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|I think it might
Written by Tarn
(3/18/2011 1:12 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Harriet's secret parentage may be a sly reference..., penned by Anne-Marie
Especially when I saw Miss Harriet Cholmondeley (pronounced 'Chumly') by John Hoppner.
This little lady is Lord Cholmondeley's *ahem* adopted daughter. Lord Cholmondeley had another ward whose paternity was not so cut and dried, who was about the age of 30 in 1813- Georgiana Seymour, the illegitimate offspring of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, a 'Cypriot' of the London ton who was mistress to the Prince Regent (among others) and who had her daughter baptised "Georgina Frederica Augusta Elliott Daughter of His Royal Highness George Prince of Wales & Grace Elliott" in 1782. The Regent scoffed and his friends suggested other putative fathers for Georgiana, but Lord Cholmondeley's legal wife (of the same name) appears to have brought her up, and Harriet too. Georgiana died in 1813.
I am not sure when Harriet was born, but as you can see, this portrait of an eight-ish year old sweet blonde cherub was displayed in 1804. Although, I like to think she is a little older than that - she married the Earl of Durham in 1812, had three children and was dead by 1815. Her husband remarried and introduced responsible government to Canada before dying himself in 1848 (and all Harriet's babies had died before him).
Apart from a side-swipe at the Prince Regent and a possible physical resemblance, and of course the name, there is not much to connect this Harriet to the one in Emma. The illegitimate offspring of Regency aristocracy had better educations and provisions than Emma herself. I think Emma's ideas came from novels. (I am thinking especially Fanny Burney's Evelina - which was a satire on the pretensions of the 'gentleman's daughter' class that Emma belonged to.)
reference: Miss Harriet Cholmondeley John Hoppner, 1804
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