Mary Anne Disraeli
Born in Tongwynlais, Cardiff, the only daughter of Commander John Viney-Evans and his cousin Eleanor Scrope-Viney, she first married Wyndham Lewis, MP (1780–1838). The year following Lewis's death she married Benjamin Disraeli. In recognition of his services to the nation, Queen Victoria desired to ennoble Disraeli; as he wished to remain in the House of Commons, his wife accepted the title in his place and became Viscountess Beaconsfield, of Beaconsfield in the County of Buckingham (After Mary's death he accepted the title Earl of Beaconsfield).
Staid Victorians were often scandalised by Mary's uninhibited remarks but soon learned not to insult her within Disraeli's hearing. Even Queen Victoria herself was said to be amused when Mary Anne commented, in response to a remark about some lady's pale complexion, "I wish you could see my Dizzy in his bath!" Once, at a house party where Lord Hardinge, a great soldier of the day, was in the room next to the Disraelis, Mary Anne announced at breakfast that she had slept the night before between the greatest soldier (Hardinge) and the greatest orator (Disraeli) of their times: Lady Hardinge was definitely not amused.
Disraeli had been unimpressed by Mary when he first met her, but he came to understand that she was shrewder than her outwardly silly manner and non-sequiturs had led him to believe, and she was a great help to him in editing the books he wrote. He joked that he had married her for her money but would do it again for love, but the truth is that she was not really wealthy. She was some twelve years older than her husband, and he may not have known her true age, but their romance continued until the day she died.
She is buried with Disraeli in a vault in the Church of St Michael and All Angels Church, Hughenden, in Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, close to the Disraeli family home, Hughenden Manor. The house is now in the care of the National Trust and has been preserved in the state when it was occupied by the Disraelis, and is open to the public as a visitor attraction.
Styles of address and arms
Styles of address
- 1792–1816: Ms Mary Anne Evans
- 1816–1838: Mrs Mary Anne Lewis
- 1838–1839: Ms Mary Anne Evans
- 1839–1868: Mrs Mary Anne Disraeli
- 1868–1872: The Right Honourable The Viscountess Beaconsfield[a]
- Lady Beaconsfield holds her title suo jure, as Queen Victoria had wanted to ennoble her husband, but he had wanted to remain in the House of Commons. Instead, she was raised to the peerage as Viscountess Beaconsfield.
- "Hughenden Manor". National Trust. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
The Countess of Derby
|Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation||Viscountess Beaconsfield