Posts Tagged ‘George Cowper 6th Earl Cowper’

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Philip de Grey 2nd Earl de Grey
8 December 1781 – 14 November 1859


Thomas Philip de Grey

Thomas de Grey 2nd Earl de Grey known as The Lord Grantham (DWW-for reals, not the fictitious lord of the Downton Abbey) from 1786 to 1833 was the eldest son of Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham and his wife, Mary, a daughter of the Jemima Yorke, 2nd Marchioness Grey and younger sister of the Amabel Hume-Campbell, 1st Countess de Grey. Prime Minister Lord Goderichwas his younger brother. He succeeded his father as third baron in 1786, and became the sixth baronet Robinson of Newby in 1792. In 1833 he succeeded his aunt as second Earl de Grey according to a special remainder and also inherited the Wrest Park estate in Silsoe, Bedfordshire. In 1798 he was admitted to St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating MA in 1801. He became second Earl de Grey and Baron Lucas of Crudwell in 1833.

He was made Privy Counsellor in December 1834 while holding office as first Lord of the Admiralty till April 1835, and a Knight of the Garter in 1844. He was colonel-commandant of the Yorkshire Hussar Regiment of Cavalry for over forty years and was appointed yeomanry aide-de-camp to William IV and held similar position under Queen Victoria. Thomas de Grey was nominated as Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 1818, an office which he held until his death. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from September 1841 to July 1844. During his time in Ireland he disagreed with Peel’s religious conciliation of Ireland, claiming that economic conciliation was a greater priority. He called for more legislation focused on Ireland whilst Peel pursued economic legislation aimed at benefitting the UK as a whole.

On the founding of the Institute of British Architects in London in 1834 he was invited to become its first president remaining so till his death in 1859. The institute received its Royal Charter in 1837 becoming Royal Institute of British Architects in London. Earl de Grey was also a fellow of the Royal Society, a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and served as one of the New Buckingham Palace Commissioners from 1848. Besides remodelling his London home at No.4 St James’s Square (now the Naval & Military Club) he designed the new Wrest House inspired by French architecture at his Wrest Park estate in Bedfordshire between February 1833 and October 1839, assisted by James Clephan, and maintained the Park adding a number of decorations and statues.

Lord de Grey married Lady Henrietta, daughter of William Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen, in 1805. They had two daughters – Ann Florence and Mary Gertrude. His wife Henrietta died in 1848. Lord de Grey survived her by eleven years and died in November 1859, aged 77.

He was succeeded in the barony of Lucas of Crudwell by his daughter, Ann, who married the 6th Earl of Cowper, as well as Baroness Lucas in her own right.

His other titles passed to his nephew, George Robinson, 2nd Earl of Ripon.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Emily Lamb Lady Cowper (Patroness of Almacks)


Emily Lamb

Emily Lamb Lady Cowper (Patroness of Almacks) Emily was born in 1787 to Peniston Lamb and his wife Elizabeth (née Milbanke). Due to her mother’s numerous love affairs, her true paternity was never verified, and has been described as ” shrouded in mystery”. The Lamb family had been politically prominent since the mid-18th century, reaching their zenith of influence in Emily’s generation. Her father was made Viscount Melbourne in 1781. Her eldest brother William Lamb twice held the premiership of England, while another brother, Frederick Lamb, was a noted diplomat, and a third, George Lamb, was a minor playwright and journalist of the era. The Lambs were closely linked with the Whig party, and were intimates of Queen Victoria. There was a lifelong bond between William and Emily, whom he fondly called “that little devil”; by contrast she detested his wife, Lady Caroline Lamb (whom she called “that little beast”).

At age eighteen, Emily married Peter Clavering-Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper, a man nine years her senior. Lord Cowper had a reputation for dullness and slowness of speech which were in marked contrast to his wife’s social gifts; a more favourable portrait was that he was a quiet, pleasant man who was far less stupid than he appeared but avoided society and politics. Emily threw herself into the Regency social scene, becoming one of the leading ladies of the highly exclusive Almack’s club. She was noted for kindness and generosity: she would do anything for a person she liked, and would even help people she disliked: although she detested her sister-in-law Caroline, when Caroline was barred from Almack’s, a deep social disgrace, Emily eventually managed to get the ban lifted. Like many of the society ladies of the age, she had love affairs, including one with the Corsican diplomat Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, later Russian Ambassador to Great Britain.

Emily was noted not only for beauty but for her extraordinary charm: she was “grace put in action, whose softness was as seductive as her joyousness”.

At Almack’s, Lady Cowper was increasingly seen in the company of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who was known as “Cupid” at the time for his various romantic dalliances, including affairs with Emily’s fellow patronesses of Almack’s, Dorothea Lieven and Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey. Palmerston was a regular fixture of her parties and salons, and as Lord Cowper sank into a long period of ill health and general decline, Lady Cowper and Lord Palmerston entered into a romantic relationship. This brought Palmerston, originally a Tory, increasingly in contact with notable Whigs, particularly Emily’s brother. Of an 1826 proposal for Catholic Emancipation, Palmerston said, “the Whigs supported me most handsomely, and were indeed my chief and most active friends.” Soon after, Palmerston switched affiliations and ran as a Whig candidate. Emily’s mother on her deathbed in, urged her to remain constant to Palmerston, possibly looking forward to a future time when they would be free to marry.

In 1837, Lord Cowper died, two days into the reign of Queen Victoria. This left the way open for a marriage between Emily and Palmerston, though their age was a cause for concern, as, in the eyes of her family, was Palmerston’s reputation as a womaniser. The matter was referred to Queen Victoria, whose approval cleared the way for the marriage on 16 December 1839. Palmerston was 55 at the time, and Lady Cowper was 52.

They set up their home at Broadlands and the union was, by all accounts, a decidedly happy one. Of it, Lord Shaftesbury said, “His attentions to Lady Palmerston, when they both of them were well stricken in years, were those of a perpetual courtship. The sentiment was reciprocal; and I have frequently seen them go out on a morning to plant some trees, almost believing that they would live to eat the fruit, or sit together under the shade.”

During the marriage, Lady Palmerston continued an active social role as a salon hostess. As the events were eagerly attended by foreign diplomats, Lord Palmerston would encourage his wife to float his ideas before the assembled guests and report back on their reception as a means of unofficially testing the diplomatic waters before committing himself publicly to an opinion. She could not cure his notorious lack of punctuality, a fault she shared; Queen Victoria, staying with them at Brocket, complained that Emily had kept her waiting for an hour.

In 1865, Lord Palmerston died, and Lady Palmerston followed him four years later. She was survived by her three sons and two daughters, all born during her marriage to Lord Cowper, although one of the daughters, Emily, was believed to have been fathered by Palmerston, and her son William may have been fathered by Pozzo di Borgo. They were:

  • George Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper
  • William Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple
  • Charles
  • Frances Jocelyn, Viscountess Jocelyn
  • Emily, who married Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

George Cowper 6th Earl Cowper
26 June 1806 – 15 April 1856


George Augustus Frederick Cowper

Styled Viscount Fordwich until 1837, was a British Whig politician. He served briefly as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under his uncle Lord Melbourne in 1834.

Cowper was the eldest son of Peter Clavering-Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper, and his wife Emily Lamb, daughter of Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne, sister of Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, and a leading figure in Regency society. William Cowper-Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple, was his younger brother. His mother married as her second husband the future Prime Minister Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, in 1839.

Cowper entered the House of Commons for Canterbury in the 1830 general election, and served briefly under his uncle Lord Melbourne as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between November and December 1834. He lost his seat in Parliament in the 1835 general election. Two years later he succeeded his father in the earldom. Between 1846 and 1856 he served as Lord-Lieutenant of Kent.

Lord Cowper married Lady Anne Florence de Grey (who after her husband’s death succeeded as sixth Baroness Lucas of Crudwell), daughter of Thomas de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey, in 1833. They had two sons and four daughters. Their second son the Honourable Henry Cowper sat as Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire for many years. Lord Cowper died in April 1856, aged 49, and was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son Francis. Lady Cowper died in 1880.

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