The Women of Dalkeith Palace

With inclusivity, diversity and empowerment very much on the agenda to be celebrated on International Women’s Day, it is exciting to discover that the women associated with Dalkeith Palace are of real relevance and interest today. Let’s find out more about these women in leading roles who knew how to make a difference.

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the women of Dalkeith Palace

Using their power in remarkable ways

Yes, of course, these were women in positions of power and privilege. But not only are they themselves just emerging from the shadows, they also used their standing in remarkable ways, were forward-thinking and championed a whole range of important causes. Looking at how history has often silenced female narratives, we are conditioned to expect stories of the denial of power and the fight towards equality; here, on the other hand, are women in leading roles who knew how to make a difference.

Elizabeth Montagu’s obituary, in 1827 in the Gentleman’s Magazine remembered her as the ‘Good Duchess’ for her great acts of charity, estimating that she and her husband had been giving about £30,000 (close to £3million today) annually to charity.

A period known as the ‘Great Distress’ saw the decline of the Paisley shawl-producing industry with devastating consequences. Charlotte Anne used her privileged position to campaign for the promotion of the weavers and their wares. In 1842 she enlisted Queen Victoria’s support by getting her to purchase seventeen items from Paisley and sport a Paisley dress in public. Similarly, she encouraged purchases amongst family members ‘for they can well afford to give £5/10s for a Paisley gown in the way of charity.’

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