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Unexpectedly the wealthiest of the Cornelius Vanderbilt's  sons, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, was expected to make an advantageous match. He did.  On January 11, 1901 Alfred Vanderbilt married Ellen French, known as Elsie, in Newport, Rhode Island.

Unexpectedly the wealthiest of the Cornelius Vanderbilt's sons, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, was expected to make an advantageous match. He did. On January 11, 1901 Alfred Vanderbilt married Ellen French, known as Elsie, in Newport, Rhode Island.

Consuelo Vanderbilt | Th American heiress and first wife of Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough pictured with a friend at the Epsom Derby in 1914. MEV-10700930 © ® Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans

Consuelo Vanderbilt | Th American heiress and first wife of Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough pictured with a friend at the Epsom Derby in 1914. MEV-10700930 © ® Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans

Edith Vanderbilt (George and Edith's Engagement Portraits on the Biltmore facebook page)

Edith Vanderbilt (George and Edith's Engagement Portraits on the Biltmore facebook page)

Elizabeth McGovern's character Cora, Countess of Grantham, was inspired by American socialite Mary Leiter

Elizabeth McGovern's character Cora, Countess of Grantham, was inspired by American socialite Mary Leiter

See our 20-page insiders guide to Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. One of America's favorite castles. Gardens, Winery and tours on the estate.

See our 20-page insiders guide to Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. One of America's favorite castles. Gardens, Winery and tours on the estate.

American tournament tennis began on the grass courts of the Newport Casino in 1881.  Archived photo, circa 1891. Newport, Rhode Island.  #tennis

American tournament tennis began on the grass courts of the Newport Casino in 1881. Archived photo, circa 1891. Newport, Rhode Island. #tennis

18 April 1893  Countess Craven, Cornelia Martin, (1877-19 May 1961)

18 April 1893 Countess Craven, Cornelia Martin, (1877-19 May 1961)

Consuelo Vanderbilt | The Duchess of Marlborough in New York for the funeral of her father William K. Vanderbilt (1920)

Consuelo Vanderbilt | The Duchess of Marlborough in New York for the funeral of her father William K. Vanderbilt (1920)

Mrs. Alfred G. Vanderbilt [Ellen "Elsie" French] and her son William H. Vanderbilt III, the future Governor of Rhode Island and Consuelo Vanderbilt's first cousin, once removed.

Mrs. Alfred G. Vanderbilt [Ellen "Elsie" French] and her son William H. Vanderbilt III, the future Governor of Rhode Island and Consuelo Vanderbilt's first cousin, once removed.

Great Hall of the Breakers mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, USA (1893).

Great Hall of the Breakers mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, USA (1893).

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