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Stealing the Limelight by Nigel Roth

Dernière mise à jour : 3 mars 2021

1875 was a very odd year.

For example, the Midland Railway decided to abolish Second Class carriages on its trains, so you only had First or Third to choose from, removing the ‘middle class’. A group of second-year university students from Rutgers University stole a cannon from New Jersey College, now Princeton, just down the road, and started the peculiar Rutgers-Princeton Cannon War. To get his country out of debt, Isma’il Pasha, known as Ismail the Magnificent, sold Egypt’s share of the Suez Canal, to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who forgot to mention it to the British Parliament.

And, Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey, was born, and so began one of the strangest stories the British Aristocracy has to offer.

And they have many.

Let’s begin with a bit of historic context.

Paget, who titled himself both Lord Paget, and later the Earl of Uxbridge, was the eldest son of the 4th Marquess, also called Henry, by the Marquess’ second wife, Blanche Mary Boyd. His first wife was Elizabeth Norman, and his third an American heiress, Mary ‘Minna’ Livingston King, who was the widow of John Wodehouse, 2nd Baron Wodehouse, who titled himself as The Honourable John Wodehouse.

Kind of.

Because it seems that Henry Cyril Paget may actually have been the illegitimate son of the French actor, Benoît-Constant Coquelin, whose sister-in-law, it is alleged, raised Paget when his mother died, and who styled