The Real-Life ‘Downton’ Millionairesses Who Changed Britain

The Real-Life ‘Downton’ Millionairesses Who Changed Britain

Lady Grantham of ‘Downton Abbey’ is definately not an anomaly. British aristocrats married United states heiresses in droves into the very early 1900s. But ended up being it certainly since straightforward as ‘cash for class’?

Tim Teeman

Senior Editor and Writer


It’s the most animated this Downton Abbey fan has ever seen Lady Grantham. Elizabeth McGovern, who plays the duration soap opera’s slack-jawed, sleepy-eyed matriarch Cora—who constantly appears listlessly zonked, whatever disaster has just befallen her spouse or unlucky-in-love daughters—gallops with gusto through the tales regarding the real-life American heiresses who married British aristocrats in the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary series Million Dollar American Princesses.

The series that is three-part which starts on Sunday evening prior to the very first episode of Season Five of Downton, centers around the tales of a clutch regarding the 200 or more American heiresses who married British lords at round the end regarding the 19 th century and also the start of 20 th.

The marital change, at first glance at minimum, appears sharp and sound: Hard-up Uk aristocrats enjoy the wealth of United states heiresses, while United states heiresses get yourself a title and also to are now living in a grand, crumbling castle means before their great grandkids have all Harry Potter-obsessed with precisely the thing that is same. Just exactly What this trade that is seemingly symmetrical of ignored to element in was greed, personalities, and marriage-killing individual frailties.

Just just just What this program persuasively shows is Britain must be jolly grateful for the US women who alighted on its shores—one union produced Britain’s inspirational wartime PM, Winston, while another wedding, generations later, led to Princes William and Harry, and today Prince George. The Royal Family has benefited hugely from the US blood in its veins.

Jennie Jerome, who proceeded to be Lady Randolph Churchill, came to be in Brooklyn in 1854. Read more