In the Gilded Age (post Civil War), the nouveau riche (new money) had it all. Vast wealth to buy anything and everything they wanted. Homes that were well insulated and heated, indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water, the most expensive clothes, jewels, and anything else money could buy. They had more money than they knew what to do with.
So why wasn’t that enough?
The old money people thought the upstarts weren’t good enough—even if they had more money—and wouldn’t allow them in high society social circles. All their new wealth couldn’t buy them into this elite class. Old money held power over new money by denying them acceptance. Some things money just couldn’t buy.
Or so they thought.
This is where dollar princesses came in. England had been a huge food producer to the world. When America’s vast prairies and farmland opened up to the west, this unseated England in the agricultural arena. The large estates that survived because of the tenant farmers working the land suddenly weren’t producing and their income dried up. With no revenue, the estates and mansions fell into disrepair and many a penniless noble was at risk of bankruptcy.
However, these heiresses went from homes with the most up-to-date modern conveniences to moving across the ocean into ancient, drafty mansions that hadn’t been updated in a century or more. They left all their friends and family behind to marry a man they likely didn’t love or know. But their fathers and family back home gained the prestige of her title, and her new husband had a whole lot of cash to do with as he pleased.
Sounds like a win-win-LOSE situation.
Here are a few notable dollar princesses.
|Lord Randolph Churchill and Lady Jennie|
|L to R: John, Jennie, and Winston|
In the series Downton Abbey, Lady Cora Grantham was a dollar princess. Her dowry money helped to save the ancestral home. The fictional “Lady Grantham” character was based on real life Lady Almina married to the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon. Her dowry helped restore Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed.
|Lady Almina, Countess Carnarvon|
In my Quilting Circle series, book 2, The Daughter’s Predicament, Isabelle’s stepmother is set on turning her own daughter, Adelaide, into a dollar princess and claim a title for their family. This poses a challenge for my heroine, Isabelle, who, like all the heroines in this series, has a mind of her own.
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giveaway of over 60 books in 18 prizes, so there are many chances to win! One grand prize will consist of 10 books, two readers will win a second prize containing 5 books, and there will be 15 winners of a third prize containing 2 books each. There are several ways to earn entries, such as following, or commenting on the HHH blog each day. Thank you for being part of the HHH community, and best wishes in the giveaway!
THE LADY’S MISSION (Quilting Circle 5)
Will Cordelia abandon her calling for love? Cordelia Armstrong wants nothing more than to escape the social norms for her station in society. Unless she can skillfully maneuver her father into giving up control of her trust fund, she might have to concede defeat—as well as her freedom—and marry. Every time Lamar Kesner finds a fascinating lady, her heart belongs to another. When a vapid socialite is offered up as a prospective bride, he contemplates flying off in his hot air balloon instead. Is Lamar the one to finally break the determination of Cordelia’s parents to marry her off? Or will this charming bachelor fly away with her heart?
Available for pre-order on Amazon. (Releases October 5, 2022)