The Marchioness of Londonderry came to the Devonshire House Ball dressed as Empress Maria Theresa of Austria – a strong reference to her own powerful position in the political life of the country.
Although the costume was executed by Messrs. Durrant of New Bond Street, the embroidery was carried out by young ladies at a needlework school — a charitable purchase by Lady Londonderry. The bodice was further adorned with a magnificent diamond stomacher and ropes of pearls festooned on each side. She wore a necklace of pear-shaped pearls, with another diamond rivière above and as a crown the famous Londonderry tiara has been adapted by the addition of a cross of brilliants. The newspapers were unanimous that Lady Londonderry “looked the part to perfection” and she was listed among “the beauties of the night.”
The Londonderrys’ four country residences were favourites of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), where they were entertained in state no less than eight times between 1890 to 1903.
Daisy, Princess of Pless, wrote of her as one of the “universally acknowledged beauties” and always remembered Lady Londonderry’s advice at the beginning of her marriage: “My Dear, always enter a room, as if the whole place belongs to you”!
The British novelist EF Benson also recalled the strong-minded Marchioness with something akin to admiration: “she went for life hammer and tongs…. Like a highwayman in a tiara, trampling on her enemies as if they had been a bed of nettles.”
When she died, the British military journalist, Charles Repington, wrote: “she was one of the most striking and dominating feminine personalities of our time, terrifying to some, but endeared to many friends by her notable and excellent qualities”.