Melodrama at the Smithsonian

The family tree is a tangle. Elizabeth, descended from Henry VII, was widowed from husband John Macie when she became involved with Hugh. Hungerford was a family name from her mother’s side, tied to royalty and great wealth; Keate was her father’s name.  For his part, Hugh was born Hugh Smithson, but changed his surname to Percy when he married Lady Elizabeth Seymour. heiress of the extremely wealthy Percy family. When Elizabeth’s father, the Earl of Northumberland, died, the earldome passed to her husband. Sixteen years later, he got a new title: 1st Duke of Northumberland. I can’t follow the details of British aristocracy, but I guess dukes are more important than earls. (I keep hearing that great do-wop song, “Duke of Earl,” in my mind as I’m writing this.)

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