A Lydiard House story

We all know the tragic story of Diana Spencer, “the People’s Princess”, but since we started to chase castles, I discovered two of her ancestors, both named Diana Spencer, and both had a lot in common with the modern Diana.

In this story, we meet the second Diana Spencer, who was born in 1734 and was the daughter of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough who belonged to the famous Churchill Spencer family to whom the late Princess of Wales was also related. Much like Lady D, she married a man older than her, a man that needed to find a suitable wife, and probably did not love her. This Diana received a marriage proposal from Frederick St. John the 2nd Viscount of Bolingbrook during a party when he was drunk. However, it did not stop her from saying “I do”.

The similarities do not end here. Much like Diana and The Prince of Wales, Diana and Fredric had two boys together before they decided to separate and get a divorce.  However, this is where the similarity ends because 18th-Century Diana waited only two days before she married Topham Beauclerk, the great-great-grandson of Charles II. She lived with Topham for several years before her divorce from the Viscount, and she and Beauclerk had two illegitimate daughters together. After they got married, they had another two. Here is also where her story starts to become complicated and bitter.

George Richard, her eldest son from the first marriage and the man who became the 3rd Viscount of Bolingbrook, began an affair with her eldest daughter from her second husband. It was a double blow. Firstly, because they were half-brother and sister, but secondly because he was already married when this affair started. The lovers even had two children. When the story exploded in the national press of 1789, they had to leave England and move to Europe, living under a false name. Where they had two more children.

Eventually, George Richard got so tired that he left his half-sister and his original wife behind and moved to America. While in the new world he met a third woman and married her, not telling her anything about his past…Only when his first wife died, did he come clean, and the couple remarried and moved back to England.

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