Book number: 93758 Product format: Paperback Author: IRIS LEVESON-GOWER

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Written by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire's great-great granddaughter Iris, her great grandparents were the 1st Earl of Granville (1773-1846) and Harriet Elizabeth Cavendish. Iris died in 1944, and although her writing is a little flowery, it was her ability to open doors through her family connections which makes this biography so fascinating. Georgiana's story is surely one of the most compelling and dramatic in late Georgian society, the subject of many books and a successful film, The Duchess. Love affairs, tragedy, high society, gambling and a host of illegitimate children are shared between herself, her best friend, her lover and her husband. Married to an elderly reserved duke, she was a young and emotionally demonstrative girl, unprepared for her duties as duchess. She discovered that her husband already had a mistress with whom he had a daughter and all the duke requires of Georgiana is to provide him with an heir which she seems at first unable to do. Starved of affection, she throws herself into the fashionable world and becomes the darling of society where she leads others and sets the fashions, whether for three foot high ostrich feathers or tall towers of hair with elaborate decorations. In 1782, the Duke and Duchess meet the fascinating Lady Elizabeth Foster, recently separated from her husband and living in restricted circumstances. Elizabeth attaches herself to Georgiana and is invited to return home with them. She becomes not only a close friend to Georgiana, but a mistress to the Duke and bears him two illegitimate children. Surprisingly Georgiana supports this strange ménage à trois, but nevertheless continues her bedroom duties to the Duke, eventually bearing him two daughters and finally in 1790, the much sought-after son. The true love of Georgiana's life is the handsome young Whig politician Charles Grey with whom she embarked on an affair in 1791. She faced the worse crisis of her life when she discovered that she was carrying his child. The Duke gave an ultimatum - give up Grey and the child, or never see her three children again. She chooses her children. 224 pages, paperback, very well illustrated with both colour images and black and white archive material plus chronological chart.

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ISBN 9781781555576

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