Sarah Lennox, Duchess of Richmond

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The Duke and the Duchess of Richmond, by Jonathan Richardson. This portrait was made at the request of the Duke's grandmother Louise de Kérouaille, who wanted a portrait of her grandson and his wife.

Sarah Lennox (18 September 1705 – 25 August 1751) was Duchess of Richmond and Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Caroline from 1724 to 1737.

Early life[edit]

She was born Sarah Cadogan in The Hague, the eldest daughter of William Cadogan (from 1716 1st Baron Cadogan of Reading and from 1722 1st Earl Cadogan) and his wife, Margaretta Cecilia Munter.[1] She was brought up in a convent and at the age of thirteen was married, on 4 December 1719, to Charles Lennox, Earl of March, at The Hague. The marriage was arranged by both fathers in order to cancel a gambling debt incurred by the Earl of Cadogan; after the marriage the Earl of March, aged eighteen, embarked on his Grand Tour.[2] On his return in 1722, the earl was reluctant to meet Sarah; he went to the theatre, glimpsed a young woman and asked who she was. 'You must be a stranger in London not to know the toast of the town, the beautiful Lady March', was the reply.[3] In 1723, Charles succeeded to his father's title of Duke of Richmond, whereupon Sarah became Duchess of Richmond. They had a well-publicized happy and companionable marriage.

Courtier and philanthropist[edit]

Sarah was appointed a Lady of the Bedchamber to Caroline of Ansbach when Princess of Wales, and remained in post when Caroline became queen consort in 1727.[4] She received a salary of £500 per year but, despite the fact that the post represented the highest possible position at court, she would have carried out mundane duties, including ordering meals and clothes, and dispatching servants to run errands.[3]

Sarah was one of the twenty-one 'ladies of quality and distinction' who signed Thomas Coram's first petition, presented to George II in 1735, calling for the foundation of the Founding Hospital. She signed the petition on 22 December 1729[1] and was the first Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen recruited by Coram.[5] Her husband signed the Royal Charter in 1739.[1]


In the 1730s and 1740s Sarah and her daughters were enthusiastic collectors of shells brought by naval captains returning to Portsmouth. They arranged the shells into elaborate patterns that were incorporated into a grotto in the park of the family's home in Sussex, Goodwood House.[3]


Sarah had twenty-three pregnancies, from which twelve children survived:

Popular culture[edit]

In 1999, a six-part BBC miniseries based on the lives of her daughters aired in the U.K. It was called Aristocrats and the Duchess was played by Diane Fletcher.


  1. ^ a b c Ladies of Quality and Distinction exhibition programme, edited by K. Palmer, The Founding Museum, London, 2018.
  2. ^ Tillyard, Stella (1995). Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox 1740 - 1832. Great Britain: Vintage. p. 10. ISBN 978-0099477112.
  3. ^ a b c K., Tillyard, S. (1995). Aristocrats : Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832. London: Vintage. pp. 10–11, 13, 16. ISBN 0099477114. OCLC 32394110.
  4. ^ MATTHEW., DENNISON, (2017). FIRST IRON LADY. [S.l.]: WILLIAM COLLINS. ISBN 0008121990. OCLC 972394582.
  5. ^ Gillian., Wagner, (2004). Thomas Coram, Gent., 1668-1751. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press. p. 89. ISBN 1843830574. OCLC 53361054.