Frances Howard (Fitzroy-Scudamore), Duchess of Norfolk
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About Frances Howard, Duchess of Norfolk
That daughter, Frances Fitzroy-Scudamore [married name Frances Howard, duchess of Norfolk] (1750–1820), inherited the Holme Lacy estates and married (as his second wife) Charles Howard, later eleventh duke of Norfolk (1746–1815), on 2 April 1771, but is said to have had a fit of hysterics on the church steps immediately after the ceremony and soon succumbed to progressive mental illness. George III repeatedly refused the duke's requests for an annulment; since Norfolk was known as the ‘Drunken Duke’, prone to debauchery and averse to soap, water, and new clothes, the marriage cannot have been much comfort for the duchess either, and the couple had no children. After the duke's death a complex series of chancery cases began for the inheritance of the Holme Lacy estate, estimated to be worth £30,000 a year. On the duchess's death, on 22 October 1820, the direct descendants of the first Lord Scudamore became extinct and the legal proceedings intensified. The vaults of Holme Lacy church were dug up in a vain search for evidence, and the final legal complications were not settled until May 1829 with the order that the estate should be divided among the descendants of the first viscount's eldest sister.