Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough
Gladys Marie Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (née Deacon; 1881? 1977), was a US socialite famous for her good looks. She was the mistress and later the second wife of Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. Born in Paris, Gladys Marie Deacon was the daughter of Edward Deacon and his wife Florence, daughter of Admiral Charles H. Baldwin. She had three sisters and a brother who died in infancy. Her father was imprisoned after shooting her mother's lover to death in 1892 and the girl was sent to school at the Convent de l?Assomption at Auteuil. After Edward's release from prison, Florence abducted Gladys from the convent. The couple was divorced in 1893 and the custody of the three older children, including Gladys, was given to Edward. He took them to the United States, where Deacon remained for the next three years. Edward Deacon soon became mentally unstable and was hospitalised at McLean Hospital, dying there in 1901. Deacon and her sisters returned to France to live with their mother.
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PART ONE Early Days
A Remarkable Young Person
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