Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire was born Lady Georgiana Spencer on June 7th, 1757. Georgiana Cavendish was the first wife of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire. Her father, John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer, was a great-grandson of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Her niece was Lady Caroline Lamb. Among her descendants is the present Duke of Devonshire (via her granddaughter). Another was Diana, Princess of Wales (born Lady Diana Spencer), who was descended from Georgiana's brother, the 2nd Earl Spencer.
Georgiana Cavendish was a celebrated beauty and a socialite who gathered around her a large circle of literary and political figures. She was also an active political campaigner in an age when women's suffrage was still over a century away.
Georgiana married William Cavendish on June 6, 1774. They has a son , William George Spencer Cavendish who became the 6th Duke of Devonshire and 2 daughters. They were Georgiana Cavendish (1783-1858) and Harriet Cavendish (1785-1862).
Georgiana was famous not only for her marital arrangements, her beauty and sense of style, her political campaigning, but also for her love of gambling. She was reported to have died deeply in debt, even though her own family the Spencers and her husband's family the Cavendishes were immensely wealthy.
During her years in the public eye, Georgiana was painted by Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds. Gainsborough's famous painting of her in a large French hat was lost for many years. It was purchased a decade ago by Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire for the Chatsworth collection.
The life of Georgiana Cavendish is being made into a movie called 'The Duchess' and filmed at Chatsworth House and Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire later in 2007. It is being directed by Saul Dibbs and stars Keira Knightley as Georgiana.
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