anne Brudenell
Father's mother's father
Francis Brudenell, Lord Brudenell
Father's mother's mother
Frances Saville
Sarah Lennox, Duchess of Richmond
Mother's father
William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan
Mother's father's father
Henry Cadogan
Mother's father's mother
Bridget Waller
Mother's mother
Margaret Cecilia Munter
Mother's mother's father
Jan Munter, de Jonge, Heer van Zanen en Raaphorst
Mother's mother's mother
Margaretha Trip

Caroline (1723–1774)[edit]

Caroline, 1757/8, Sir Joshua Reynolds

Georgiana Caroline Lennox was born on 27 March 1723. In 1744, at the age of 21, she eloped with Henry Fox, a Whig politician. He was the brother of Stephen, first Earl of Ilchester, and son of politician Sir Stephen Fox. Though she was eventually reconciled with her parents, she was cut out of her father's will. In 1762, she was raised to the peerage as Baroness Holland of Holland in the County of Lincolnshire. Her husband became Baron Holland of Foxley in the County of Wiltshire the next year. Her three surviving sons (one other died young) were dissipated, caused her great grief over their gambling, and this may have contributed to her death. She died on 24 July 1774, soon after Henry Fox.

Emily (1731–1814)[edit]

Emily, 1753, Sir Joshua Reynolds

Emilia Mary Lennox was born on 6 October 1731 and died on 27 March 1814.[1] On 7 February 1747 she married James Fitzgerald, 20th Earl of Kildare and 1st Duke of Leinster, becoming Emily Fitzgerald, Duchess of Leinster. The couple had at least sixteen children, twelve of whom survived to adulthood. In 1774, a year after her husband died in 1773, Emily outraged society in Ireland by marrying her children's tutor, William Ogilvie, in France. With Ogilvie she had four more children. The couple returned from France in 1779.[2]

Louisa (1743–1821)[edit]

Louise Augusta Lennox was born on December 5, 1743. On the death of her father in 1750 and mother in 1751, when she was eight years old, she went to Ireland to live with her elder sister Emily. In 1758 she married Thomas Conolly, of Castletown, County Kildare, becoming Louise Conolly. The couple had no children. Louisa was involved in charitable works in Castletown, including the building of an industrial school and several other buildings. She managed her husband's estate after his death.[3]

Sarah (1745–1826)[edit]

Sarah, 1765, Sir Joshua Reynolds

Sarah Lennox was raised in Ireland by her sister Emily, her parents having died when she was six years old. She caught the eye of the young George III, who hinted that he was considering her as a wife but never proposed. In 1762 she married Charles Bunbury. They had no issue. Lady Sarah embarked on an adulterous affair with Lord William Gordon and bore him a daughter, called Louisa Bunbury, in 1768. Bunbury divorced her in 1776. In 1781, Lady Sarah contracted a much happier second marriage with Hon. George Napier, by whom she had eight children.

Cecilia (1750–1769)[edit]

Cecily Margaret Lennox, sometimes called Cecilia, was born in 1750. Her parents died in 1750 and 1751 when she was only a year old, and Cecilia, along with her sisters Louisa and Sarah, was raised by her sister Emily in Ireland. As a young woman, she fell ill with a wasting disease—possibly tuberculosis—and her older siblings sent her first to Lyons Gate and then to France in a vain effort to recover her strength. She died in Paris on 13 November 1769.

Other sisters and brothers[edit]

While five Lennox sisters lived to adulthood, three others died in childhood: Louisa Margaret (1725–1728), Anne (1726–1727), and Margaret (1739–1741). The Lennox sisters had two brothers who lived to adulthood, Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond (1735–1806), and Lord George Lennox (1737–1805), as well as two others who died in infancy.


  • In 1999, the BBC adapted Stella Tillyard's book as a six-part miniseries called Aristocrats.


  1. ^ National Portrait Gallery
  2. ^ Seamus Deane; Angela Bourke; Andrew Carpenter; Jonathan Williams (2002). "Emily Fitzgerald, Duchess of Leinster". In Angela Bourke. The Field Day anthology of Irish writing. NYU Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780814799079. 
  3. ^ Seamus Deane; Angela Bourke; Andrew Carpenter; Jonathan Williams (2002). "Louise Conolly". In Angela Bourke. The Field Day anthology of Irish writing. NYU Press. p. 67. ISBN 9780814799079. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Stella Tillyard (1994). Aristocrats. Caroline, Emily, Louise, and Sarah Lennox 1740–1832. London: Chatto and Windus. 
  • Emily Fitzgerald (1953–1957). Brian Fitzgerald, ed. Correspondence of Emily, Duchess of Leinster. Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission. 
  • Brian Fitzgerald (1950). Lady Louisa Conolly 1743–1821. London: Staples. 
  • Brian Fitzgerald (1949). Emily, Duchess of Leinster. London: Staples.