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Henrietta Howard overcame personal adversity to become an extraordinary figure in Georgian court society and a member of a dynamic circle of writers, poets and politicians. Henrietta Howard was born in Date for Henrietta a titled and respected family, the Hobarts of Blickling Hall in Norfolk. However, her early life was far from easy.
By the time she was 12 she had lost her father in a duel and her mother to illness, and the family was burdened with mounting debts. In the hope of finding some security, in she married Charles Howard, the youngest son of the 5th Earl of Suffolk. Henrietta was left in fear of creditors and, as she noted in one letter, for her own safety. Although trapped in an abusive marriage and plunged into poverty, Henrietta refused to accept her dire circumstances.
Her plan was a success. Her dual roles of mistress and servant were not always easy to reconcile, requiring great tact and diplomacy.
Described by her contemporaries as handsome, witty and intelligent, Henrietta attracted the attention not only of the king but also of many notable writers, politicians and courtiers. In particular, she enjoyed lively correspondence with such literary luminaries as Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and John Gay. The villa is a textbook example of Palladian architecture, the increasingly fashionable building style inspired by the Italian architect Palladio —80 and based on classical principles. The building of Marble Hill was almost certainly made possible after a large gift of stock, jewels, plate, mahogany and furniture to Henrietta from the Prince of Wales in He had stipulated that the gift was to be free from any interference from her estranged husband.
Here she entertained friends on a scale which was said to rival the royal court. After 20 years of service and after falling out of favour with George II, Henrietta retired from her role at court. No longer a mistress and widowed inHenrietta took a second chance on marriage when, inshe married the politician George Berkeley.
Surviving letters between the couple reveal that this was a loving and caring relationship. Together, Henrietta and George visited friends on the continent and remodelled and extended parts of Marble Hill. Her ability to navigate the vicissitudes of life is testament to her tenacity, intelligence and resourcefulness. Marble Hill not only embodies her legacy as a patron of architecture and landscape gardening, but also stands as testament to a woman who fought hard for her independence and security. Read a full history of this English Palladian villa and its gardens beside the Thames, from its origins in the s as a retreat from court life for Henrietta Howard to the present day.
Read about some of the women who left their mark on society and shaped our way of life — from fearless monarchs to pioneering scientists. Henrietta Howard Henrietta Howard overcame personal adversity to become an extraordinary figure in Georgian court society and a member of a dynamic circle of writers, poets Date for Henrietta politicians.
Furniture in the Great Room at Marble Hill. Later Life After 20 years of service and after falling out of favour with George II, Henrietta retired from her role at court. Related Content. History of Marble Hill. Marble Hill Revived. Marble Hill Collection Highlights.
Women in history.Date for Henrietta
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Mrs Henrietta Hall