Mary Goelet

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Her Grace
The Duchess of Roxburghe
Mary Goelet.jpg
Goelet in 1903
Personal details
Born Mary Goelet
October 6, 1878
New York City, United States
Died April 26, 1937 (1937-04-27) (aged 58)
London, England
Spouse(s) Henry Innes-Ker
(m. 1903; his death 1932)
Children George Innes-Ker
Parents Ogden Goelet
Mary Wilson
Relatives Robert Goelet (uncle)
Richard T. Wilson, Jr. (uncle)
Grace Wilson Vanderbilt (aunt)
Cornelius Vanderbilt III (uncle)
Robert Walton Goelet (cousin)

Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe (October 6, 1878 – April 26, 1937) was an American-British socialite and heiress.

Early life[edit]

Mary Goelet was born in 1878. Her parents were Mary Wilson (1855–1929)[1] and Ogden Goelet (1851–1897), a prominent heir and landlord in New York City and great-grandson of Peter Goelet (1727–1811), heir to one of the largest fortunes of the time. Her only other sibling was her younger brother, Robert Goelet II (1880–1966),[2] who built Glenmere mansion.[3]

Through her mother, she was a niece of Richard Thornton Wilson, Jr. (1866–1929) and Grace Graham Wilson Vanderbilt (1870–1953) and Cornelius Vanderbilt III.[4] Through her father, she was a niece of Robert Goelet (1841–1899), and a first cousin of Robert Walton Goelet (1880–1941).[5]

Life in England[edit]

The Duchess of Roxburghe's residence in Scotland, Floors Castle

The 8th Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh settled at Floors Castle, where Mary decorated the fortress with her own collection of art including a priceless series of 17th century Gobelins Manufactory tapestries.[6] At the time of her marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe, she was the wealthiest American heiress, with a dowry of twenty million dollars, exceeded only by Consuelo Vanderbilt in the wealth brought to the transatlantic marriages of the pre-1914 era (see Gilded Age).

In 1913, she first became a guest of Queen Mary and King George at Windsor Castle. She and the Duke were also the guests of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.[7]

In 1929, she inherited $3,000,000 from her mother's estate after the death of her mother,[8] as well as the Goelet art collection.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1897, she was rumored to be engaged to William Montagu (1877–1947), the 20 year old 9th Duke of Manchester.[9][10][11] He later married a different American girl, Helena Zimmerman, the daughter of Eugene Zimmerman of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1900.[12]

On November 10, 1903, she married Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe (1876–1932).[13][14][15] He was the son of James Henry Robert Innes-Ker, 7th Duke of Roxburghe (1839–1892) and Lady Anne Emily Spencer-Churchill (1854–1923), the fourth daughter of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, who served in Conservative governments as Lord President of the Council and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and his wife, Lady Frances Vane, daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.[16] His first cousin was Winston Churchill. His younger brother, Lord Robert Edward Innes-Ker (1885–1958) married the actress Jose Collins in 1920.[17]

After ten years of childlessness, Mary gave birth to a son and heir:

The Duchess of Roxburghe died on April 26, 1937 in London.[19][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MRS. OGDEN GOELET DIES OF PNEUMONIA; Duchess of Roxburghe's Mother Long Noted for Her Lavish Entertaining. WAS HOSTESS TO ROYALTY Edward VII, as Prince of Wales, Among Guests--Sister of Mrs. Cornellus Vanderbilt and R.T. Wilson. Her Hospitality. Duchess of Roxburghe Daughter.". The New York Times. 24 February 1929. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "ROBERT GOELET, FINANCIER, DEAD; Real-Estate Millionaire, 86, Was a Social Leader". The New York Times. 7 February 1966. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  3. ^ Foreman, John (14 November 2012). "Big Old Houses: A Better Fate Than Many". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "To Marry an English Lord". Retrieved March 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Robert W. Goelet Dies In Home At 61. Corporation Director, Owner of Large Realty Holdings Here, Succumbs to Heart Attack. He Inherited $60,000,000. Sportsman, a Leader in Social Circles in Newport and New York, Kin of Early Settlers". New York Times. May 3, 1941. Retrieved 2010-07-26. Robert Walton Goelet of New York and Newport, R. I., a member of one of New York's oldest and wealthiest families, died of a heart attack yesterday at his ... 
  6. ^ "Illustrated Guide to Places to Visit - Floors Castle". Retrieved March 27, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Times, Wireless To The New York (27 April 1937). "DOWAGER DUCHESS OF ROXBURGHE DIES; New York Heiress Was a Close Friend of King George V and Queen Mary". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  8. ^ Times, Wireless To The New York (7 August 1929). "DUCHESS INHERITS FORTUNE; Former Miss Goelet Receives $3,000,000 From Mother's Estate.". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "MISS GOELET'S BETROTHAL.; Reason to Believe She Is Engaged to the Young Duke of Manchester, in Spite of Denials.". The New York Times. 13 July 1897. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "MANCHESTER-GOELET AFFAIR.; The Daily Telegraph Makes no Apology for Its Story.". The New York Times. 12 July 1897. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  11. ^ "THE DUKE DENIES IT.; His Grace of Manchester Says the Report of His Engagement to Miss Goelet Is Untrue.". The New York Times. 11 July 1897. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "DUKE OF MANCHESTER WEDS MISS ZIMMERMAN; Married to Daughter of Cincinnati Railway Man Nov. 14. RELATIVES NOT NOTIFIED Dowager Duchess Did Not Credit Re- port Until Examination of Register of London Church Convinced Her It Was True.". The New York Times. 20 November 1900. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (3 September 1903). "DUKE OF ROXBURGHE TO WED MISS GOELET | Engagement Announced in London and Confirmed at Newport. | NEW YORK WEDDING EXPECTED | It is Believed the Couple Will Be Married Here in the Autumn - The Duke Now Mrs. Goelet's Guest.". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  14. ^ "THE ROXBURGHE WEDDING; Private Rehearsal Held at St. Thomas's Church. Programme of Today's Ceremony -- Simple Reception to Follow at the Goelet Residence -- Some of the Gifts.". The New York Times. 10 November 1903. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  15. ^ "MOTHER AND SISTER OF ROXBURGHE HERE; Duchess Denies Story of Objection to American Brides. Plans for the Wedding Complete -- The Decorations at the Church and Home of the Bride.". The New York Times. 8 November 1903. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  16. ^ Quinault 2004.
  17. ^ "Lord R. Innes-Ker weds Jose Collins; Brother of Duke of Roxburghe Married to Musical Comedy Actress in London. Ceremony was a Secret. Bride, Daughter of Late Lottie Collins, Won First Success Herein "The Merry Countess." New York Times, 4 November 1920, p. 16], (citation only)([1] full article)
  18. ^ Times, Special To The New York (6 January 1954). "DUKE OF ROXBURGHE MARRIES IN LONDON". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  19. ^ "DUCHESS LEFT FORTUNE; Roxburghe Estate Was Founded by Money of American Heiress". The New York Times. 21 November 1937. Retrieved 13 April 2017.