Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Dollar Princess of The Gilded Age and Downton Abbey

Who were the Dollar Princess of the Gilded Age? They were young rich American girls that had been rejected by the old-money society families and that eventually sought status elsewhere by traveling abroad and marrying British aristocrats men.

At that time in Britain such marriage arrangements were well received. The reason being was because many of these dukes and earls were at that time struggling with debt and their castles had also become badly deteriorated. These men were also looking for a solution to their problems. By marrying a multi-million Dollar Princess they too had it made!

Jennie Jerome 
Jennie Jerome was one well known Dollar Princess. Like many in her shoes, instead of trying to break the code into the New York elite club she along with her mother and sister traveled to Europe in search for a title. When she married Lord Randolph Churchill, she became London's it girl.  And eventually she became mother of Britain Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

These Dollar Princess stories became an inspiration for the T.V. series Downton AbbeyLord Grantham married the rich American Heiress Cora Crawley, who then became Countess of Grantham.

Consuelo Vanderbilt

Consuelo Vanderbilt at the age of 19 was encouraged by her mother Alva to marry Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. But Consuelo was not interested in the duke. She had her heart set on Winthrop Rutherfurd an American whom she had been secretly engaged to.

When her mother had heard that she was going to elope, she locked her daughter in her room and threatened to kill her beau. This stubborn young lady still refused to marry the duke.

It wasn't until her mom's alleged illness and supposedly to the point of dying, which she blamed her daughter for, was when Consuelo acquiesced and went ahead and married the duke.

It was a sad wedding day for Consuelo. At the altar she wept behind her veil. The duke himself also had to give up the woman that he loved.

It's crazy how far some families were willing to go just to get a status.

The Following video is from CBS Sunday Morning Show: The American heiresses who inspired "Downton Abbey."

For more information and interesting videos about The Dollar Princess visit:

Research: CBS Sunday Morning, Smithsonian Channel, and Wikipedia.

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