16 Facts About Dollar Princesses, the American Girls Who were Sold Into Royalty
16 Facts About Dollar Princesses, the American Girls Who were Sold Into Royalty

16 Facts About Dollar Princesses, the American Girls Who were Sold Into Royalty

Trista - February 8, 2019

16 Facts About Dollar Princesses, the American Girls Who were Sold Into Royalty
The Ninth Duke of Marlborough, and Winston Churchill’s grandfather, was born in India in 1871. Geni.

2. They Helped Noblemen Rebuild Crumbling Palaces

British noblemen who were finding themselves short of funds for their lavish lifestyles needed more than money to continue traveling on private yachts. Their homes, which were often centuries-old, frequently were in dire need of repairs that they could not afford. When Alva Vanderbilt arranged for her daughter to marry the Duke of Marlborough, he was thrilled at the match because the money from her dowry could help repair Blenheim Palace, which was falling apart. As soon as the marriage was official on both sides of the Atlantic, the duke began using the money from his wife’s dowry to undertake repairs.

16 Facts About Dollar Princesses, the American Girls Who were Sold Into Royalty
Charles, 9th Duke of Marlborough, with Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough (born Vanderbilt), and their sons John, the 10th Duke of Marlborough, and Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill. Blenheim Palace/ John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery/ Wikimedia Commons.

1. The Practice of Selling Girls for Titles Came to be Viewed as Slavery

Frances Work, who married into nobility against her father’s wishes, became the great-grandmother of Princess Diana. However, her father never got over what she did. In his obituary, he was quoted as having said, “It’s time this international marrying came to a stop for our American girls are ruining our own country by it. As fast as our honorable, hard-working men can earn this money their daughters take it and toss it across the ocean.” Apparently, he wasn’t too happy about being used as a bank account with unlimited funds, or about his daughter marrying a British aristocrat just so she could get a title.

He saw right through the practice, realizing that the British noblemen who were obtaining massive, multi-million-dollar dowries (which could be worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions, in today’s money) so that they could spend it on themselves, often through gambling or expensive vacations. Though the marriages might have been seen as mutually beneficial, ultimately, they were destructive, not only to the individuals who engaged in them but also to the countries that were involved. Americans were shedding money to prop up Britain’s economy, just for status artificially. There had to be a better way for the daughters of the nouveau rich to be accepted.

 

Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

“The ‘Dollar Princess’ and the Duke.” Christie’s. October 22, 2016.

“Meet the real-life Lady Cora.” The Independent. September 18, 2011.

“Titled Americans, the 1890s Guide to Snagging an Aristocrat,” by Evangeline Holland. Edwardian Promenade. August 9, 2012.

“Frances Ellen Work: The New York roots of Prince Harry,” by Chris Graham. The Telegraph. November 28, 2017.

“Lady Mary Curzon’s Peacock dress.” The National Trust.

“Who the F Is … Arts Patron Winnaretta Singer?” by Trudy Ring. Pride. January 29, 2015.

“The Dollar Princesses: How American Social Climbers Sold Their Daughters To British Nobles For Rank,” by Genevieve Carlton. Ranker.

“The Real-Life ‘Downton’ Millionairesses Who Changed Britain,” by Tim Teeman. The Daily Beast. Dec. 31, 2014

“When New Money Meets Old Bloodlines: On America’s Gilded Age Dollar Princesses,” by Caroline Weber. Lit Hub.
November 13, 2020

“How American Rich Kids Bought Their Way Into the British Elite”, by Angela Serratore. Smithsonian Magazine. August 13, 2013

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