11 March 2014

Jewel History: Married to a Viscount (1894)

Virginia Coventry, Viscountess Deerhurst [1]
"Married to a Viscount"
(originally appeared in the Washington Post, 11 Mar 1894)

The marriage of Miss Virginia Bonynge [2], daughter of the California millionaire, Charles W. Bonynge [3], to Viscount Deerhurst [4], took place in the Church of All Saints, Kensington, at 2:30 PM today. The weather was perfect. Large crowds of men and women were attracted to the vicinity of the church to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom and study the magnificent costumes of the bridal party.

The church was well filled with guests, among whom were the Princess Christian [5], Princess Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, the Countess of Arran, the Countess of Cairns, the Earl and Countess of Cadogan, the Earl and Countess of Essex, the Earl and Countess of Craven, Lord and Lady Burton, Mrs. Bradley Martin, Gen. and Mrs. Byron, and many others.

The wedding gifts were numerous, costly, and magnificent. The gift of Prince Duleep Singh [6] was a diamond bracelet with enamel links, and that of Prince F. Duleep Singh a diamond pin and a pearl brooch. The Earl of Coventry gave a service of silver plate and a pearl necklace, and a pearl and diamond bracelet were presented by the Earl and Countess of Coventry. Mr. Bonynge, the father of the bride, gave his daughter a diamond tiara, a diamond bracelet, a silver tea and coffee service, and a check for a large sum of money. Besides the presents mentioned, the bride received many others, all of which were of great value and exquisite design.

1. Image published in 1904 Lady's Realm, a monthly women's magazine; see the issue here.
2. Lady Deerhurst (1866-1948) was born Virginia Lee Daniel, the daughter of William Daniel and Rhoda Stephens. Her parents divorced, and her mother married Charles William Bonynge in 1869. She used her stepfather's surname after the marriage. Prior to her marriage to Lord Deerhurst, Virginia was apparently briefly engaged to the Hon. Ronald Greville (whose eventual wife, Margaret, left a fortune's worth of jewelry to the Queen Mother on her death).
3. Charles William Bonynge (1838-1913) was born in Ireland, but made his fortune during the gold mining boom in California. He was involved in a rivalry with John Mackay, the husband of one of Boucheron's best customers.
4. George William Coventry, Viscount Deerhurst (1865-1927) was the eldest son of the 9th Earl of Coventry and Lady Blanche Craven. He died three years before his father, so his elder son, George, became the 10th earl.
5. Princess Helena, the fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; according to a 1903 issue of the San Francisco Call, she was Lady Deerhurst's close friend and sponsor in society.
6. Prince Victor Duleep Singh, son of the Maharaja of Lahore, was married to Lord Deerhurst's sister, Lady Anne Coventry. "Prince F. Duleep Singh" is his younger brother, often called "Prince Freddy."