Georgiana Lady Dudley was a close friend of Empress Elisabeth and one of the few callers who could get to see Sisi when she was visiting England. One of eight daughters, all of whom were noted beauties. Aged 17 she married the Earl of Dudley and lived in a gilded cage, surrounded by wealth but not able to take any responsibility, even as mistress of two great stately homes.
Lady Dudley outshone all around her including her visit to the French Court and Empress Eugenie. And The Times reported ‘In Vienna the crowds gathered in the Plaza to watch the Imperial carriage pass to and fro admitted that their hitherto peerless Empress paled before the Englishwoman seated by her side’.
In 1879 the Earl was struck down by a stroke and Lady Dudley took over management of their great estates and was constantly by his side until he died six years later. Georgiana was wooed by many suitors but refused to re-marry. She was a favourite of Edward VII and was friendly with the leading people of Europe.
Lady Dudley helped convalescing soldiers in the South African War and worked with the Red Cross in the First World War.
Attribution By Alice Hughes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons