Consuelo Montagu, Duchess of Manchester

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Her Grace
The Duchess of Manchester
Maria Consuelo (née Yznaga), Duchess of Manchester.jpg
Personal details
Born Consuelo Yznaga
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died 20 November 1909 (aged 56)
5 Grosvenor Square Mayfair,[1] London, United Kingdom
Spouse(s) George Montagu, 8th Duke of Manchester
(m. 1876; his death 1892)
Children William Montagu, 9th Duke of Manchester
Lady Jacqueline Montagu
Lady Alice Montagu
Parents Antonio Modesto Yznaga del Valle
Ellen Maria Clement

Consuelo Montagu, Duchess of Manchester (1853 – 20 November 1909), née Consuelo Yznaga[2][3][4] (also spelled Iznaga by some sources[5]) was a Cuban-American woman who married George Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, and later became the Duchess of Manchester.

Early life[edit]

Consuelo Yznaga, Duchess of Manchester, John Singer Sargent, 1907

Consuelo Yznaga was born in 1853, in New York City, the second of four children of diplomat Antonio Modesto Yznaga del Valle (1823-1892) and Ellen Maria Clement (1833-1908).[6] Her father was from an old Cuban family who owned a large plantation (Torre Iznaga)[7] and sugar mills in the vicinity of Trinidad, Cuba; they had connections to several Spanish aristocratic families.

Her mother, Ellen Maria Clement, was the daughter of Samuel Clement, a steamboat captain, and Maria Augusta Little. She grew up at Ravenswood Plantation[8] in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, which she inherited when her parents died. Her parents acquired properties in New York and in Newport, Rhode Island, while retaining the plantations in Cuba and Louisiana. Her sister, Naticia Yznaga, married Sir John Pepys Lister-Kaye, 3rd Baronet (1853–1924) in 1881.[9] Her brother, Fernando Yznaga (1869–1901),[10] was married to Mary Virginia "Jennie" Smith, sister of Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, Consuelo's childhood best friend.[11]


In her teenage years Consuelo became known on New York's social scene as one of the group called the Buccaneers.[12][5]

During her marriage, Lady Mandeville, as she was known, engaged herself in charitable organizations. Poverty was a cause that concerned her, and she was also interested in education and health.

The Duchess of Manchester was a renowned beauty as were her sisters, Emilie Yznaga and Natividad (Natica) Yznaga.[13] The latter was the wife of Sir John Pepys Lister-Kaye, 3rd Baronet. The Duchess was a celebrated society figure, belonging to the intimate circle of Edward VII of the United Kingdom, formerly the Prince of Wales.[14] Shortly before her death, she entertained King Edward and Nicholas II, the Czar of Russia, while the Czar was on a visit in England.[15]

Upon her brother's death in 1901, he left her $2,000,000.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In the fall of 1875, she met George Montagu, Viscount Mandeville (1853–1892),[17] at her father's country home in Morristown, New Jersey.[18]

On 22 May 1876 in Grace Church, Manhattan, New York City, Consuelo married Viscount Mandeville. After their marriage, they settled on the Duke of Manchester's estate in County Armagh in Ireland. They had a son and twin daughters:[19]

  • William Montagu, 9th Duke of Manchester (1877–1947), who married, firstly, Helena Zimmerman, in 1900, and had issue. They divorced in 1931, and later that same year, he married Kathleen Dawes (d. 1966), on 17 December 1931.
  • Lady Jacqueline Mary Alva Montagu, known as "May" (1879–1895),[20] who, although not diagnosed before she died, is commonly believed to have died of consumption.
  • Lady Alice Eleanor Louise Montagu, known as "Nell" (1879–1900),[21] who died of consumption.[22]

The Duchess died of neuritis on 20 November 1909. At her bedside upon her death were her sisters, Lady Naticia Lister-Kaye and Emily Yznaga.[18] Her estate, valued at $2,493,131, was left to her various family members.[14]


On her death in 1909,[23] the Duchess bequeathed a bracelet to her friend Queen Alexandra.[24]

The Manchester Tiara, created for the Duchess by Cartier in 1903, is now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.[25]

Her diamond and emerald necklace was auctioned by Sothebys in 2015.[26]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Consuelo Montagu,
Duchess of Manchester
Reference style Her Grace
Spoken style Your Grace
Alternative style Ma'am
  • 1853 – 22 May 1876: Miss Consuelo Yznaga
  • 22 May 1876 – 22 March 1890: Viscountess Mandeville
  • 22 March 1890 – 18 August 1892: Her Grace The Duchess of Manchester
  • 18 August 1892 – 20 November 1909: Her Grace The Dowager Duchess of Manchester


  1. ^ "Residents of Grosvenor Square". Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Consuelo (née Yznaga), Duchess of Manchester". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Jardine, Cassandra (3 April 2007). "The Dollar Princess who changed history". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "LORD MANDEVILLE'S WEDDING.;". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2015. , Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b Ryan, Pat. "For Edith Wharton's Birthday, Hail Ultimate Social Climbers". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Browning, C.H. "Americans of Royal Descent". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Manacas Iznaga Tower-La Torre Manacas Iznaga". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Weiner, Robert. "Ravenswood Plantation". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "MARRIAGE OF SIR JOHN LISTER KAYE". The New York Times. 6 December 1881. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "FERNANDO YZNAGA DEAD; Stricken with Diphtheria, He Died at the Minturn Hospital. Friend and Brother-in-Law of William K. Vanderbilt -- His Second Marriage -- Business Career". The New York Times. 7 March 1901. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "Alva Erskine Belmont (Smith)". , Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  12. ^ Tintner, Adeline R. (1 January 1993). "Consuelo Vanderbilt and "The Buccaneers"". Edith Wharton Review. pp. 15–19. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  13. ^ "Americans of Royal Descent". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "YZNAGA FORTUNE PASSING TO HEIRS; Dowager Duchess of Manchester's Estate, Valued at $2,493,131, Before Surrogate Here". The New York Times. 2 July 1912. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "DOWAGER DUCHESS VERY ILL.; Consuelo of Manchester, Formerly Miss Yznaga, in a Critical State". The New York Times. 18 November 1909. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "YZNAGA FORTUNE TAXED.; Estate of Late Duchess of Manchester Must Pay $300,000 Legacy Duty". The New York Times. 13 February 1912. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "DUCHESS CONSUELO DEAD.; Widow of Duke of Manchester Had Neuritis--Former Miss Yznaga". The New York Times. 20 November 1909. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Peerage". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Museum of the City of New York". 
  21. ^ "Museum of the City of New York". 
  22. ^ "LADY ALICE MONTAGU DEAD.; Consumption Carries Off Noted English Beauty -- Her Mother Is the Duchess of Manchester". The New York Times. 11 January 1900. Retrieved 14 April 2017. 
  23. ^ "Duchess Consuelo Dead". Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  24. ^ "Bracelet Left to Queen". Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Manchester Tiara". Victoria & Albert Museum. 
  26. ^ "necklace | sotheby's n09440lot8pvrmen". Retrieved 2016-05-09.