The Duchess of Kingston in Russia

Duchess by bigamy, but a Countess by marriage, Elizabeth Chudleigh found refuge from her marital troubles in St Petersburg, writes Anthony Cross.

‘Of two versts beyond the post-house at Tewe I we ascended a gentle eminence, and A beheld the grey waters of the Gulf of Finland, and the small marine hamlet of T’houdley, formerly the seat of the celebrated Duchess of Kingston.’

For Dr Bozzo Granville, travelling through the Baltic provinces on his way to St Petersburg in 1827, memories of the extraordinary Miss Elizabeth Chudleigh (1720-88) and of the time she spent in Russia in the twilight of her life remained strong. ‘Mademoiselle Chudleigh, Hervey, Kingston, Bristol, Wartz,’ as Mrs Boscawen once described her to her gossip Mrs Delaney, was one of those personalities on whom the eighteenth century thrived and whose “shocking” exploits filled many a page in the correspondence of the period.

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