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Old 12-04-2007, 08:05 AM
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A request

I'm a garden designer and writer from Sydney. Is it rude of me to make my introduction with a request?

I have to confess that I wandered in here while researching a book I'm writing on roses, or rather on people who have had roses named after them. I've been very impressed with the knowledge that everyone displays, and I hope this is an appropriate place to ask a question about a lady who though not royal herself moved in British royal circles all her life.

One of the roses I'm including is 'Lady Mary Fitzwilliam', which was raised in 1882 and is important not only for its own beauty but because almost every rose you're likely to have in your garden descends from it. The Queen Mother of the Roses, as one writer has described it.

Now, I can tell you that the lady for whom it was named lived from 1846 to 1929, her maiden name was Lady Mary Grace Louisa Butler, she was the daughter of John Butler, the 2nd Earl of Ormonde. She married the honorable William Henry Fitzwilliam,(1840 -1920) son of the 6th Earl Fitzwilliam in 1877.

She was appointed Lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria's cousin the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and was an intimate friend of the Duchess of Edinburgh. Queen Marie of Roumania speaks of her in he rmemoirs and says she was a redhead, no great beauty but charming and unconventional in her ideas... It is said she was so close to the Royal Family that Queen Victoria had to give permission for the rose to be named after her...

My request is this: Does anyone have a picture of her or can point me to where I might find one?
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:19 PM
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Hi Roger
Google image searches under various headings failed to find a single picture of Lady Mary; lots of roses, but no lady. No luck there, I'm afraid.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:28 PM
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Thank you, Warren!

That has my experience too -- all the image searches turned up lots of pictures of the rose, but none of the lady herself. I think it's the rose that will keep her memory alive.

But I did find this one last night, in a page of pictures of her house, Wiganthorpe Hall in Yorkshire. (It was demolished in 1955.)

I assume that's her in the white dress and Queen Mary hat, but just who all those children are the page didn't say. The children of the estate staff? Or is she presiding over a garden party for the village children? Hard to tell -- and even cropped in fairly close the picture is not of sufficient quality to give more than a generic impression of a tall and stately old lady. Still, my editor may consider that's better than nothing.
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