Literary knitter - Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough
|Consuelo in 1901|
As with last month's literary knitter, this months literary knitter is also a member of the Churchill family, and as with Lady Randolph Churchill she also published an autobiography so fits the literary knitter description.
Consuelo Vanderbilt was born in America in 1877, the eldest child of a railway millionaire. Consuelo's ambitious mother was determined to use her daughter's marriage to push her family into the highest level of society. Consuelo was secretly engaged to an American, Winthrop Rutherfurd, but her mother used every trick in the book to separate the two and engineer a marriage to Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. Marlborough was himself in love with another girl, but the money which Consuelo would bring to his crumbling family estate of Blenheim was to much to resist.
The Marlboroughs married in 1895, and from the first the marriage was not a success, and they lived a strained and formal life. Consuelo wrote of the long formal dinners at Blenheim
'As a rule neither of us spoke a word. I took to knitting in desperation. The Butler - equally bored - used to sit outside the door reading detective novels'.
The Marlboroughs had two sons before their separation in 1906, they would finally divorce in 1921. Shortly after the divorce Consuelo married Lt. Col. Jacques Balsan, a pioneering French aviator, this marriage unlike her first was a success.
|The Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, with their sons|