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True Romance: Lord March

Who says that love at first sight doesn't exist? And who says that historical tales of aristocrats falling madly in love forever are unrealistic? Behold the true story of Charles Lennox, Earl of March.

The Duke and Duchess of Richmond

Lord March was the heir of the Duke of Richmond, an illegitimate son of King Charles II. In 1719, with March having racked up large debts, Richmond arranged a marriage between his son and Sarah Cadogan, daughter of a wealthy Irish peer. So far, so standard for Georgian aristocrats.

The eighteen year old March, however, did not take this match well. This was not that surprising; Sarah Cadogan was thirteen years old (the age of consent was twelve). In December 1719, she was dragged out of the school room to marry her appalled bridegroom, who announced that he had been given a dowdy. This was no marriage March wanted. The deed done, he departed for the Continent and stayed there for three years.

Three years later, he returned to London, having clearly been a useless husband in the meantime; his wife had no idea he was back, when he went to the theatre and was struck by a beautiful woman. Unable to take his eyes off her, he finally asked someone who she was.

"I see you are a stranger here," he was told, "that you do not know the beautiful Lady March."

The astounded Lord March went in haste to claim his wife, but it didn't end there. Not only had he been struck by her beauty; on getting to know her, he fell madly in love with her and she with him. In 1723 they became the Duke and Duchess of Richmond, and remained devotedly in love with each other for the rest of their lives.

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