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Earle, Giles (c. 1678–1758), politician and wit, was born about 1678 at the family residence, Eastcourt House, Crudwell, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, the sixth son of Sir Thomas Earle MP, a merchant and mayor of Bristol, and his wife, Elizabeth Ellinor Jackson. He was educated at the ...

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Gibson [née Cullum], (Susannah) Arethusa (1814–1885), society hostess and political activist, was born on 11 January 1814 at Southgate Green, Bury St Edmunds, the only child of Revd Sir Thomas Gery Cullum, eighth baronet (1777–1855), and his first wife, Mary Anne, née...

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James Hare (bap. 1747, d. 1804) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, c. 1774–5 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hare, James (bap. 1747, d. 1804), social celebrity and politician, was baptized on 9 April 1747 at Somerton, Somerset, the second son of Joseph Hare, an apothecary at Wells, and his wife, Frances. For many years he was wrongly identified as the son of one ...

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Pamela Beryl Harriman (1920–1997) by Diana H. Walker, 1977 Getty Images – Diana H. Walker

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Hay, Robert William (1786–1861), civil servant and dilettante, was born and baptized on 9 January 1786 in Brodsworth, Yorkshire, the eldest child of George William Auriol Hay-Drummond (1761–1807)—himself the youngest son of George Henry Hay, eighth earl of Kinnoull—author, poet, prebendary of ...

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See Hobart, George, third earl of Buckinghamshire

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Dame Fanny Lucy Houston (1857–1936) by Bassano, c. 1909–10 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Houston, Dame Fanny Lucy (1857–1936), adventuress, was born on 8 April 1857 at Kennington, fourth daughter of Thomas Radmall, box-maker, and his wife, Maria Isabella Clarke. A juvenile actress known as Poppy Radmall, she eloped at the age of sixteen to Paris with the brewer ...

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Mary Isabella Manners, duchess of Rutland (1756–1831) by Valentine Green, pubd 1780 (after Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1780) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Manners [née Somerset], Mary Isabella, duchess of Rutland (1756–1831), politician and society hostess, was born on 1 August 1756, the fifth and youngest daughter of Charles Noel Somerset, fourth duke of Beaufort (1709–1756) [see under Somerset, Henry, second duke of Beaufort...

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Mosley [née Curzon], Lady Cynthia Blanche (1898–1933), politician and society figure, was born at The Priory, Reigate, Surrey, on 23 August 1898, the second of three daughters of George Nathaniel Curzon, later first Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (1859–1925), and his first wife, the American heiress ...

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Mary Catherine Stanley, countess of Derby (1824–1900) by James Rannie Swinton, 1850 The Marquess of Salisbury. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Stanley [née Sackville-West], Mary Catherine, countess of Derby [other married name Mary Catherine Gascoyne-Cecil, marchioness of Salisbury] (1824–1900), grande dame and politician manqué, was born, probably at Bourn, Cambridgeshire, on 23 July 1824, sixth of the nine children of George Sackville-West, ...

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Villiers, George, second duke of Buckingham (1628–1687), politician and wit, was born on 30 January 1628 at Wallingford House, Westminster, the third child of George Villiers, first duke of Buckingham (1592–1628), courtier and royal favourite, and Lady Katherine Manners (later Katherine MacDonnell; 1603?–1649), eldest daughter of the ...

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George Villiers, second duke of Buckingham (1628–1687) by John Michael Wright, 1669 private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Willyams, Sarah Brydges [née Sarah Mendez da Costa] (d. 1863), heiress and benefactor of Benjamin Disraeli, was the younger daughter of Abraham Mendez da Costa (d. 1782), of Bath, and his wife, Elizabeth Leigh, whom he married in 1775. Sarah was descended from a line of Peninsular–English Jews via ...