Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland

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The Duchess of Sutherland
Lady Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Howard, Duchess of Sutherland (1806 - 1868).jpg
Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland by Reuben Thomas William Sayers
Personal details
BornThe Hon. Harriet Howard
(1806-05-21)21 May 1806
Died27 October 1868(1868-10-27) (aged 62)
Stafford House, St James's, London, UK
NationalityBritish
Spouse(s) George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland
Children Elizabeth Campbell, Duchess of Argyll
Evelyn Stuart, Lady Blantyre
Caroline FitzGerald, Duchess of Leinster
George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland
Lady Blanche Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Lord Frederick Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Constance Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster
Lady Victoria Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Lord Albert Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Lord Ronald Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Lady Alexandrina Sutherland-Leveson-Gower
Parents George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle
Lady Georgiana Cavendish

Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland (née Howard; 21 May 1806 – 27 October 1868), styled The Honourable Harriet Howard before her marriage, was Mistress of the Robes under several Whig administrations: 1837–1841, 1846–1852, 1853–1858, and 1859–1861; and a great friend of Queen Victoria. She was an important figure in London's high society, and used her social position to undertake various philanthropic undertakings including the protest of the English ladies against American slavery.

Mistress of the Robes senior lady of the royal households of several European nations

The Mistress of the Robes is the senior lady in the Royal Household of the United Kingdom. Formerly responsible for the queen's clothes and jewellery, the post now has the responsibility for arranging the rota of attendance of the ladies-in-waiting on the queen, along with various duties at state ceremonies. In modern times, the Mistress of the Robes is almost always a duchess. During the 17th and 18th centuries, this role often overlapped with or was replaced as First Lady of the Bedchamber.

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

Contents

Family and early life

Harriet was the third daughter of George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle and his wife Lady Georgiana Cavendish, who was a daughter of the Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. [1]

George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle British politician

George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle,, styled Viscount Morpeth until 1825, was a British statesman. He served as Lord Privy Seal between 1827 and 1828 and in 1834 and was a member of Lord Grey's Whig government as Minister without Portfolio between 1830 and 1834.

Georgiana Howard, Countess of Carlisle British noblewoman

Georgiana Dorothy Howard, Countess of Carlisle was a British noblewoman. She was born after nine years of childless marriage between William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire and his wife Lady Georgiana Spencer, the political hostess and socialite. As such, she was a member of one of the country's grandest and richest families.

Marriage

On 28 May 1823 she married her cousin George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Earl Gower (1786–1861), [1] who had been elected MP for St Mawes, Cornwall (a rotten borough) in 1808, and succeeded his father as second Duke of Sutherland in 1833. Gower was twenty years older than she, but their union proved one of affection and produced four sons and seven daughters. [1] [2]

George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland English cricketer

George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, KG, styled Viscount Trentham until 1803, Earl Gower between 1803 and 1833 and Marquess of Stafford in 1833, was a British Whig MP and peer from the Leveson-Gower family.

St Mawes was a rotten borough in Cornwall, England. It returned two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons of England from 1562 to 1707, to the House of Commons of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom until it was abolished by the Great Reform Act in 1832.

Cornwall County of England

Cornwall is a ceremonial county in South West England, bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by Devon, the River Tamar forming the border between them. Cornwall is the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The southwesternmost point is Land's End and the southernmost Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 563,600 and an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. The administrative centre of Cornwall is Truro, its only city.

The Duchess of Sutherland held a social position of high influence, aided by her friendship to Queen Victoria as well as her family's great wealth. [3] By the Duchess's influence Stafford House, St. James's Palace, became an important centre of society, [4] and the starting-point of various philanthropic undertakings. The Duchess helped organize the "Stafford House Address" petition against slavery, and former American First Lady Julia Tyler wrote a defense of slavery titled "The Women of England vs. the Women of America", in response to it. [5] [6] In response to "The Women of England vs. the Women of America", former slave Harriet Jacobs wrote a letter to the New York Tribune which was her first published writing; it was published in 1853 and signed "Fugitive". [7] [8]

The Duchess's stance on slavery was heavily criticized by Karl Marx because her mother-in-law, the previous Duchess, had been closely associated with the clearance of the inhabitants of Sutherland thirty years earlier, so that she could reuse 794,000 acres (3200 km2) of land for commercial sheep farming. [9]

Karl Marx German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist and journalist

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland British duchess

Elizabeth Sutherland Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland, also suo jure19th Countess of Sutherland, was a Scottish peer from the Leveson-Gower family, best remembered for her involvement in the Highland Clearances.

Highland Clearances the mass eviction of tenants from the Scottish Highlands in the 18th and 19th centuries

The Highland Clearances were the evictions of a significant number of tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, mostly in the period 1750 to 1860.

Mistress of the Robes

Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1849 Winterhalter - Harriet Howard.jpg
Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1849

On the accession of Queen Victoria the Duchess was appointed Mistress of the Robes, [note 1] and held that post whenever the Whigs were in office until her husband's death (August 1837 to September 1841, July 1846 to March 1852, January 1853 to February 1858, June 1859 to April 1861). From the Queen's refusal to part with the Duchess and her other ladies arose the Bedchamber Crisis of 1839, which resulted in the Whigs returning to office. Victoria gave a sympathetic description of the Duchess's character, [11] and after the death of Prince Albert, the prince consort, spent the first weeks of her widowhood with the Duchess as her only companion. [12]

Albert, Prince Consort Husband of Queen Victoria

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1861 the 4th Rogart Company of the 1st Sutherland Volunteer Rifle Corps formed up. The company bore the title "Duchess Harriet's Company Rogart" upon the pouch-belt plate. [13]

The Duchess's last public appearance was at the Prince of Wales's marriage in 1863. In that year she was seized with an illness from which she never recovered. However, she was able to entertain Garibaldi, for whom she had great admiration, at Chiswick House and Trentham, Staffordshire, during his visit to England in April 1864. She died on 27 October 1868 [12] at her London residence, Stafford House, aged 62. She was interred in the mausoleum of the Dukes of Sutherland at Trentham. W E Gladstone was one of the pall-bearers at her funeral. [14] The Duchess's letters, some of which were published by her son Lord Ronald Gower in Stafford House Letters [15] , parts iv-vi., prove her to have had an affectionate disposition, with some sense of humour. She had also an interest in architecture and gardening. [12]

Issue

On 18 May 1823 Harriet married George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Earl Gower, eldest son of the 2nd Marquess of Stafford, and a man twenty years her senior. Her father-in-law was created Duke of Sutherland in 1833, and was succeeded by his son later that year, whereupon Harriet became the Duchess of Sutherland.[ citation needed ]

They had eleven children:

In 1871, while her son-in-law, the Duke of Argyll, was serving in the Cabinet, his son (Harriet's grandson), Lord Lorne, married one of Victoria's daughters, Princess Louise. Harriet's eldest son became 3rd Duke of Sutherland in 1861.[ citation needed ]

In media

Harriet was portrayed by Rachael Stirling in the 2009 film The Young Victoria. She was portrayed by Margaret Clunie in the 2016 ITV series Victoria , though she is inaccurately depicted as carrying on an improbable romance with prince (later duke) Ernest of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who is also inaccurately depicted as being unmarried at the time.

Ancestry

Notes

  1. The Duchess served several times as Mistress of the Robes to her friend Queen Victoria, a post which was later held by her eldest daughter Elizabeth Georgiana (Duchess of Argyll) and her daughter-in-law Anne (Duchess of Sutherland). [1] [10]

[18]

Related Research Articles

Duke of Sutherland

Duke of Sutherland is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom which was created by William IV in 1833 for George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Marquess of Stafford. A series of marriages to heiresses by members of the Leveson-Gower family made the Dukes of Sutherland one of the richest landowning families in the United Kingdom. The title remained in the Leveson-Gower family until the death of the 5th Duke of Sutherland in 1963, when it passed to John Egerton, 5th Earl of Ellesmere.

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Earl of Cromartie is a title that has been created twice, both for members of the Mackenzie family. It was first created as Earl of Cromarty in the Peerage of Scotland in 1703 for Sir George Mackenzie, 2nd Baronet, but his titles were forfeited after the Jacobite rising of 1745. It was recreated in 1861 in the Peerage of the United Kingdom for Anne Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland. Since 1979, the Earl of Cromartie has been chief of Clan Mackenzie.

George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll Scottish peer, Liberal politician as well as a writer on science, religion, and the politics

George John Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll,, styled Marquess of Lorne until 1847, was a Scottish peer and Liberal politician as well as a writer on science, religion, and the politics of the 19th century.

Anne Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland British duchess

Anne Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland VA, 1st Countess of Cromartie in her own right and known as the Marchioness of Stafford from 1849 to 1861, was a British peeress.

Elizabeth Campbell, Duchess of Argyll 19th-century British noblewoman and abolitionist

Elizabeth Georgiana Campbell, Duchess of Argyll was a British noblewoman and abolitionist. Born into the wealthy Sutherland-Leveson-Gower family, she was the eldest daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland by his wife, the political hostess Lady Harriet Howard. In 1844 Elizabeth married George Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, eldest son and heir to the 7th Duke of Argyll. She became the Duchess of Argyll in 1847 when her husband succeeded his father.

The Duchess of Sutherland is the wife of the Duke of Sutherland, an extant title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom which was created by William IV in 1833.

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George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland British politician

George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland KG FRS, styled Viscount Trentham until 1833, Earl Gower in 1833 and Marquess of Stafford between 1833 and 1861, was a British politician from the Leveson-Gower family.

Cromartie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 4th Duke of Sutherland son of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland

Cromartie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 4th Duke of Sutherland,, styled Lord Cromartie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower until 1858, Earl Gower between 1858 and 1861 and Marquess of Stafford between 1861 and 1892, was a British peer and politician from the Leveson-Gower family.

Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Granville British politician and diplomat

Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Granville,, styled Lord Granville Leveson-Gower from 1786 to 1815 and Viscount Granville from 1815 to 1833, was a British Whig statesman and diplomat from the Leveson-Gower family.

Lord Ronald Gower British politician

Lord Ronald Charles Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, known as Lord Ronald Gower, was a Scottish Liberal politician, sculptor and writer from the Leveson-Gower family.

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Henrietta Elizabeth "Harriet" Leveson-Gower, Countess Granville was a British peeress and society hostess. She was born in Devonshire House as the second daughter of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire, by his first wife, the political hostess Lady Georgiana Spencer. Despite her parents' turbulent marriage, Harriet had a happy childhood. Her mother's death in 1806 led to an awkward situation in which her father's long-time mistress Lady Elizabeth Foster took control of the Devonshire household; as the eldest unmarried daughter, this should have been Harriet's role.

Harriet Osborne, Baroness Godolphin was a British noblewoman. An illegitimate child, her mother was the society figure Henrietta Ponsonby, Countess of Bessborough, who became pregnant by her longtime lover Granville Leveson-Gower. Henrietta gave birth to the girl in secret and sent her to be raised by a foster mother, though she stayed in contact through letters and gifts.

Susanna Leveson-Gower, Marchioness of Stafford (1742–1805), styled Lady Susanna Stewart from 1742 to 1768, Countess Gower until 1786, Marchioness of Stafford until 1803 and Dowager Marchioness of Stafford until her death in 1805, was a British noblewoman, who in 1768 became the wife of Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford and a member of the Leveson-Gower family.

Charlotte Sophia Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort, formerly Lady Charlotte Sophia Leveson-Gower, was the wife of Henry Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Reynolds 2004.
  2. Sanders 1893, p. 152.
  3. Reynolds 1998, p. 122.
  4. Sanders 1893 , p. 152 cites Lord Ronald Gower, Reminiscences, vol. i. chap. i.
  5. Jean Fagan Yellin (26 January 2005). Harriet Jacobs: A Life. Basic Civitas Books. pp. 122–. ISBN   978-0-465-09289-5.
  6. Julia Sun-Joo Lee (9 April 2010). The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel. Oxford University Press. pp. 79–. ISBN   978-0-19-974528-9.
  7. Raja Sharma. Ready Reference Treatise: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Lulu.com. pp. 12–. ISBN   978-1-300-30601-6.
  8. Kathryn Kish Sklar; James Brewer Stewart (2007). Women's Rights and Transatlantic Antislavery in the Era of Emancipation. Yale University Press. pp. 165–. ISBN   0-300-13786-9.
  9. Marx 1853.
  10. Reynolds 1998, p. 222.
  11. Sanders 1893 , p. 152 cites Martin, Prince Consort, ii. 246
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Sanders 1893, p. 153.
  13. Grierson (1909), Records of the Scottish Volunteer Force[ full citation needed ]
  14. Auden, W. H. "Family Ghosts". University of Stanford.
  15. Sutherland, Leveson-Gower, Duke of, George Granville (1891). "Stafford House Letters" (PDF).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 Lodge 1834, p. 437.
  17. 1 2 3 4 Lodge 1834, p. 89.
  18. The surname Leveson-Gower is pronounced Leeson-Gore.

Works cited

Court offices
Preceded by
Catherine Osborne, Duchess of Leeds
Mistress of the Robes
to the Queen

1837–1841
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Preceded by
The Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Mistress of the Robes
to the Queen

1846–1852
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Atholl
Preceded by
The Duchess of Atholl
Mistress of the Robes
to the Queen

1853–1858
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Manchester
Preceded by
The Duchess of Manchester
Mistress of the Robes
to the Queen

1859–1861
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Wellington