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February 27, 2024 39 mins

Mary Eleanor Bowes managed to escape her abusive husband, Andrew Stoney, but the trial to divorce him and secure her financial freedom would ultimately risk her reputation, and her life. CW: spousal abuse, rape

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Noble Blood, a production of iHeartRadio and Grim
and Mild from Aaron Manky. Listener discretion advised. This is
part two of our two part series on Mary Eleanor
Bow's so if you haven't listened to part one you
should probably start there. And just a brief content warning,
this episode contains descriptions of spousal abuse. In early February

(00:30):
seventeen eighty five, a scandal swept the coffeehouses of upper
crust Georgian London. Mary Eleanor Bows, one of the richest
women in Britain, had disappeared. She had always been a
little bit eccentric, but in the years after marrying Irish

(00:50):
soldier Andrew Robinson Stoney, things had gotten well stranger. Bows
was known for being well spoken, elegant and poised, but
recently she had been appearing at dinners in tattered clothes
with cuts and bruises, sometimes barely saying a word, and

(01:12):
then one day she was gone. The most plausible hypothesis
was that she had eloped with some other man, but
even that was far fetched. No one had even heard
a rumor about another swain or suitor. The truth was
something no one could have guessed Mary Eleanor Bow's wealthy

(01:34):
heiress was hiding out using a fake name with no money,
in a small apartment off an alleyway. At the time
of her disappearance, Mary Eleanor Bows had been married to
Andrew Robinson Stoney for eight years. As she discovered soon

(01:54):
after their shotgun wedding, he had wooed her under false
pretenses orchis an elaborate scheme including a fake psychic reading
and a fake duel to marry her and arrest control
of her vast coal fortune. Stony then made Mary Eleanor's

(02:14):
life a living hell, starving her, isolating her, and beating her,
which brings us to her disappearance in early seventeen eighty five.
Fearing for her life, Mary Eleanor escaped with the help
of a few of her maids. She fled to a
little apartment off an alleyway in Holborn, with no possessions,

(02:37):
no money, and using a false name. Soon the public
would learn what had happened. As Mary Eleanor made initial
steps to secure her independence, she set in motion three
separate legal proceedings to try to get her freedom. The
first was to protect her life, getting physical protection from Stony.

(03:00):
The second motion was to protect her fortune, trying to
ensure a prenup that she had managed to secretly smuggle
away from under Stoney's nose would be honored. But it
would be the third motion that would prove most difficult
of all. Mary Eleanor Bowes was seeking a divorce from Stony,

(03:21):
the man she accused of quote beating, scratching, biting, pinching, whipping, kicking, imprisoning, insulting, provoking, tormenting, mortifying, degrading, tyrannizing, cajoling, deceiving, lying, starving, forcing, compelling,
and ringing of the heart. Under British law, that was

(03:43):
technically grounds for divorce, but in practice divorces were expensive
and extremely uncommon. Most of the plaintiffs in divorce cases
were men. Women rarely filed for divorce and rarely won.
Mary Eleanor must have been daunted by the legal battles
She knew she faced ahead, but achieving her freedom would

(04:06):
turn out to be more lengthy, expensive, and emotionally taxing
than she could have ever imagined, and it would put
her fortune, her reputation, and her life at risk. I'm
Danish Schwartz, and this is noble blood. Back at Gibbside Castle,

(04:29):
Stony was already enraged at Mary Eleanor's disappearance, so we
can only imagine his anger when he heard of the
three motions she was filing. He set his sights on
tracking his wife down, bribing servants to find and reveal
her address, and even paying off shop owners to keep
them from giving her food, hoping that if she's starved,

(04:52):
she might be more likely to return to him and
reconsider divorce. Stony also began in timid and paying off witnesses,
threatening to fire maids and valets to prevent them from
testifying against him. While he was stalking Mary Eleanor and
bullying potential witnesses in private. He took great pains to

(05:16):
appear in public as a long suffering, compassionate husband whose
mercurial wife had suddenly up and left, deserting him and
two young children. This made it all the harder for
Mary Eleanor, who was trying to find support for her
legal cases while still in hiding. Unlike Stony, who had

(05:38):
unfettered access to her family's estate, Mary Eleanor had no money.
She reached out to her own family for financial, legal,
or even emotional support. But they politely declined they saw
her divorce as an embarrassment. Surprisingly, it was actually Stoney's

(06:00):
family who was far more sympathetic to Mary Eleanor's plight.
Stoney's sister, who was grieving the death of her first child,
wrote a letter to Mary Eleanor saying, quote what a
blessing it would be if my brother had been taken
off at that age, while Stoney's father told Mary Eleanor

(06:21):
that Stoney was quote the most wretched man I ever knew,
But family loyalty prevented them from publicly supporting Mary Eleanor.
They refused to appear in court. While the Georgian elite
was more than willing to cast Mary Eleanor aside, as
scholar Wendy Moore put it, quote, those who had the

(06:43):
most to lose showed her the greatest loyalty. Mary Eleanor's
maid supported her without wages and were willing to appear
in court to speak about Stoney's abuse, putting their careers
and even their lives at risk. When shopkeepers were forbidden
from providing Mary Eleanor with food, gardeners sent her fruit

(07:05):
and vegetables to eat. Mary Eleanor's lawyers worked on her
case pro bono, assuming they would be paid if she won.
Needing a panoply of witnesses to provide proof of Stoney's mistreatment,
Mary Eleanor spent her days writing and responding to letters
trying to drum up support for her case. As her

(07:28):
maid and close confidant, Mary Morgan, ran the letters to
the post office. Being granted a divorce by a British
court required a high burden of proof. A separation would
only be granted if the offending party perpetuated life threatening,
unprovoked acts of violence and cheated habitually. Mary Eleanor had

(07:53):
a few witnesses testifying to Stoney's violence, but she needed
to prove his adultery to shore her case. Dorothy Stevens,
a wet nurse in the Beau's household, not only witnessed
Stoney's abuse but suffered it herself. Stoney had raped her
and gotten her pregnant before depositing her in a brothel

(08:16):
and leaving her and her newborn child destitute. When Mary
Eleanor tried to get in contact with sex workers that
lived with Dorothy, no one had seen any sign of her.
Four weeks it wasn't until Dorothy's parents reached out to
Mary Eleanor in April seventeen eighty five that Mary Eleanor

(08:37):
figured out what had happened. In order to prevent Dorothy
from testifying against him, Stoney had kidnapped her and their
three month old daughter and imprisoned them in a house
in Kensington. Mary Eleanor and Dorothy's parents obtained a writ
of habeas corpus to free her from Stoney's grasp. Dorothy

(09:00):
appeared in court two weeks later, calling Stoney quote a
man of very cruel, savage and abandoned disposition. Dorothy's testimony
opened the floodgates. From then, many of Stoney's tenants and
staff came forward with their own first hand experiences of

(09:23):
his violence toward his wife. Perhaps sensing that the tide
was turning against him, Andrew Stoney proposed an arbitration to
divide up the estate between him and Mary Eleanor in
exchange for Mary Eleanor suspending her divorce case. She agreed,

(09:44):
but we should know by now that peace seeking was
not in Stoney's nature. What would have normally been a
conciliatory move masked Stoney's plan to crush Mary Eleanor into submission,
Stoney used the guise of reconciliation to try and track
Mary Eleanor down. He told his staff, who he knew

(10:08):
were providing Mary Eleanor with provisions and support, that they
had reconciled and that there was no more need to
hide her location. Finally, Stoney managed to find his wife
by seizing a weekly delivery of garden produce from one
of the groundskeepers, which contained her address. But Mary Eleanor

(10:29):
was tipped off to Stoney's attempt to find her, and
she managed to flee her apartment with no time to spare.
She rejected Stoney's settlement and pressed forward with her trials.
Back when Stoney had been trying to woo Mary Eleanor,
he had staged a duel. Now in an effort to

(10:50):
push back their divorce, he told the press that he
had shot himself. He hadn't, but he thought the confusion
might delay things. But on May sixth, seventeen eighty six,
the divorce suit finally came up for hearing. According to
the court conventions at the time, lawyers had been hearing

(11:10):
depositions from witnesses on both sides for over a year,
cross examining them in private. The court convened just so
that the judge could make his decision. Astonishingly, he sided
with Mary Eleanor. The judge mandated that the couple be
divorced from bed bored and mutual cohabitation, and allotted Mary

(11:34):
Eleanor three hundred pounds a year in alimony on the
grounds of both adultery and cruelty. Mary Eleanor must have
been relieved to see her hard work pay off. She
had only sex workers and servants on her side, no
money to pay her lawyers, and struggled against a patriarchal

(11:55):
society that demonized divorce. But after an unless win, Mary
Eleanor perhaps could exhale. But this was only the beginning
of the legal battle ahead. Mary Eleanor's prenuptial agreement was
still up for debate, which would either give her access

(12:15):
to the fortune she had lost or condemn her to
a life of poverty. Moreover, Andrew Stony, a man who
had faked his own death two weeks earlier to avoid
appearing in court, was not going to let go so easily.
He immediately appealed the divorce decision, sending the couple back

(12:35):
to court once again, and this time he was going
to play dirty to win. Even with another divorce trial
on the horizon and her prenup still up for debate,
Mary Eleanor was free, at least for a moment. At

(12:57):
social events, she appeared happy and relf. She visited friends
in the countryside and played quadrille at opulent parties awaiting
the new legal term in the fall. But when the
conversation veered toward her ex husband, Mary Eleanor's fear and
anxiety emerged. She spoke to friends about strange men pretending

(13:21):
to be law officers appearing at her doorstep, of deranged
women trying to break into her house, of carriages following
her down city streets, her male getting intercepted. Polite society
dismissed her concerns, calling her paranoid. Behind her back, even
Mary Eleanor was questioning her own sanity. One night in

(13:45):
October seventeen eighty six, one of her maids told her
that a Hackney carriage had been following their coach. The
maid could have sworn that she saw Stony leaning out
of the window of the carriage, but it turned doubt
that she was mistaken. He had been convalescing in bed
after falling off his horse a few days prior. Even so,

(14:08):
Mary barred any strangers from entering her house, and she
vowed to stay inside until her divorce appeal was over.
She hired a bodyguard to keep an eye out for
any suspicious carriages or onlookers lingering outside her home. After
a few days, on November tenth, seventeen eighty six, Mary

(14:30):
Eleanor felt sick of being cooped up and decided to
visit a friend on Oxford Street, not far from the
house on Bloomsbury Square where she was staying. Her bodyguard
told her that she had nothing to worry about, but
Mary Eleanor had trouble relaxing. She had barely sat down
for tea when she heard some commotion outside, and, fearing

(14:53):
the worst, she locked herself in a garret room before
her bodyguard appeared and told her it was safe to leave.
As Mary Eleanor walked out the door onto Oxford Street,
she was greeted with a crowd of armed men pointing
their pistols right at her. Her bodyguard told her that

(15:13):
she was being arrested, and he led her into her
carriage at gunpoint. Mary Eleanor screamed for help, begging to
be let go, but the gathering crowd simply watched as
the carriage sped away. She wasn't being arrested. It was
a kidnapping. On the carriage ride. Mary Elinor must have

(15:34):
wondered whether this was Stoney's doing or whether she just
happened to be the unlucky victim of an extortion or crime.
But as the carriage arrived at the Red Lion Tavern,
she had her answer. Stoney was waiting for her outside
the front door. It turned out that all of Mary

(15:55):
Eleanor's paranoia was warranted. Stoney had been planning this kidnap
for almost a month. Fearing that he would lose his
divorce appeal, Stoney came up with yet another scheme. If
he couldn't threaten Mary Eleanor into dropping the suit, he
would force her to live with him, which would undermine

(16:16):
her case, because the thinking went, why would he file
a divorce against someone you were quote unquote willingly living with.
He had bribed the man that became Mary Eleanor's bodyguard
to insinuate himself into her life when she hired him.
He reported to Stoney daily update about what she was

(16:39):
up to. The bodyguard told Stony that Mary Eleanor planned
to leave the house on November tenth, and so Stoney
set the last steps of his plan into motion. He
gathered together a group of cronies with guns to surround
her and force her into a carriage. Immediately upon returning

(17:05):
to Gibside Castle, Stoney and Mary Eleanor sat beside each
other at the long dinner table in the dining room.
He held a pistol to her breast, threatening to shoot
her if she didn't drop the lawsuit. She refused. He
told her to pray, and she did, saying I recommend

(17:26):
my spirit to God and my friend to his protection.
Fire and Stony did, but when he pulled the trigger,
the gunpowder failed to ignite. Enraged, he punched her twice
and asked her if that made her change her mind.
She said, you may shoot me or beat me to

(17:48):
a mummy. My person is in your power, but my
mind is beyond your reach. Perhaps a little in awe
of her determination, he said, by God, you are a
wonderful woman. He had two of his cronies drag her
up to their bedroom and he ordered her to sleep
with him, knowing that if they had sex, he could

(18:11):
claim that she wanted to remain his wife, which would
render the divorce suit invalid. But Mary refused to consent,
saying that she would accuse him of rape if he
laid a hand on her. Stoney relented, letting her sleep alone.
The next day, he fled the castle and went into hiding,

(18:32):
taking Mary Eleanor with him. Mary Eleanor's supporters produced a
writ of habeas corpus ordering Stony to bring Mary Eleanor back,
but that wouldn't be enough without a nationwide police force
to help her. Supporters hired a court tipstaff, which is
basically an armed bailiff, to track her down. Stoney and

(18:55):
Mary Eleanor moved throughout the English countryside, where he told
villagers that he was a doctor and she was his
delusional patient, which meant that the villagers could ignore her
cries for help. In the days after her kidnapping, the
astonishing story spread throughout England as multiple newspapers reproduced the

(19:18):
sordid details. A plowman who had heard about the case
spotted a mysterious couple riding in Tunetia and ambushed them
with that Mary Eleanor hopped on the generous plowman's horse
and they rode away back to London. Mary Eleanor appeared
in court a few days later, on November twenty third,

(19:41):
to call for Stoney's arrest. She was clearly disheveled, covered
with bruises and welts, and was in so much pain
she could barely walk as she spoke of her kidnapping
and mistreatment. The journalists and spectators in the crowd were
shocked and moved. One wrote, quote, Lady Strathmore, from the

(20:04):
extreme ill treatment she has perceived since forced from the metropolis,
is become an object of the most extreme pity and
compassion to every beholder. Stoney tried to make a play
for the audience's sympathy using his favorite trick, faking his
own death. He gave himself an emetic and made a

(20:26):
show out of vomiting on the street, bribing a doctor
to tell the court that he was too sick to
come in, But the judge dismissed his claims, and the
audience booed and heckled him as he limped into the courtroom.
The judge ordered Stony to jail until the divorce case
was heard setting his bail at twenty thousand pounds, which

(20:48):
was likely the largest bail figure to date in a
case of domestic abuse. According to Wendy Moore, Stoney's lawyers
begged the judge to let him free, as a stint
in jail might make his injuries and illness worse. The
crowd laughed, tipstaffs carried Stoney out of court, and a
huge mob of onlookers crowded him, hurling insults and jeers.

(21:14):
Even on the way to jail. Stoney still had tricks
up his sleeve. The incredible story of Mary Eleanor's kidnapping
had made the trial a media circus, with onlookers and
journalists filling the courtroom. Stoney planned to exploit the gossip
hungry press to turn the tide against Mary Eleanor and

(21:37):
perhaps rest control over her and her fortune once and
for all. Stoney had already made modest attempts to undermine
Mary Eleanor's reputation in the press even before his arrest.
Less than a month after Mary Eleanor won her first

(21:59):
divorced tree, while he commissioned a pornographic cartoon of her,
which appeared in the window of a print shop. The
caption proclaimed that Mary Eleanor was going to give her
stepson a taste of her dessert after dinner. A scene
performed every day near Grosvenor Square to the annoyance of

(22:20):
the neighborhood, and she was pictured drunk and bearing her
breasts as she beat an afraid looking boy. Other cartoons
would follow. A particularly salacious one was her breastfeeding her
cats as her son cried, I wish I was a cat.
My mama would love me. Then, now, with Stony's reputation

(22:44):
in shambles, he had to bring out the big guns.
One off cartoons in random print shops weren't going to
cut it. It helped that he had purchased an interest
in The Times, which was more than willing to give
air time to his side of the story. From his
prison cell, Stoney promised the press that Mary Eleanor's sympathetic

(23:08):
story was not what it seemed, and that he would
reveal her equally scandalous misdeeds in court. On January twentieth,
seventeen eighty seven, when Mary Eleanor's second divorce hearing began,
onlookers and reporters filed into the court room Stoney began
the hearing with a bombshell allegation that Mary Eleanor had

(23:31):
been brazenly and repeatedly cheating on him with any male
acquaintance that would give her the time of day. While
most of these made up encounters were dismissed by the court,
one made a particular splash. Stony accused Mary Eleanor of
an affair with George Walker, the executor of her prenup.

(23:53):
Stony was probably trying to kill two birds with one
stone here, both smearing Mary Eleanor's image and introducing evidence
that could get the prenup annulled. The problem was there
was no evidence for this alleged affair. Later, Walker told
the press that Stoney had approached him with a bribe

(24:14):
to lie on the stand, but Walker responded, I despised
his offers, as I despised the man, even though his
claims she committed adultery strained credulity. Stoney's lawyers brought out
a document that would shock the court and the public alike.

(24:35):
During their marriage, Stoney had forced Mary Eleanor to write
a list of her sins to prove that she deserved
his abuse. Stoney's lawyers brought this one hundred page document
to court titled The Confessions of the Countess of Strathmore.
In the document, Mary Eleanor revealed various flirtations, the affe

(25:00):
she had had well married to her first husband, multiple abortions,
and her pregnancy out of wedlock, and all of it
was unmistakably in her handwriting. At first, it seemed like
Stoney might have made a mistake in introducing the document
to the court. Mary's lawyer dismissed it since it had

(25:23):
clearly been written at Stoney's insistence. Even if the scandals
it contained were true. The lawyer called it a pocket
pistol meant to destroy her ladyship's fame and to harden
and steel the hearts of everyone against her. The judge agreed.
The courtroom clerk read only a few pages before the

(25:43):
judge told him that this document was irrelevant to the
case at hand and should be thrown out of court.
They were right. Even if Stony had not forced Mary
Eleanor to create the document, and even if we agreed
that having an abortion or cheating on your cold, indifferent
first husband were unpardonable sins, Mary Eleanor's misdeeds would have

(26:07):
no bearing on whether or not Stoney had abused her.
The judge granted Mary a divorce yet again on May seventh,
seventeen eighty seven, but the court of public opinion began
to see things differently the times which Stony had a

(26:29):
staken wrote quote, the cause of her ladyship is not
so immaculate as the world at large have been taught
to believe. Even Stoney's father, who had called his son
quote the most wretched man he knew, was now saying
that quote, there has certainly been many faults on both sides,

(26:51):
and that the divorce would set quote a dangerous precedent.
That said, he didn't totally take the side of his
son when when he died the following month, he left
Stoney only two pounds as an inheritance. Even though Mary
Eleanor's quote confessions were thrown out of court, Stoney's more

(27:11):
sympathetic framing in the press did have legal implications. His
jail time was reduced from fourteen years to two, and,
feeling optimistic about the turning tide of public opinion, he
appealed the divorce decision yet again at the High Court
of Delegates, which is the highest court of appeals the

(27:34):
case could go. Mary Eleanor struck back with another lawsuit,
charging Stoney with quote five counts of conspiracy that accused
him of imprisoning Mary in order to compel her to
drop her divorce suit, which brought the total lawsuits in
process to three, the prenup lawsuit, a divorce and a

(27:57):
criminal trial. The criminals suit was heard first, and the
trial more closely resembled what we picture in a modern courtroom,
with a jury, a judge, and two lawyers cross examining
witnesses and giving impassioned arguments. Mary Eleanor's lawyer spoke in
front of the crowd as he described her kidnapping and

(28:18):
imprisonment in lurid detail. While kidnapping one's wife at gunpoint
in broad daylight was considered uncouth, it wasn't technically illegal
at the time. A husband had the legal right to
confine and reprimand an unruly wife, but Mary Eleanor's lawyer

(28:39):
pushed against the legal limits of the time. He described
how Stony forced himself on Mary Eleanor as she fought
him off, telling the likely skeptical all male jury that
a husband is liable to be tried for a rape,
even on his own wife, even though marital rape would

(28:59):
not considered a crime for another two hundred years. The
strategy worked. It took only a few minutes for the
jury to unanimously declare Stony guilty, and the judge sentenced
him to three years in prison. On June twenty sixth,
seventeen eighty seven. The next trial was for reinstating Mary

(29:22):
Eleanor's pre nup. This case, hinging on the validity of
a decade's old document might seem tangential, but this was
as important as the divorce trial itself, because even if
Mary Eleanor was granted her divorce, she would not be
entitled to any financial remittance outside of the poulsterry monthly

(29:44):
alimony payments. Meanwhile, Stoney was flush with money that, lest
we forget, was originally Mary Eleanor's inheritance. While Mary Eleanor
had no money to speak of, relying on her friend's charity,
Stoney was i enjoying a rich man's life on her dime,
even while ostensibly in prison. He lived in a lavish

(30:08):
apartment in the Marshall, where he threw parties, eight decade
in food and had affairs with mistresses, in addition to
hiring various cronies to abduct friends and servants of Mary Eleanor's.
Mary Eleanor wrote quote, I believe that, instead of being tamed,
Stoney will grow more and more desperate. I am therefore

(30:32):
doubly cautious. On May nineteenth, seventeen eighty eight, the jury
convened for the prenup trial in Westminster Hall. The trial
began with another bombshell, giving spectators and journalists even more
fodder for gossip. Mary Eleanor's council revealed that Stoney had

(30:52):
courted her under false pretenses, faking the duel that duped
her into an abusive marriage, with witnesses testifying to his
faked battle scars. Stoney's lawyers didn't even try to prove
that the duel was real. Instead, he essentially shrugged and
said quote strategem was fair in love as well as

(31:16):
in war. He tried his best to appeal to the
patriarchal sensibilities of the all male jury, maintaining that Mary
Eleanor's prenup quote defrauded Stony of that absolute power which
the law gives the husband over the personal estate of
his wife. But After hearing the details of Stoney's scheme,

(31:39):
it was hard to have any sympathy for him. The
Lord Chief Justice said, quote, it was a marriage brought
about by a fraud, a fraud of such a kind that,
had it been practiced to obtain a hundred pounds from
Lady Strathmore, mister Bows must have answered for it Criminally.

(32:00):
Mary Eleanor won the suit and her vast estate was
finally hers once more. When the decision was announced, the
crowd erupted into cheers. Only one lawsuit remained, the final
divorce appeal, the last hindrance to Mary Eleanor's independence. The

(32:21):
court convened on February thirteenth, seventeen eighty nine, and after
so many years of retrying the same case and hearing
constant updates in the press, spectators, jurors, journalists, and judges
alike were more than familiar with the story. A parade

(32:42):
of servants and sex workers testified to Stoney's abuse, while
Stoney tried again to undermine Mary Eleanor's character. After reconvening
on March second, the six judges took just thirty minutes
to make their decision, and through Robinson, Stoney and Mary

(33:02):
Eleanor bows were officially divorced with no possibility of appeal.
It would take hundreds of years for the legal freedoms
Mary Eleanor achieved to be codified into law in the UK.
It wasn't until eighteen seventy, a century later, that women

(33:24):
were able to retain control over their estates after marriage
without a prenup. In the United States, starting in eighteen
thirty nine, women gained the right to have their own property,
to inherit independently of their husbands, to work for a salary,
right wills, and file lawsuits. Except for divorces. Women in

(33:48):
the United States would not be able to file for
divorce until nineteen thirty five, and even then they had
to prove adultery, cruelty, or desertion, nearly the same standards
as in Mary Eleanor's time. In England, women with Mary
Eleanor's means and tenacity could file for divorce, but it

(34:11):
wasn't until nineteen twenty three that the burden of proof
was lowered. The relentless physical abuse Mary Eleanor suffered would
not be illegal in the United States until nineteen twenty
and marital rape, which Mary Eleanor's lawyer, tentatively raised in
court in seventeen eighty seven, would not be a crime

(34:35):
until nineteen ninety one in the UK and nineteen ninety
three in the US. After her divorce trial, Mary Eleanor
shied away from the public eye and resigned herself to
a quiet life. She prioritized rebuilding her relationships with her children,
who she had been barred from seeing throughout her marriage.

(34:57):
She also lavished attention on her he many pets. She
had many cats and dogs, a donkey, a parrot, and
a robin named Bob. She insisted that each of her
dogs have a bed of its own and a hot
meal every day. Although Mary Eleanor set her literary and
botanical ambitions aside, she wrote a poem to Stony in prison, quote,

(35:22):
he was the very enemy of mankind, deceitful to his friends,
ungrateful to his benefactors, cringing to his superiors, and tyrannical
to his dependence. She died at age forty six. In
her will, she made two requests for her burial. The
first was that she wanted to be buried in her

(35:43):
wedding dress from her first marriage to the Earl of
Strathmore back when she was eighteen. Even though it seems
a little weird for someone who had such agonizing, miserable marriages,
it speaks to a romantic sensibility that survived even an
unspeakable violence. Her second request was for a statue of

(36:05):
the blindfolded Figure of Justice to be placed on her tomb.
That request was unfortunately ignored, but even without the statue,
her life was a testament to justice. Mary Eleanor Bows
fought for it in the face of a cruel system
and a pathologically abusive husband, and despite the odds, she won.

(36:35):
That's the story of Mary Eleanor Bow's but keep listening
after a brief sponsor break to hear a little bit
more about one of her descendants. It was a divorce
trial that catapulted Mary Eleanor Bows into the spotlight, and

(36:58):
almost two hundred years later, the lives of one of
her direct descendants would also be changed forever because of
a divorce, or rather because of a divorcee. In nineteen
thirty six, King Edward the Eighth abdicated the throne in
order to marry the woman he loved, an American named

(37:19):
Wallace Simpson, who was twice divorced with her previous husband
still alive. Seeing as the King of England was also
the head of the Church of England, that simply could
not be abided, and so Edward the eighth stepped aside
and his younger brother rose to the throne as George
the sixth. And at George's side was his wife, Elizabeth

(37:43):
Bow's Lion, a woman who never would have imagined that
she might become queen now. The late Queen Elizabeth is
more frequently known as the Queen Mother because she was
the dowager Queen for decades and mother to the Queen
Elizabeth who reigned for much of the twentieth century. But

(38:05):
Elizabeth Bow's Lion Queen Mother was also the great great
great granddaughter of Mary Eleanor Bows. Noble Blood is a
production of iHeartRadio and Grimm and Mild from Aaron Manke.

(38:30):
Noble Blood is created and hosted by me Dana Schwort,
with additional writing and researching by Hannah Johnston, Hannah Zwick,
Mira Hayward, Courtney Sender, and Lori Goodman. The show is
edited and produced by Noemi Griffin and rema Ill Kahali,
with supervising producer Josh Thain and executive producers Aaron Manke,

(38:54):
Alex Williams, and Matt Frederick. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio,
visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen
to your favorite shows.
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