Marriage of Lord Glamis and Miss Cavendish Bentinck

Cecilia Nina Cavendish Bentinck when the Countess of Strathmore by Mabel Hankey, 1923, Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Today’s guests are Sarah Murden and Joanne Major. They are are authors of several books, including “A Right Royal Scandal” that has just released in the United States. Here is their guest post.

Cecilia Nina Cavendish Bentinck was born in 1862. Her parents were the well-connected Rev Charles Cavendish Bentinck and his second wife, Caroline Louisa née Burnaby. At the age of 18-years, Cecilia Nina married Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis and the future 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and, in time, their youngest daughter Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon would become better known to history as Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

Our latest book, “A Right Royal Scandal,” takes a closer look at Reverend Charles Cavendish Bentinck and his wider family. Today we’d like to share a newspaper report on Cecilia Nina’s marriage with you. It’s from the Nottingham Evening Post, 18th July 1881.

The marriage of Lord Glamis, 2nd Life Guards, eldest son of the Earl of Strathmore, and Miss Nina Cecilia Cavendish Bentinck, eldest daughter of Mrs Harry Scott and the late Mr Charles William Frederick Cavendish Bentinck, was celebrated by special licence at St Peter’s, the parish church of Petersham, on Saturday afternoon.

Petersham Church by Alfred Heyworth, Government Art Collection

The generally quiet village presented quite a gay aspect till long after the wedding was over. Those invited to the ceremony assembled at the church by one o’clock. The small, quaint old church was beautifully decorated with lilies and other fragrant flowers. The non-commissioned officers of Lord Glamis’s troop in the 2nd Life Guards lined the aisle till after the ceremony was concluded, and then removed to the avenue by which the church is approached from the high road.

Mrs Arthur James, Venetia née Cavendish Bentinck by Luke Fildes, 1895 via Wikimedia

[Many] relatives and friends came early, and in a short time the small church was crowded;  indeed many who had come to witness the ceremony were unable to gain admittance. The bride-groom, accompanied by Mr H Streatfield, Grenadier Guards, his cousin, as his best-man, reached the church sometime before the bride arrived. The bride, accompanied by her stepfather, Mr Harry Scott, arrived shortly after one o’clock and on alighting from her carriage was received by her attendant bridesmaids, eight in number, namely Miss Violet and Miss Hyacinthe Bentinck, her sisters; Ladies Constance, Mildred and Maud Lyon, sisters of the bridegroom; Miss Venetia Cavendish Bentinck, Miss Newton and Miss Helen Duff, cousins of the bride.

Fashion plate from 1881 Revue de la Mode (Historia mody/History of Fashion by Kajani)

The bride’s dress was composed of ivory satin, trimmed with point de gaze, and on her hair a wreath of natural orange blossoms, over which flowed a long tulle veil. She carried a bouquet of white flowers, but wore no jewels.

The bridesmaids, who were dressed alike, wore costumes of white llama [lamé], trimmed with coffee lace, and having white moire sashes, and chip hats with cream ostrich feathers. Each wore, fastened on a pale blue bow, an initial brooch in diamonds, surmounted by a coronet in pearls, the gift of the bridegroom, and all carried bouquets of pink roses and stephanotis. Immediately after the bride, bearing her train, followed as a page, the Honorable Malcolm Lyon, youngest brother of Lord Glamis, in Royal Stuart tartan.

The marriage service was performed by the Hon and Rev Robert Liddell, M.A., of St Paul’s Knightsbridge, assisted by the Rev GC Rivett-Carnac, B.A., curate of Petersham and the Rev Samuel G Beal, domestic chaplain to the Earl of Strathmore. The bride was given away by Mr Scott, her stepfather.

William Arthur Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland by Joseph Brown, 1880s, © National Portrait Gallery, London

As Lord Glamis and his bride passed to their carriage twelve village school girls, neatly dressed in white, with straw hats adorned with bunches of daisies, strewed their pathway with roses, geraniums and other flowers; and as they drove off the young couple were loudly cheered by a crowd of villagers. Afterwards Mr and Mrs Scott entertained the wedding guests at Forbes House, Ham Common.  Luncheon was served in a large open marquee erected on the lawn of the pleasure grounds in the rear of the house. Upwards of 160 guests sat down. Lord Glamis and his bride sat at the top of the principal table under a large bell, composed entirely of fresh, variedly coloured roses, and when the bride cut the cake the bell was swung. The band of the 2nd Life Guards, conducted by Mr W Winterbotham, played during the breakfast and afternoon.

Before the guests rose from the table the Duke of Portland proposed ‘The health, happiness and prosperity of the bride and bridegroom’, whose wedding they had assembled to celebrate, and Lord Glamis briefly thanked the Duke and friends for their kind wishes on his own behalf and that of his wife. At half-past three o’clock Lord and Lady Glamis started for St Paul’s, Walden and the Earl of Strathmore’s place in Hertfordshire, where they purpose passing the honeymoon. The bride’s travelling dress was of ecru nun’s cloth, trimmed with lace and hat to match. The bridal presents were numerous.

* * * * *

As an aside, when the Rev Charles Cavendish Bentinck married Caroline Louisa Burnaby in 1859, the wedding took place in St Paul’s, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, and the curate who conducted Cecilia Nina’s marriage ceremony was from the same church. Caroline Louisa was deeply religious and ‘High Church’; St Paul’s was the first London church to adhere to the Oxford Movement which eventually developed into Anglo-Catholicism.

If you would like to visit and learn more about Sarah and Joanne’s website, All Things Georgian, click here to be transported. To connect with them on twitter, click here for Sarah and here for Joanne.

If you are interested in learning more about their book, here is a brief summary:

A love story as well as a brilliantly researched historical biography, “A Right Royal Scandal” is a continuation of Joanne and Sarah’s first biography, An Infamous Mistress, about the eighteenth-century courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott, whose daughter was the first wife of Lord Charles Bentinck. The book ends by showing how, if not for a young gypsy and her tragic life, the British monarchy would look very different today.

Almost two books in one, “A Right Royal Scandal” recounts the fascinating history of the irregular love matches contracted by two successive generations of the Cavendish-Bentinck family, ancestors of the British Royal Family. The first part of this intriguing book looks at the scandal that erupted in Regency London, just months after the Battle of Waterloo, when the widowed Lord Charles Bentinck eloped with the Duke of Wellington’s married niece. A messy divorce and a swift marriage followed, complicated by an unseemly tug-of-war over Lord Charles’ infant daughter from his first union. Over two decades later and while at Oxford University, Lord Charles’ eldest son, known to his family as Charley, fell in love with a beautiful gypsy girl, and secretly married her. He kept this union hidden from his family, in particular his uncle, William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 4th Duke of Portland, upon whose patronage he relied. When his alliance was discovered, Charley was cast adrift by his family, with devastating consequences.

If you are interested in Joanne and Sarah’s first book about Grace Dalrymple Elliott titled “An Infamous Mistress,” click here.

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