Louisa Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire

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The Duchess of Devonshire
Louise Montagu, Duchess of Manchester (1832-1911), later Duchess of Devonshire.jpg
Photograph of Her Grace, 1884
Mistress of the Robes
In office
24 February 1858 11 June 1859
Preceded by The Duchess of Sutherland
Succeeded byThe Duchess of Sutherland
Personal details
Louisa Frederica Augusta, Countess von Alten

15 June 1832
Hanover, Kingdom of Hanover
Died15 July 1911 (1911-07-16) (aged 79)
Surrey, England
Resting place Edensor, Derbyshire
Children George Montagu, 8th Duke of Manchester
Mary Louisa, Duchess of Hamilton
Louisa Augusta, Countess of Gosford
Lord Charles Montagu
Alice Maude, Countess of Derby
ParentsKarl Franz Viktor
Hermine de Schminke

Louisa Frederica Augusta Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, formerly Louisa Montagu, Duchess of Manchester, née Luise Fredericke Auguste, Countess von Alten (15 June 1832 – 15 July 1911) was a German-born British aristocrat sometimes referred to as the "Double Duchess" due to her marriages to first the Duke of Manchester and later to the Duke of Devonshire. [1] [ third-party source needed ]

Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire British statesman

Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire,, styled Lord Cavendish of Keighley between 1834 and 1858 and Marquess of Hartington between 1858 and 1891, was a British statesman. He has the distinction of having served as leader of three political parties: as Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons (1875–1880) and as of the Liberal Unionist Party (1886–1903) and of the Unionists in the House of Lords (1902–1903). He also declined to become Prime Minister on three occasions, not because he was not a serious politician but because the circumstances were never right.


Early life

Louisa Frederica Augusta, Countess of Alten was born 15 June 1832 in Hanover in what was then the Kingdom of Hanover. She was the daughter of Karl Franz Viktor, Count of Alten (1800–1879), and his wife, Hermine de Schminke (1806–1868). [2] [3] Her siblings included Helene Charlotte Auguste, Countess of Alten (1830–1890), who married Andrei Bludov, Carl Friedrich Franz Victor, Count of Alten (1833–1901), who married Carolina Frederica Groeninx van Zoelen, and Guidobaldine, Countess of Alten (1838–1922), who married Graf August Grote and Don Luigi Maria Colonna, Prince of Stigliano, and Detlof von Bülow.[ citation needed ]

Hanover City in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hanover or Hannover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.

Kingdom of Hanover German kingdom established in 1814

The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and joined 38 other sovereign states in the German Confederation in June 1815. The kingdom was ruled by the House of Hanover, a cadet branch of the House of Welf, in personal union with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until 1837. Since its monarch resided in London, a viceroy handled the administration of the Kingdom of Hanover.

Her paternal grandparents were Adolf Viktor Christian Jobst, Count of Alten (1755–1820) and Charlotte Louise Wilhelmine Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau (1775–1842).[ citation needed ]


"A social climber with a nose for power", the 26-year-old Duchess - through her friendship with Lord Derby, the then prime minister - was appointed Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria in February 1858, resigning in June 1859, when Lord Derby's government fell. [4] Victoria regretted her departure, calling her "a very pleasant, nice, sensible person". [4] The Duchess soon developed close friendships with Edward, Prince of Wales and Alexandra, Princess of Wales. [5]

Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby British Prime Minister

Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, was a British statesman, three-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and, to date, the longest-serving leader of the Conservative Party. He was known before 1834 as Edward Stanley, and from 1834 to 1851 as Lord Stanley. He is one of only four British prime ministers to have three or more separate periods in office. However, his ministries each lasted less than two years and totalled three years and 280 days.

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.

Edward VII King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India 1901-1910

Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910.

Lady Eleanor Stanley recorded in her diary in 1859 that during a "paper chase", the Duchess caught her hoop while climbing over a stile, and was left with the entirety of her crinoline and skirts thrown over her head, revealing her scarlet drawers to the assembled company. [6] [ relevant? ] The Duc de Malakoff, the French ambassador, is said to have exclaimed "C'était diabolique!" at the sight. [7] [ relevant? ]

Paper Chase is a racing game played outdoors with any number of players. At the start of the game, one person is designated the 'hare' and everyone else in the group are the 'hounds'. The 'hare' starts off ahead of everyone else leaving behind themselves a trail of paper shreds which represents the scent of the hare. Just as scent is carried on the wind, so too are the bits of paper, sometimes making for a difficult game. After some designated time, the hounds must chase after the hare and attempt to catch them before they reach the ending point of the race. It is generally done over a long distance, but shorter courses can be set. If the hare makes it to the finish line, they get to choose the next hare, or to be the hare themselves. Similarly, the person who catches the hare gets to choose the next hare.

Stile structure which provides people a passage through or over a fence or boundary

A stile is a structure or opening that provides people passage over or through a boundary via steps, ladders, or narrow gaps. Stiles are often built in rural areas along footpaths, fences, walls, or hedges that enclose animals, allowing people to move freely.

Crinoline petticoat

A crinoline is a stiffened or structured petticoat designed to hold out a woman's skirt, popular at various times since the mid-19th century. Originally, crinoline described a stiff fabric made of horsehair ("crin") and cotton or linen which was used to make underskirts and as a dress lining.

Devonshire House Ball of 1897

In 1897, the Duchess hosted the Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball at Devonshire House, the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire in the 18th and 19th centuries. The party was a costume ball thrown to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. The Queen's Private Secretary, Francis Knollys, wrote to the Duchess that the Prince of Wales (who dressed as the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta) thought the party a success. At the ball, the Duchess dressed as Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. [1]

Devonshire House house in London demolished in 1924

Devonshire House in Piccadilly was the London residence of the Dukes of Devonshire in the 18th and 19th centuries. Following a fire in 1733 it was rebuilt for William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire, in the Palladian style, to designs by William Kent. Completed circa 1740, it stood empty after the First World War and was demolished in 1924.

Diamond jubilee celebration held to mark a 60th anniversary

A diamond jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 60th anniversary of an event related to a person.

The Private Secretary to the Sovereign is the senior operational member of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. The Private Secretary is the principal channel of communication between the monarch and the governments in each of the Commonwealth realms. They also have responsibility for the official programme and correspondence of the Sovereign. Through these roles the position wields considerable influence.

Marriage and issue

Illustration of Kimbolton Castle in 1880, which shows the present mansion as rebuilt between 1690 and 1720. Kimboltonmorris edited.jpg
Illustration of Kimbolton Castle in 1880, which shows the present mansion as rebuilt between 1690 and 1720.

On 22 July 1852, the twenty-year old Louisa was married at Hanover to Viscount Mandeville, eldest son and heir of the 6th Duke of Manchester. Upon his father's death on 8 August 1855, he succeeded his father as 7th Duke of Manchester, and Louisa became Duchess of Manchester. [8] [9] They had five children:[ citation needed ]

  1. George Victor Drogo Montagu, 8th Duke of Manchester (18531892), who married Consuelo Yznaga (1853–1909), and had issue.[ citation needed ]
  2. Lady Mary Louisa Elizabeth Montagu (1854–1934), who was born at Kimbolton Castle and married, firstly, to William Douglas-Hamilton, 12th Duke of Hamilton, at Kimbolton Castle on 10 December 1873, and had issue. She secondly married on 20 July 1897 to Robert Carnaby Forster of Easton Park, Wickham Market, Suffolk (d. 1925), without issue.[ citation needed ]
  3. Lady Louisa Augusta Beatrice Montagu (1856–1944), born at Kimbolton Castle. She married Archibald Acheson, 4th Earl of Gosford, on 10 August 1876 in London, and had issue.[ citation needed ]
  4. Lord Charles William Augustus Montagu (1860–1939), who married the Hon. Mildred Cecilia Harriet Stuart (1869–1942), daughter of Henry Sturt, 1st Baron Alington, at Kimbolton Castle on 4 December 1930. He had no issue.[ citation needed ]
  5. Lady Alice Maude Olivia Montagu (1862–1957), born in London. She married Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, on 5 January 1889 in London, and had issue.[ citation needed ]

Louisa became estranged from the Duke, and they lived apart for many years.[ citation needed ] Louisa became the companion of the Marquess of Hartington, and a notable political hostess.[ citation needed ] The Duke died in Naples on 22 March 1890.[ citation needed ]

On 16 August 1892, at Christ Church, Mayfair, the sixty-year-old Dowager Duchess of Manchester married Hartington, now the 8th Duke of Devonshire. She thereby became Duchess of Devonshire, with the nickname of "The Double Duchess".[ citation needed ]

After the Duke of Devonshire's death on 24 March 1908, she was widowed for the second time, becoming the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.[ citation needed ] On 15 July 1911, at the Sandown Races in Esher Park, the Duchess died after a seizure, aged 79, and was interred at Edensor, Derbyshire.[ citation needed ]

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  1. 1 2 "The Cavendish Story: The Double Duchess". www.chatsworthblog.org. Retrieved 14 April 2017.[ third-party source needed ]
  2. "Louise Frederica Augusta Cavendish (née von Alten), Duchess of Devonshire (formerly Duchess of Manchester) (1832-1911), Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria; former wife of 7th Duke of Manchester, and later first wife of 8th Duke of Devonshire". npg.org.uk. National Portrait Gallery . Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  3. "Devonshire, Louisa Cavendish Duchess of 1832-1911". worldcat.org. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  4. 1 2 Ripley 2012, p. 113.
  5. Ripley 2012, p. 114.
  6. Vane 2004, p. 25.
  7. Willett 2004, p. 156.
  8. Poole, Henry (September 29, 2015). "The Double Duchess: Louisa van Alten". henrypoole.com. Henry Poole & Co. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  9. Kennedy 1956, p. ??.
Court offices
Preceded by
The Duchess of Sutherland
Mistress of the Robes
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Sutherland