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Consuelo (née Vanderbilt), Duchess of Marlborough (later Mrs Balsan)

(1877-1964), Former wife of 9th Duke of Marlborough, and later wife of Jacques Balsan; daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt

Sitter in 10 portraits
Consuelo Vanderbilt was the richest American heiress to marry into British aristocracy. Her mother, Alva, was ambitious for her daughter's marriage prospects and named her after Consuelo Yznaga, a childhood friend. Another of Alva's friends, Minnie Paget, introduced Consuelo to the eligible Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. Her objection to the match was overruled, and Consuelo was said to have cried throughout her wedding day in 1895, aged seventeen. Her dowry of $2.5 million was used to improve Blenheim Palace. After producing 'an heir and a spare' - a phrase she coined - the couple separated and their marriage was finally annulled in 1926.

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