Marcel Proust wrote of Gladys ‘I by no means noticed a woman with such good looks, such marvelous intelligence, such goodness and beauty.’ A family member and muse additionally to Rodin, Epstein and Hoffmansthal, the daughter of rich American citizens, Gladys’s adolescence was once overshadowed by means of her father’s imprisonment for murdering her mom’s lover. Leaving the States for Europe, along with her glamorous but bold mom, on the top of the belle epoque, she changed into loved and in demand within the best literary and aristocratic circles. In England she changed into a favorite visitor at Blenheim all through the Duke of Marlborough’s first marriage to the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Regardless of many provides of marriage, Gladys saved her independence till, elderly 40, she gained the invitation she may now not refuse – to marry the Duke of Marlborough and, as his 2d spouse, grow to be the Duchess of Blenheim Palace. Nevertheless it was once to be unsatisfied, Gladys loathing the Duke, and after all discovering herself cruelly evicted from Blenheim. Her ultimate years had been spent in lonely, eccentric isolation, by no means shedding her fiercely unbiased spirit.

Acclaimed royal biographer Hugo Vickers, editor of the bestselling The Quest for Queen Mary, knew Gladys in opposition to the top of her lifestyles. He attracts on his shiny reminiscences, diaries, and Gladys’s private archive to convey us the story of an interesting, fascinating, advanced, in large part forgotten lady of her age.