The link between Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Sarah, Duchess of York is a fascinating one, and yet it’s not something that has really been picked up by the mainstream press save for a couple of articles here and there. We can’t think why that would be because it’s just so interesting.
When the Keira Knightly film The Duchess came out in 2008 there was certainly a lot of buzz about how Georgiana was a a Spencer (like Diana!) who grow up at the family estate of Althorp (also Like Diana) and who was her great aunt (several times over).There are certainly a lot of parallels between Georgiana and Diana.
Georgiana married the Duke of Devonshire in 1774 on her 17th birthday and became the style icon of her day. When she wore a feather in her hair, all the ladies wanted to wear feathers in her hair. When she wore a tower of hair on her head, all the ladies followed suit. Oh, and she was friends with Marie Antoinette. The two of them made quite a pair, as you can imagine.
So there was all that buzz about Diana being so much like her great-great-great-great-great aunt since she too was a powerful style setter and woman of her time, but there really wasn’t much attention paid to the fact that Sarah, Duchess of York is actually a great granddaughter (five times over) of Georgiana, through Georgiana’s illegitimate daughter with Charles Grey. So, if you think about it, if it weren’t for that illegitamite daughter, the Duchess of York would never have been born. To top it all off, Grey went onto have an illustrious political career and became the Prime Minister of England. He was also the Second Early Grey and that title is where Earl Grey tea comes from. You just can’t make this stuff up.
So, Georgiana and Charles’ daughter was named Eliza Courtney and she was raised by relatives of Grey’s in Northumberland. She wasn’t told any of this, however, until after Georgiana’s death and until then only knew Georgiana as the kind lady who visited occasionally and wrote her letters. She must have been very moved to hear the truth and went on to name her daughter Georgina. Little did she know that one of her descendants would also go on to marry the second son of the Queen!
Wouldn’t this be a great contender for that television show about ancestry Who Do You Think You Are? We think so!