The Most Beautiful Woman of Gilded Age? Well, allow me to differ…

Presently I am reading “The Churchills”, a remarkable book by Mary S. Lovell.

It is a big book covering several generations of the Marlborough family (of which the Great Man was a member) and also painting a broader picture of, inevitably, high society life in different periods of history (oh, how we, women, LOVE this type of history books! :).

So, while reading the book I stumbled upon the passage where  Winston’s father, Randolph,  was allegedly romantically involved with a Lady de Grey, ” accredited with being the most beautiful woman of her generation, to whom Oscar Wilde dedicated his plays: A Woman of No Importance and Lady Windermere’s Fan.”

Wow, I thought. I must look her up.

Well, to tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointing. I know, I know that:

1. the individual perception of beauty is very varied (but – “accredited… the most beautiful…” – means by almost everyone, surely?)

2. the concept of beauty changes throughout time

But comparing even with other women of her time… In my opinion, at least “externally” there were others who could contend this title.

Have a look.

The most beautiful, etc. :


de grey 2

Gladys, Countess de Grey

de grey3Gladys_Countess_de_Grey_Marchioness_of_Ripon

Here is Lady Jenny Churchill, Winston’s mother:


Jenny Jerome, later Lady Randolph Churchill


200px-Jennie_Jerome jenni jerome

Lady Colin Campbell (the connection with the Churchills is too complicated, so I’ll miss it altogether, but what a beauty!


Lady Colin Campbell


And my personal favourite – the second wife of – hold it! – Winston Churchill’s cousin, 9th Duke of Marlborough. She was “the Dollar Princess”, the American heiress whom he married for money he desperately needed to maintain Blenheim Palace, the family seat. Ha!  Wasn’t the man lucky  to get all the money AND such a beautiful woman into the bargain! Sadly, their marriage was nor a happy one but this is a different story.


Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough; nee Vanderbilt


consuelo_wedding painting VanderbiltConsuelo

What do you think?


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