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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.

List Thumbnail

P1700(23)

Duke and Duchess of Marlborough at Woodstock Town Hall

by Unknown photographer
gelatin printing-out paper print, April 1896
NPG P1700(23)

x136576

Consuelo (née Vanderbilt), Duchess of Marlborough with her sons

by Rita Martin
halftone reproduction tear sheet, published 23 July 1910
NPG x136576

D38261

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

by Frederick John Jenkins, after Heller
heliogravure, early 20th century
NPG D38261

x30849

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

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 1909
NPG x30849

x30850

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

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 1909
NPG x30850

x30851

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

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 1909
NPG x30851

x30852

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

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 1909
NPG x30852

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