George Child Villiers, 9th Earl of Jersey

George Francis Child-Villiers, 9th Earl of Jersey (15 February 1910 – 9 August 1998), was an English peer and banker from the Villiers family. Lord Jersey gave one of the family seats, Osterley Park, to the British nation in the late 1940s.

The Earl of Jersey
Lord Jersey.jpg
Lord Jersey in 1931
Personal details
George Francis Child-Villiers

(1910-02-15)February 15, 1910
DiedAugust 9, 1998(1998-08-09) (aged 88)
Patricia Richards
(m. 1932; div. 1937)

(m. 1937; div. 1946)

Bianca Luciana Adriana Mottironi
(m. 1947)
Parent(s)George Child-Villiers, 8th Earl of Jersey
Lady Cynthia Needham
RelativesWilliam Child-Villiers, 10th Earl of Jersey (grandson)
Timothy Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 7th Earl of Minto (grandson)
EducationEton College
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Early lifeEdit

He was the son of George Child-Villiers, 8th Earl of Jersey, and the former Lady Cynthia Almina Constance Mary Needham. He had three younger siblings, Lady Joan Child Villiers (wife of David Colville),[1] Edward Mansel Child Villiers (who married Barbara Mary Frampton and, secondly, to Princess Maria Gloria Pignatelli Aragona Cortez, only daughter of Prince Antonia Pignatelli Aragona Cortez, Duke of Terranova), and Lady Ann Child Villiers (the wife of Maj. Alexander Henry Elliot).[2]

His paternal grandparents were Victor Child Villiers, 7th Earl of Jersey, and the Hon. Margaret Elizabeth (daughter of William Leigh, 2nd Baron Leigh). Among his extended Villiers family were aunts Lady Margaret Child Villiers (wife of Walter Rice, 7th Baron Dynevor), Lady Mary Julia Child Villiers (wife of Thomas Pakenham, 5th Earl of Longford) and Lady Beatrice Child Villiers (wife of Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany). His maternal grandparents were Francis Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey, and Ellen Constance Baldock (a daughter of Edward Holmes Baldock, a Conservative MP for Shrewsbury).[2]

He was educated at Eton College before attending Christ Church, Oxford.[3]


Upon the death of his father at Middleton Park in December 1923, he succeeded as the 9th Earl of Jersey and inherited nearly 20,000 acres of land in England.[4] Lord Jersey was a clerk with Glyn, Mills & Co. in 1932 and served as chairman of Wallace Brothers Sassoon Bank (taken over by the Standard Chartered Bank in 1976).[3]

He fought in World War II, gaining the rank of Major in the Royal Artillery of the Territorial Army.[3]

The 9th Earl was responsible for the remodelling of the family seat, Middleton Park in Oxfordshire, and employed Edwin Lutyens as an architect. When he tried to give Middleton to the National Trust, they refused on the grounds that the house had been remodelled by Lutyens – whose houses they now seek particularly. The 9th Earl gave Osterley Park in Hounslow to the nation in the late 1940s; he said of that house, "it took a trained staff of 12 to bring me a boiled egg in the morning, and the egg was always cold by the time it got to me!"[5]

Claim to the throne of EnglandEdit

Under one legitimist theory, Villiers was the rightful king of England, as the ultimate heir to Anne Stanley, Countess of Castlehaven. Due to disputes over legal standing (some of these theorists contend that because the person on the throne since 1603 has not been the rightful monarch, no laws have changed since then, including divorce laws), both his grandson (the 10th Earl) and his eldest daughter (Lady Caroline) are considered his legal heir by different parties.

Personal lifeEdit

Monument of the 9th Earl of Jersey, showing the family's current arms

Lord Jersey was married three times and twice divorced. He married his first wife, Patricia Richards (1914–2017) at St Margaret's, Westminster on 12 January 1932. She was the only child of Kenneth Richards, of Cowcumbala, New South Wales, Australia.[6] Before the Countess obtained a divorce from him in London in 1937,[7] they were the parents of one child:[2]

A week after his divorce was finalized, Lord Jersey married American actress Virginia Cherrill on 30 July 1937 at the Chelsea Register Office. She was the ex-wife of actor Cary Grant and daughter of James E. Cherrill.[9][10] They divorced in 1946 without having had children together.[2] She later married Florian Martini, a World War II flying ace, before her death in 1996.[11]

His third and last wife was Bianca Luciana Adriana Mottironi (d. 2005), whom he married on 16 October 1947.[12] She was the eldest daughter of furniture maker Enrico Mottironi of Via Goffredo Casalis in Turin, Italy. They had three children:[2]

  • George Henry Child Villiers, Viscount Villiers (1948–1998), who married on 22 December 1969 Verna P. Stott; divorced 1973, with children. Married on 9 January 1974 Sacha Jane Hooper Valpy; divorced 1988, with children. Married in 1992 Stephanie Louisa Penman, with children.
  • Lady Isabel Bianca Rosa Child-Villiers (b. 1950), married Peter Edward Harrison in 1974.
  • Hon. Charles Victor Child-Villiers (1952–1991), married Brigitte Elisabeth Germaine Marchand, in 1975. They divorced in 1989,[13] before he lost his hearing suddenly and died in 1991, aged just 39.

Lord Jersey moved to Radier Manor in Jersey, where he lived with his third wife until his death on 9 August 1998. As his eldest son George died of a heart attack on 19 March 1998, several months before the Earls's death, he was succeeded by his grandson, William, succeeded as the 10th Earl. His widow, the dowager Countess of Jersey, died in March 2005.[2]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "LADY JOAN VILLIERS TO WED.; Daughter of Late Earl of Jersey Betrothed to David Colville". The New York Times. 15 November 1932. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Jersey, Earl of (E, 1697)". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003. pg. 2097.
  4. ^ "Earl of Jersey Dead". The New York Times. 1 January 1924. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  5. ^ "12th January 1895. A Trust for the Nation". A Date with History. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  6. ^ TIMES, Wireless to THE NEW YORK (13 January 1932). "EARL OF JERSEY WEDS AUSTRALIAN; Patricia Richards Attended by Nine Bridesmaids at St. Margaret's, Westminster. NEW YORK GIRL IN PARTY She Is Miss Lucille Browne -- Oxfordshire Villagers a Contrast to Fashionable Contingent". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Divorces Earl of Jersey". The New York Times. 12 January 1937. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Lady Caroline Child-Villiers - Country Life Society Portrait May 02 1952". Ebid. Country Life.
  9. ^ "Earl to Wed Virginia Cherrill". The New York Times. 20 July 1937. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  10. ^ "VIRGINIA CHERRILL MARRIED TO EARL; Movie Actress Is Wed to Lord Jersey in Register Office in London". The New York Times. 31 July 1937. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  11. ^ Pace, Eric (18 November 1996). "Virginia Cherrill, 88, Actress in 30's Films, Including 'City Lights' (Published 1996)". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  12. ^ "EARL OF JERSEY TO WED; Will Marry Bianca M. Mottirini, Daughter of Furniture Maker". The New York Times. 23 August 1947. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  13. ^ Brigitte Elisabeth Germaine Marchand[permanent dead link]


External linksEdit

Peerage of England
Preceded by Earl of Jersey
1923 – 1998
Succeeded by