Elizabeth chudleigh

Shock tactics: the flamboyant life of a Hanoverian maid of honour

At the masquerade celebrating the end of the War of Austrian Succession no one could take their eyes off the beautiful Elizabeth Chudleigh. She had come, she said, as ‘Iphigenia, ready for the sacrifice’, and it was what she was wearing — or to all appearances not wearing — that caused a sensation that lasted for months. In the candlelight, her clinging costume of flesh-coloured silk made her appear completely naked; ‘a perfect review of the unadorned mother of mankind’, said one account. The furore caused by this episode was only eclipsed when, 27 years later, Elizabeth, now the widowed Duchess of Kingston, was put on trial for bigamy. The