Between 1823 and 1861, a multitude of relatively expensive illustrated books containing collections of prose and verse were first produced in England and later in America that were intended primarily to be given as gifts. These gift books or literary annuals were published primarily for profit rather than for literary merit. Aimed at middle-class families to enhance their expectations for increased sophistication, these and subsequent other gift books were sentimentally entitled: Amulet, Book of Beauty, Keepsake, and Literary Souvenir. Great care was given to the appearance of the annuals to ensure that they were fitting ornamentation for library, parlor, or boudoir. Although initially intended as Christmas presents, the annuals were promoted as suitable gifts for all occasions. They were produced in as elegant, elaborate, and attractive detail as possible. Many innovations in book binding technology were developed and tested on the literary annuals. Early volumes had colored and glazed paper boards printed with decorative titles and designs, and then were inserted in slip cases of the same design. Later volumes were bound in silk fabric or embossed leather bindings. The publishers were reimbursed by over a million pounds sterling for sales of over a million copies of these annuals.
Elizabeth, Duchess of Wellington (1820-1904) was born Lady Elizabeth Hay, a daughter of the eighth Marquess of Tweeddale. One of her brothers was the ornithologist Viscount Walden, and another the Admiral of the Fleet Lord John Hay. In 1839 she was married to Lord Douro, eldest son of the famous general and former Tory Prime Minister the first Duke of Wellington. Lord Douro succeeded his father as second Duke of Wellington in 1852. The Duchess of Wellington was appointed Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria in 1861 by the Liberal Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, and continued in that rôle until 1868, serving through the governments of Lord Russell, Lord Derby and Benjamin Disraeli. She was again Mistress of the Robes in Disraeli's second government, 1874 to 1880. Her husband died on 13 August 1884, and the Dowager Duchess survived him for exactly twenty years to the day, dying at Bearhill Park, Walton-on-Thames on 13 August 1904. They had no children.
The Duchess of Wellington was a Third Class recipient of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert during Queen Victoria's reign. Wikipedia
The beauty of the ball was the Marchioness of Douro, who not so long ago had been the beauty of the season as Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of the Marquis of Tweeddale, when she caught the fancy of the elder, son and heir of the Duke of Wellington. In this case beauty was not unadorned, for the lovely Marchioness, [Footnote: Her likeness is familiar to many people in an engraving from a well-known picture of the Duke of Wellington showing his daughter-in-law the field of Waterloo] the Greek mould of whose head attracted the admiration of all judges, was said to wear jewels to the value of sixty thousand pounds, while the superb point-lace flounce to her white brocade must have been a source of pious horror to good Roman Catholics, since it was believed to have belonged to the sacred vestments of a pope.
(Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen by by Sarah Tytler)
The Prince's misogynist tendencies were put
severely to the test at his wife's Court, for Victoria
liked pretty people about her, and was said to have
ladies " who were in appearance ideal attendants upon
an ideal Queen." There was the young Marchioness
of Douro, wife of one of the Wellesleys, for whom the
Queen had a great liking, and who was beautiful
enough for Punch to compliment her through the lips
of a stoker on the N.W.R. :
"But, Lord, Jem ! that there Marchioness Douro 's a bewty,
(Wich Princesses and Princes to nuss it's her dooty,)
And sez I to myself ' Bless your sweet face, sez I, ma'am I
If I goes off the line with yer, blow me sky high, ma'am ! ' "
(THE MARRIED LIFE OF QUEEN VICTORIA by BY CLARE JERROLD, 1913)
THE GIRLHOOD OF QUEEN VICTORIA
A SELECTION FROM HER MAJESTY'S
DIARIES BETWEEN THE YEARS 1832 AND 1840
"..Princesse Schwartzenberg looked very pretty but
tired ; and Mme. Zavadowsky beautiful, and so
sweet and placid"...