“When she appeared, every eye turned towards her; when absent, she was the subject of universal conversation.”
-French diplomat Louis Dutens.
The first born of her parents and their favourite, Georgina grew up to be charming but like her mother’s nature in love with gambling. She met her future husband the Duke of Devonshire while abroad and got married shortly after her 17th birthday. She became immensely popular after her marriage onwards.
Interested in both fashion and politics, Georgina made political statements through fashion. She wore hats and muffs in fox fur to support the politician fox and threw balls where you could only wear black and gold, the colours of the Whig party (a political party active in the middle of the 19th century in the United States of America). She is also responsible f0r the towering headdresses. Daily accounts of her dressing was made in all the papers so that others could intimidate her style. Her tailor was once bribed to show the duchesses latest designs so that they may have them in advance. This resulted in four women wearing the same dress in an event, none of which were the Duchess. She was in contact with Marie Antionette who sent her one of her favourite muslim gowns as in France it was seen as indecent. However on Georgina, the gown was a fashion success.
As I stated in the introduction, Georgina like her mother loved to gamble. She along with other members of her circle gambled without any worry of money. She was often in debt but always kept it a secret from her husband. She was scared to inform the Duke of her problems and took loans from various friends to make up her losses. She also loaned money to her friends that were in the same situation. From time to time when she was in the brink of despair she would tell the duke about some of her debts and on many occasions he wanted to divorce her.
Her best friend Bess was also the Duke’s mistress and she bore two illegitimate children by him: a daughter, Caroline St Jules, and a son, Augustus, who were both raised at Devonshire House with the Duke’s legitimate children by Georgiana. In spite of this Georgina remained loyal to her friend Bess and until this day no one can understand the nature of the relationship between the three. Some even say that there existed a lesbian relationship between Bess and Georgina.
Georgina fell in love once in her life time with Charles, Earl Grey (of the tea fame). When to her horror she discovered she was pregnant, the duke threatened to divorce her. He also threatened her with never seeing her children again unless she gave up both Grey and their children. She agreed and when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, she gave her up to Grey’s parents. Her affair with Grey ended after she gave birth to their daughter as he was both sad and enraged that she chose to give him and the child up.
Surrounded by the duke,her mother, her daughter and Bess, Georgiana, aged forty-eight, died at three-thirty in the morning on March 30, 1806.