Vaa, Aslaug – (1889 – 1967)
Norwegian lyric poet and dramatist
Aslaug Vaa was born at Rauland, the daughter of a farmer. She was well educated and studied philosophy and psychoanalysis before her marriage (1911 – 1938) with the noted philologist Ola Raknes, to whom she bore five children, and from whom she was later divorced after a marriage of thirty years. A champion of modernist verse before modernism became popular in Norway, she was the author of the collection of poems entitled Nord i leite (In the North Horizon) (1934) and the dramatic work Steinguden (God of Stone) (1934). Aslaug Vaa produced a total of seven collections of poetry, and wrote well over a hundred and fifty articles and essays on a variety of subjects.

Vaca, Brianda de – (fl. c1455 – 1461)
Spanish concubine
Brianda de Vaca became the mistress of the Infante Carlos of Aragon, Prince of Viana (1421 – 1461), the eldest son of Juan II, King of Aragon (1458 – 1479). Brianda bore him a son Felip de Navarra (1456 – 1488), who was recognized by his father and later created Archbishop of Palermo in Sicily. He was later killed in battle against the Moors of Granada.

Vacaresco, Zoe Palaeologina – (1762 – 1867)
Greek aristocrat
Princess Zoe Palaeologina was the daughter of Prince Rodokan Palaeologus (1735 – 1780) and his wife Helena Juliani. She was a descendant of Thomas Palaeologus, Despot of the Morea, and of the former emperors of Byzantium. Zoe was married (1794) to Barbo Vacaresco, Grand Duke of Krakow in Poland. Their daughter, Elisa Vacaresco-Palaeologina (1796 – 1827) became the wife of her coucin, Prince Matthew Palaeologus (1793 – 1825). Through her daughter, Zoe was the great-great grandmother of Prince Paul Theodore Palaeologue-Crivez (1894 – 1984), Head of the Sovereign Imperial house of Constantinople (1945 – 1984) who died childless. Princess Zoe died aged one hundred and four years.

Vacarescu, Helene – (1866 – 1947)
Romanian novelist
Helene Vacarescu wrote verse and novels in French and with such acclaim that she was awarded the prize of the French Academy (1886). She was taken under the wing of the Romanian queen, Elisabeth of Wied, better known as ‘Carmen Sylva,’ the wife of King Carol I, and became her favourite lady-in-waiting. The queen played at being match-maker, and was said to have encouraged the infatuation for Helene felt by the king’s nephew and heir, Prince Ferdinand. When Ferdinand proposed to her (1891) this became a political issue, and public opinion comdemned the liasion. Helene accompanied the queen on a visit to Venice, where the fashionable novelist Pierre Loti wrote a book about them entitled L’Exilee, which was banned in Romania. However, she resolved never to marry, and several decades later, her reputation was restored to such an extent that Madamoiselle Varescu was permitted to return to Romania (1925), and was elected an honorary member of the Romanian Academy. As a final tribute, she was appointed a Romanian delegate at the Paris Peace Conference (1946).

Vachnadze, Nato – (1904 – 1953)
Georgian actress and famous film star
Born Natalya Georgiyevna Andronikashvili (April 3, 1904) in Warsaw, Poland, she came from an ancient patrician Greek family. She was hired by the Russian Studio Sakhinmretsvi and made her first film appearance as Neno in, Arsena Kachagi (1923). Nato quickly achieved film star status equal to that enjoyed by popular film sirens in the west. Other films credits included Tariel mklavadzis mklvlelobis saqme (The Hero of Our Time) (1925), Krazna (Wisp) (1928), Ukanaskneli maskaradi (The Last Masquerade) (1934), Samshoblo (Motherland) (1939) and Is kidev dabrundeba (He Would Come Back (1943), amongst others. Her personal success was mirrored by the rise in importance of the movie studio. Vachnadze was married twice, firstly to the aristocrat Merab Vachnadze, and secondly to the movie director Nikoloz Shengelaya. She was mother to the noted architect, Tengis Vachnadze and to the film director Eldar Shengelaya. Her last film appearance was as Elisabed Lomidze in Mtsvervalta dampkrobni (1952). Nato Vachnadze was tragically killed (June 14, 1953) in a plane crash, aged forty-nine.

Vadamerca – (fl. c370 – c400 AD)
Queen of the Huns
Vadamerca was the granddaughter of Vinitharius, King of the Ostrogoths, being probably the daughter of his son Vandalarius. She was married to the Hunnish king Balamber who led an attack against the Ostrogoths (c370 AD) after her grandfather’s death, probably to secure an alliance, and the marriage was recorded by Jordanes in his chronicle Getica.

Vaganova, Agrippina Yakovlevna – (1879 – 1951)
Russian ballerina, choreographer and teacher
Vaganova was born (July 6, 1879) and attended the Imperial Theatre School (1888) where she was trained under Eugenia Sokolova, Enrico Cecchetti and Marius Petipa. She appeared in the title role of Petipa’s ballet La Esmeralda (1899). Agrippina performed as a ballerina at the Marinskii Theatre and became the prima ballerina (1916). With her retirement (1917) she then became a teacher at the School of Russian Ballet (1919 – 1921) and at the Leningrad Choreographic School (1921 – 1951). Madame Vaganova was appointed as the director of the former Imperial Ballet School (1934) which later became the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Her pupils included Natalia Dudinskaya, Galina Ulanova and Olga Lepeshinskaya. She was the author of the teaching manual Basic Principles of Classical Ballet (1948). Agrippina Vaganova died (Nov 5, 1951) aged seventy-two.

Vagts, Miriam Beard – (1901 – 1983)
British historian and author
Miriam Beard was born (Nov 19, 1901) in Manchester, Lancashire, the daughter of the noted historians Charles A. Beard, and his wife Mary Ritter Beard. Mrs Vagts wrote articles to various publications over her long career including the New York Times. She was the author of several works including A History of the Business Man and Realism in Romantic Japan. Miriam Vagts died (Sept 3, 1983) aged eighty-one, at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Vaile, Bobbie Anne – (1959 – 1996)
Australian astrophysicist and educator
Roberta Anne Vaile was born (June 25, 1959) in Junee, New South Wales. She attended secondary school in Wagga Wagga and Newcastle before obtaining a science degree from the University of Newcastle. Bobbie Vaile was later made an honorary fellow of the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Australia Telescope National Facility, where she was involved in research concerning astronomical masers which used radio waves to predict where new planets were forming in the universe. Vaile also worked with Project Phoenix which was established at Parkes (1995) as part of the SETI (Search for Extaterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in California, and was a member of the SETI Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics. She was the recipient of the Unsung Hero Award (1995) from the Australian Scientific Communicators. Her published works included Physics: A First Year University Study Guide which she co-wrote with Chris Turman. Bobbie Vaile died (Nov 13, 1996) aged thirty-seven of a brain tumour, at Elderslie in NSW.

Vala – (fl. c400 AD)
Celtic queen
Vala (Gwawl) was the daughter of the British queen Caelius Votepacus (Coel Hen, the Old King Coel of the nursery rhyme). Vala was married to King Cunedda (c370 – c440 AD) and was mother of the Welsh prince Einion Yrth (the Impetuous) of Gwynedd (c400 – c435 AD), through whom she was the direct ancestress of the Tudor Dynasty of England (1485 – 1603) and of the present British royal family of Windsor. Vala and Cunedda’s children founded the leading Welsh royal family. Wales became divided into separate kingdoms, the three most important being Gwynedd, Powys, and Deheubarth, of which Gwynedd proved the most long lasting. Welsh tradition also provides Vala with a daughter Gwen, the wife of Amlawdd, King of Rheged, whose daughter Ygerna (Igraine) wife of Uthyr Pendragon was the mother of King Arthur (c465 AD – c527).

Vala, Katri – (1901 – 1944) 
Finnish poet
Born Karen Alice Wadenstrom, she was a truly tragic figure in the Finnish literary tradition. She was born into and was raised in poverty. Katri later trained as a schoolteacher and was married, becoming Madame Karin Heikel and produced several children. Vala’s work was often compared with that of Edith Sodergran, and like her, Vala died young of tuberculosis in Sweden. Vala was one of the leading poets of the modernist Tulenkantajat (‘Torchbearers’) Group, and her book of verse entitled Collected Poems (1945) was published posthumously.

Valadon, Suzanne (Marie Clementine) – (1865 – 1938)
French painter
Marie Clementine Valadon was born near Limoges, in the Limousin region. Known as 'Suzanne' she became the mother of the famous painter Maurice Utrillo (1883 – 1955). Valadon had originally been employed as a circus acrobat, but an accident put an end to this rather dangerous career, and instead, she obtained work as a model for several painters including Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919). With encouragement from established artists such as Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) and Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906), amongst others, Suzanne Valadon took up painting herself, and became noted for her realistic style, producing nudes, portraits, and landscapes. Her best known works were Family Portrait (1912) and The Blue Room (1923).

Valcin, Cleanthe – (1891 – 1956)
Caribbean poet, novelist, editor and literary critic
Born Cleanthe Desgraves (Jan 13, 1891) at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she was educated there, and became the wife of Virgile Valcin. Madame Valcin became editor of the feminist journal La Semeuse, whilst he rpublished works included the collection of verse Fleurs et pleurs (1924) and the novels Cruelle destinee (1929) and La blanche negresse (1934). Cleanthe Valcin died (Jan 27, 1956) aged sixty-five, in Port-au-Prince.

Valdes Mendoza, Mercedes – (1820 – 1896)
Cuban minor poet
Mercedes Valdes Mendoza was particularly remembered for two collections of verse entitled Cantos perdidos (1847) and Poesias (1854). Her poems ‘La esperanza’ and ‘La rosa’ were included in many popular poetic anthologies.

Valdrada of Sicily – (c1189 – after 1213)
Norman princess
Valdrada was the fourth and youngest daughter of Tancred of Leece, King of Sicily (1189 – 1194), and his wife Sybilla di Medania, the daughter of Ruggiero di Medania, Count of Acerra. She was sister to the child kings, Roger III (1194) and William III (Guglielmo) (1194 – 1197). Princess Valdrada was confined with her mother and sisters in the convent of Hohenburg in Alsace, Germany, at the command of the emperor Henry VI, after the deposition of her brother William. They were later released after the intercession of Pope Innocent III, and Valdrada returned to Italy. She was eventually married to Giacomo Tello, a Venetian patrician. It is possible, though unlikely, that Valdrada was the unnamed daughter of King Tancred who was betrothed in infancy (1190) to Duke Arthur I of Brittany, the grandson of Henry II of England. This princess was more likely to have been her elder sister Constance.

Vale, May – (1862 – 1945)
Australian artist, enamellist and painter
May Vale as born in Ballarat, Victoria, and studied at the National Gallery School in Melbourne. She later travelled to London where she had further instruction from Sir James Linton. After her subsequent return to Australia she was married to Alexander Gilfillan. Her work was exhibited with the Victorian Artists’ Society and the Melbourne Society of Women Painter and Sculptors, and examples are preserved at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Valentia, Lucy Lyttelton, Lady – (1743 – 1783) 
British heiress and socialite
Lucy Lyttelton was the only daughter and eventual heiress of Sir George, first Baron Lyttelton (1709 – 1773) and his wife Lucy, the daughter of Hugh Fortescue of Filleigh, Devon. Lucy became the first wife (1767) of Arthur Annesley (1744 – 1816), Viscount Valentia (later first Earl of Mountnorris), to whom she bore six children including Sir George Annesley (1771 – 1844) who succeeded his father as second Earl of Mountnorris (1816 – 1844) but left no surviving issue. Her elder daughter Juliana Lucy Annesley (1768 – 1833) became the wife of the fifth Baron Farnham, and left issue. Lucy Valentia was a prominent figure in Hanoverian society and paid visits to France and was received at the court of Versailles. She was mentioned in the correspondence of the noted British antiquarian, Sir Horace Walpole. Lady Valentia eventually became the heiress general (1779) of her brother Thomas, second Lord Lyttelton after he died without issue, but the baronetcy reverted to their uncle, Lord William Lyttelton of Westcote. She was represented (1967) by her great-grandson Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Arthur, Lord Lyttelton-Annesley, KCVO. Lady Valentia died (May 20, 1783).

Valenti i Petit, Helena – (1940 – 1990)
Spanish novelist and poet
Helena Valenti i Petit was born in Barcelona, Aragon, into a wealthy middle-class family. She studied romantic languages at the University of Barcelona and later travelled to England, where she continued her studies at Cambridge University. Valenti was then employed as a Catalan lecturer at the universities of Cambridge and Durham and translated the works of such authors as Doris Lessing, Katherine Mansfield, and Virginia Woolf into the Catalan language. She later returned to Spain (1974) and died in Barcelona. Her published works included the feminist themed semi-autobiographical novels L’amor adult (Adult love) (1977), La solitud d’Anna (The solitude of Anna) (1981) and D’esquena al mar (With backs to the sea) (1991).

Valentina Visconti    see also   Orleans, Valentina Visconti, Duchesse d’

Valentina Visconti – (1367 – 1393)
Queen consort of Cyprus (1378 – 1382)
Valentina Visconti was born (Aug 12, 1367) in Milan, Lombardy, the daughter of Bernarbo Visconti, Count of Milan and his wife Beatrice della Scala. She was betrothed (1376) to Peter (1358 – 1382), who succeeded his father as Peter II of Cyprus. Valentina was magnificently entertained at Modena, Ferrara, and Venice, before arriving at Kyrenia in Cyprus where they were married (1378).
Their only child, a daughter, died in infancy, but the queen became involved in domestic disputes with her mother-in-law, Eleanor of Aragon, which resulted in the queen mother’s removal from court (1380). With her husband’s death (Oct 3, 1382) Queen Valentina returned to the court in Milan, where she remained as queen dowager till her death (before Sept, 1393). Her nephew, Filippo Maria Visconti continued demands for many years for the repayment of her large dowry, but met with no success.

Valentine, Ann – (1762 – 1842)
British organist, music-seller and keyboard composer
Ann Valentine was baptised (March 15, 1762) at Leicester, the daughter of musician John Valentine. Miss Valentine was the organist for many years at the church of St Margaret at Westminster in London, and finally retired in 1834. She composed many pieces including sonatas for the piano and harpsichord, and published Monny Music (1798) for the keyboard. Ann Valentine died (Oct 13, 1842) aged eighty, at Leicester.

Valentinois, Duchesse de    see    Poitiers, Diane de

Valentinois, Marie Christine Chretienne de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon, Comtesse de – (1728 – 1774)
French Bourbon courtier
Marie Christine de Rouvroy was born (May 7, 1728), the daughter of Jacques Louis de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon (1698 – 1746), Marquis and Duc de Ruffec, and his wife Catherine Charlotte Therese de Gramont, the daughter of Antoine V de Gramont, Duc de Gramont and de Guiche, and Marshal of France (1672 – 1725), and the widow of Philippe Alexandre, Prince de Bournonville (1699 – 1727). She was thus the paternal granddaughter of Louis de Rouvroy, Duc de Saint-Simon, the famous chronicler of the court of Versailles under Louis XIV, and his wife Marie Gabrielle de Durfort. Marie Christine was married (1749) to Charles Maurice de Goyon de Matignon de Grimaldi (1727 – 1798), Comte de Valentinois (1747 – 1798) and grandee of Spain, a younger son of Jacques I Grimaldi, Prince de Monaco. Madame de Valentinois was a prominent courtier of Louis XV at Versailles, and also attended the court of the Dauphin Louis Auguste and the Dauphine Marie Antoinette. She attended the famous salons of Madame Du Deffand and the Marquise de Forcalquier, and was a particular friend to the Vicomtesse de Cambis, mistress to the infamous Duc de Lauzun. She had her residence at Passy, near Paris, and served at court as a lady-in-waiting (dame du palais) to Josephine of Savoy, Comtesse de Provence, the sister-in-law of Louis XVI (1774 – 1792). She is mentioned in the correspondence of the noted British antiquarian Horace Walpole. Madame de Valentinois died (July 15, 1774), aged forty-six.

Valentinois, Philippa de Fay, Comtesse de   see   Fay, Philippa de

Valera, Sinead de – (1879 – 1975)
Irish First Lady (1959 – 1973)
Born Sinead Flanagan in Balbriggan, County Dublin, she was trained as a teacher at Leinster College, where she first met her future husband, Eamon de Valera, then a mathematics teacher. They were married (1910) and Sinead bore him seven children. Sinead de Valera played no part in public life, and after the abortive 1916 uprising, whilst her husband was in prison or forced to remain overseas, she devoted herself to the upbringing and education of their children. A supporter of the Gaelic League, she produced over one dozen plays for children, the first of which was Buaidhirt agus Brod (1934). She also published several collections of stories such as Fairy Tales of Ireland (1967) and More Irish Fairy Tales (1979). Sinead de Valera died (Jan 7, 1975) aged ninety-five, in Dublin.

Valeria, Galeria – (c273 – 316 AD)
Roman Augusta (305 – 311 AD)
Galeria Valeria was the only child of the emperor Diocletian and his wife Prisca. She was married (293 AD) to Galerius (c265 – 311 AD) when he was appointed as Caesar in the East in order to strengthen the new Tetrarchy. With her husband’s accession she was accorded the Imperial title and styles (305 AD) and part of Lower Pannonia was named a new province in her honour. Their marriage remained childless, though the children of Galerius and a mistress, Maxentius, Candidianus, and Maximilla, were raised in Valeria’s household. Empress Valeria and her mother were amongst the first to sacrifice to the pagan gods when Diocletian began his series of persecutions against Christianity, despite several old traditions, notably by Lactantius, which attempted to make the two women lapsed Christians. When Galerius issued edicts forcing people to conform under threat of banishment, the two Imperial ladies again performed the required rituals. Christian records make no mention of Valeria or Prisca, nor were they honoured posthumously. This tradition of Lactantius is spurious.
When Galerius lay dying, he commended Valeria to the care of the emperor Licinius. However, she incurred his displeasure by fleeing to the protection of Maximian Daia instead. When Daia wanted to marry her, Valeria refused and fled his court in Nikomedia, together with her mother, and Valeria Maximilla, the widow of Maxentius, and several others. The group went in exile in Syria, and requests by the aged Diocletian for their safe return went unheeded. Eventually the party was recognized in Thessalonika. They were all publicly beheaded by order of the Emperor Licinius, their bodies all being thrown into the sea. Valeria is attested as empress by surviving coinage such as the gold aureus (c308 AD), which portrays a bust of the empress behind a crescent on the obverse, with the inscription GAL VALERIA AVG. The reverse side shows the goddess Venus behind Valeria, an apple in her right hand, and, catching up her mantle in her left, below the inscription VENERI VICTRICI.

Valeria Maximilla     see    Maximilla, Valeria

Valeria Messalla – (fl. c100 – 78 BC)
Roman Republican patrician
Valeria Messalla the daughter of Marcus Valerius Messalla Niger and his wife Hortensia, the sister of Quintus Hortensius Hortalus, consul (69 BC). Valeria was sister to Marcus Valerius Messalla Rufus, consul (53 BC). The historian Plutarch referred to her as ‘a very beautiful woman of a most distinguished family.’ Valeria had recently been divorced from her first husband (whose identity remains unknown) when she attracted the attention at the public games of the dictator, Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138 – 78 BC), whose fifth and last wife she became (79 BC). Plutarch recorded that ‘however chaste and worthy a character she may have been, Sulla’s motive in marrying her was neither chaste nor virtuous ; he was carried away, like a boy might have been, by a good-looking face and a saucy manner --- just what naturally excites the most disgraceful and shamesless sort of passion.’ Sulla died after only a few months of marriage and Valeria bore him a daughter, Postuma Cornelia Sulla. The fate of mother and daughter remains unknown.

Valeria Messalla Corvina – (fl. 10 BC – c14 AD)
Roman Imperial patrician
Valeria Messalla Corvina was the daughter of Marcus Messalla Corvinus and his wife Calpurnia. She became the wife of Titus Statilius Taurus, consul (11 AD), to whom she bore three children, Titus Statilius Corvinus, consul (45 AD), Statilius Taurus, consul (44 AD), and Statilia Messallina, the wife of Lucius Valerius Catullus. Valeria Corvina was a courtier of the Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia Drusilla, and was the maternal grandmother of the Augusta Statilia Messallina (66 – 68 AD), third and last wife of the emperor Nero (54 – 68 AD).

Valeria Messallina     see    Messallina, Valeria

Valeriana – (fl. 513 – 518)
Byzantine nun
Valeriana held the position of deaconess and then abbess in Constantinople. She received a letter from St Severus of Antioch, which congratulated her upon being elected to abbatical office and proferred spiritual and moral advice for herself and the nuns living under her rule.

Valeria Poplicola – (fl. c500 – c488 BC)
Roman Republican patrician
Valeria Poplicola was the sister of Publius Valerius Poplicola, who twice served as consul (508 and 504 BC). It was Valeria who advised the noble matrons to ask Veturia, the mother of Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, to go to her son’s military camp, in order to deprecate his anger against the city of Rome. The historian Plutarch recorded that ‘… Valeria lived still, and enjoyed great respect and honour at Rome, her life and conduct no way disparaging her birth.’

Valerie, Olive – (1893 – 1951)
American minor film actress
Olive Valerie appeared in two silent movies Fantee (1920) and Red Hot Romance (1922) as Madame Puloff de Plotz. She retired before the advent of sound. Olive Valerie died (Oct 27, 1951) in New York.

Valette, Aline – (1850 – 1899)
French socialist
Aline Valette was born in Paris and was trained as a schoolteacher. With the early death of her husband she worked as a journalist and published the volume dedicated to domestic household management La journee de la petite menagere (1883). Together with Eugenie Potonie-Pierre she was a founding member of the Federation Francaise des Societes Feministes (1892), and a member of the National Council of the Parti Ouvrier Francais (1893). Aline Valette died at Arcachon.

Valette, Pierre    see    Vieu, Jane

Valivon, Comtesse de    see    La Vigne, Julie de

Valla, Trebisonda – (1916 – 2006)
Italian athlete
Trebisonda (Ondina) Valla was born (May 20, 1916) in Bologna. As a girl she competed in sports with Claudia Testoni, who would become her rival in later years. Valla became the national champion hurdle jumper at the age of thirteen (1930), and joined the national team. She also excelled in the longjump and the sprint race. She won the 80 metre hurdle race in the Berlin Olympics (1936), defeating her rival Testoni, and received a gold medal, the first female Italian athlete ever to do so. Trebisonda Valla died (Oct 16, 2006) aged ninety.

Vallach – (c870 – 934)
Irish poet
Surnamed ‘the Arrogant’ Vallach was the daughter of an Irish chieftain named Muimhechan. She was renowned for her poetic gifts, and was publicly honoured as an outstanding poet.

Valladares Nunez, Avelina – (1825 – 1902)
Spanish poet
Avelina Valladares was born in Vilancosta, in Pontevedra, of humble parentage. She never married and much of her work remained unpublished. Avelina was the author of Mi aldea (My town), and A ulla, A Galicia os que emigran (Galician Emigration). She was awarded the literary Cruz de Benefiicencia de Segunda Clase (1894). She also wrote the Dialogo entre un peregrino que se dirige a Compostela y un labriego which consisted of a conversation between a farm labourer and a pilgrim travelling to the shrine of St Iago de Compostela.

Vallayer-Coster, Anne – (1744 – 1818)
French still-life and flower painter
Anne Vallayer-Coster was the daughter of a goldsmith who then worked as tapestry weaver. She later came to Paris with her family (1754) and began to establish a name for herself as a popular artist. Her works Allegory of the Visual Arts and Allegory of Music (1770) gained her acceptance as a member of the Academie Royale. She was married (1781) to fellow painter Jean Pierre Coster and was later granted apartments in the Louvre Palace by Queen Marie Antoinette. Well over four hundred of her works survive.

Valle, Magdalena de Guzman, Marquesa del – (c1570 – 1621)
Spanish courtier
Magdalena de Guzman was originally the protégé of the Duke de Lerma, who engineered her appointment as lady-in-waiting to Margaret of Austria, the wife of King Philip III. Later she was appointed governess to the Infanta Anna (Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV), and also assumed the full responsibilities of running the queen’s household during the illness of her superior, the Duchess di Gandia. Until 1603 she maintained herself as a spy for Lerma, but slowly the marquesa began to develop her own network of contacts throughout the court. As the affection between the queen and the marquesa developed, she was gave official audiences to petitioners. Instead of reporting to Lerma, the marquesa switched allegiance, and she and Queen Margaret petitioned the king personally for requests.
When the Marquis of Montesclaros was granted his requested appointment to Mexico, he wrote to the marquesa, thanking her and the queen for bring this about. Eventually the marquesa’s influence made Lerma uncomfortable enough to consider her a dangerous rival. She was ordered from court (Oct, 1603) and imprisoned in the fortress of Simancous, accused of abusing her high office. Her niece, who acted as her personal secretary, was also arrested, and both women were ultimately placed under house arrest in Logrono. They remained there until 1608, when they were released, but still banished from the court. At Philip’s death (1621) the Marquesa del Valle was finally permitted to return to court and she died there soon afterwards.

Valle, Marta – (1934 – 1975)
American civil servant
Marta Valle was born in Spanish Harlem of Puerto-Rican immigrant parentage, the daughter of a hotel worker. She attended Hunter College where she studied medicine but when her father she became ill Marta needed to provide for the family and she became a social investigator with the Welfare Department. She then became the assistant deputy administrator of the newly formed City Human Rights Administration in New York (1966), and acted as a liaison officer between the Puerto-Rican community and the civil administration. Valle was appointed to serve as the commissioner of the Youth Services Agency (1968 – 1972) after which she became the director of the School of Social Work at Columbia University. She also established her own consultancy firm which specialized in human relations. She was elected to the Hunter College Hall of Fame and received several prestigious awards in honour of her work, including fellowships from the Protestant Welfare Agency and the John Hay Whitney Foundation. Marta Valle died (Nov 10, 1975) aged forty-one of cancer.

Vallence, Fanny – (fl. 1876 – 1885)
British artist and painter
Fanny Vallence specialized in producing still-life paintings of fruit. Her work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and in various prestigious galleries including that in Suffolk Street.

Valletta, Contessa Teresina della   see  Tua, Teresina

Valli, Alida – (1921 – 2006)
Italian film actress
Born Alida Maria Laura von Altenburger, Baroness von Marckenstein and Frauenberg (May 31, 1921) in Pola, Istria, she studied acting in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. Dark-haired, beautiful, and elegant, she made her first film appearance in Il cappello a tre punte (The Three Cornered Hat) (1934), but proved her dramatic with in Piccolo mondo antico (1941) which was directed by Mario Soldati. Valli became a popular actress during the WW II years, and was made an Italian star after appearing in movies such as Stasera niente di nuovo (1942) and Noi Vivi – Addio Kira ! (1943). Through the US director David Selznick she was brought to America, where she appeared as Maddalena Paradine in The Paradine Case (1947) by Alfred Hitchcock, and, The Third Man (1949) by Carol Reed. She returned to Europe where she achieved great success in Senso (1954) by Lucchino Visconti, in which she played a Venetian countess. She also appeared in severable memorable horror films such as Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face) (1959), produced by Georges Franju, and Suspiria (1977) by Dario Argento. Her last film role was in Semana Santa (2002). Alida Valli died (April 22, 2006) aged eighty-four, in Rome.

Vallin, Ninon – (1886 – 1961)  
French soprano
Ninon (Nina) Vallin was born (Sept 8, 1886), at Montalieu-Vercieu in the Dauphine, and studied at the Lyons Conservatoire in Burgundy. Vallin made her stage debut in Carmen at the Opera Comique in Paris, and performed with success around the world, including La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera in London, and in Constantinople. She also performed in operetta in works by Lecocq and Chabrier and performed at the Alhambra music hall in Paris. She also appeared in the film La fille de la Madelon (1937). Vallin possessed a great range as a singer and could perform coloratura roles, making recordings of works by Bernini and Donizetti. She was particularly noted for her recitals of contemporary French musicians such as Claude Debussy and she sang the part of Erigone at the premiere performance of his operas Le martyre de Saint-Sebastien (1911) and Trois poemes de Stephane Mallarme (1914). She was later an instructor at the Conservatory in Montevideo. Madame Vallin died (Nov 22, 1961) aged seventy-five, at Millery, near Lyons in Burgundy.

Vallon, Annette – (1766 – 1841) 
French literary figure and letter writer
Marie Anne Vallon, known as Annette, became mistress of the British poet William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) whilst he was visiting France (1791 – 1792), and bore him an illegitimate daughter Anne Caroline (born 1792) who bore her father’s surname. Her letters to William and his sister Dorothy (1793) were partly edited and published (1922) and later again in a fuller version (1967). Her daughter became the wife of Jean Baptiste Martin Baudouin, and left descendants in France.

Vallon, Marie Catherine – (1776 – 1851)
French revolutionary memoirist
Born Marie Catherine Puzela, she was the daughter of a royalist notary from Loir-et-Cher. After her marriage she resided at Saint-Cyr-du-Pault, near Blois, and had several children. When her father was arrested, being accused on treasonable activities against the new government, Marie Catherine accompanied him to prison. She left a written recollection of these experiences which was published posthumously as Memoires de Madame Vallon, souvenirs de a Revolution dans le department du Loir-et-Cher (1913).

Vallors, Assumpta de – (fl. c1890 – 1900)
Spanish Catalan poet
Few personal details of her life are recorded. Assumpta de Vallors was best known for her devotional poems ‘A … en sa Primera Comunio’ (1899) and ‘A la montanya del Calvari’ (1900) both of which were published in the Lo teatre catolic periodical.

Valoignes, Agnes de – (fl. c1210 – 1242)
English medieval nun
Agnes de Valoignes served as prioress of the nunnery of Campsey Ash in Suffolk, which was founded (1195) by their brother, Theobald de Valoignes. Agnes de Valoignes and her elder sister Joan were place there to become nuns. Joan served firstly as prioress, and was then succeeded by Agnes in that office, one she held for at least a decade. Her name occurs in the Feet of Fines for Essex (1182 – 1272) which was edited and published by the Essex Archaeological Society (1899 – 1910).

Valois, Charlotte de – (1434 – 1477)
French royal
Charlotte de Valois was the elder illegitimate daughter of Charles VII, king of France (1422 – 1461) and his mistress Agnes Sorel, and was half-sister to Louis IX (1461 – 1483). She was married (1462) to Jacques de Breze, Comte de Maulevrier (died 1494). Possessed of a passionate nature, Charlotte indulged in several flagrant love affairs and sexual escapades, creating considerable scandal. Eventually her husband caught her and a lover in flagrante dilecto, and killed both of them (June 15/16, 1477) at Romiers in Dourdan. He then had to flee the wrath of her brother Louis IX for murdering his sister, who was buried at Coulombes.

Valois, Margeurite de      see       Margeurite de Valois

Valois, Marie de – (c1448 – 1469)
French royal
Marie de Valois was the illegitmate daughter of Louis IX (1461 – 1483) and his mistress Margeurite de Sassenage. She was married (1467) to Aymar de Poitiers, Comte de Saint-Vallier, as his first wife, at which time Marie was granted the right to bear the Royal arms with a golden bar sinister. She died in childbirth, her son being stillborn.

Valois, Marie Margeurite de – (1436 – 1473)
French royal
Marie Margeurite de Valois was the second illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII (1422 – 1461) and his mistress Agnes Sorel. She was married at Vendome (1458) to Oliver de Coetivy, Comte de Taillebourg (c1417 – 1480) and was legitimated by her father on her wedding day. He granted her the seigneuries of Royan and Mornac as her dowry, and then created her Dame de Rochefort (1462).

Valois, Ninette de     see     De Valois, Dame Ninette

Valombray, Christine de Saint-Vincent, Comtesse de – (1752 – 1832)
French aristocrat and revoutionary memoirst
Comtesse Christine never married and became a member of the Order of the Hospitallers (Ordre de Hospitalieres). She became the director of a hospital at Mazieres as Sister Theoctiste. Her rather unreliable memoirs entitled Les Memoires d’une soeur de charite, publies par Madame Gagne (Elise Moreau) (1870), were published posthumously in Paris.

Vampire of Berkerekul    see    Renczi, Vera

Van Aalten, Truus – (1910 – 1999)
German film actress
Truus Van Alten was born (Aug 2, 1910) at Arnhem in Gelderland. She became determined to become an actress and began her career in movies in Berlin where she appeared in several silent films such as Die Sieben Tochter de Frau Gyurkovics (1926) which was released in he USA as A Sister of Six, Der Moderne Casanova (A Modern Casanova) (1928), Liebling der Gotter (Darling of the Gods) (1930) and Susanne macht Ordnung (1930). Van Aalten then made the transition to sound and appeared in film such as Hirsekorn greift ein (Hirsekorn Butts In) (1932), Eine Ideale Wohnung (1933) and Gesichten aus dem Wienerwald (Tales from the Vienna Woods) (1934). With the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany Van Aalten returned to Holland (1934) but her career as an actress was virtually over. She retired after appearing in her last movie Ein Ganzer Karl (A Regular Fellow) (1939). An attempt to return to the screen at the end of WW II did not prove successful. Truus Van Alten died (June 27, 1999) aged eighty-eight at Warmond.

Van Blarcom, Carolyn Conant – (1879 – 1960)
American nurse and midwife
Carolyn Conant was born (June 12, 1879) in Alton, Illinois, the granddaughter of the noted portrait painter, Jasper Conant. She studied at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for nurses, and then was then employed there as an obstetrics lecturer and assistant superintendent of nurses. Conant became the first American nurse to be licensed as a midwife, and worked at various sanitariums before being appointed as secretary (1909) of the New York State Committee for the Prevention of Blindness. Her married name was Van Blarcom. She was the author of several nursing manuals and published The Midwife in England (1913), which was the result of her own studies overseas. Her other works included the textbook Obstetrical Nursing (1922), Getting Ready to Be a Mother (1922) and Building the Baby (1929). Carolyn Van Blarcom died (March 20, 1960) at Arcadia in California, aged eighty.

Van Brakel Louisa Hoyer – (fl. 1844)
British Victorian painter
Louisa Van Brakel resided in London and specialized in flower paintings. Examples of her work were exhibited with the Royal Academy and the British Institution.

Vanbrugh, Dame Irene – (1872 – 1949) 
British stage actress
Born Irene Barnes in Exeter (Dec 2, 1872), she was the fourth daughter of Reverend Reginald Henry Barnes (1831 – 1889), the vicar of Heavitree and Prebendary of Exeter, and his wife Frances Mary Emily (later Mrs Stevens), the daughter of William Nation. Irene was the younger sister to actress Violet Vanbrugh, and educated in Exeter prior to moving to London where she made her stage debut as Phoebe in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1888). Irene Vanbrugh was married (1901) to actor Dion Boucicault. Vanbrugh worked with such famous actors as Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and Robertson Hare, amongst others, and was particularly admired in the roles of Sophie Fullgarney in Arthur Pinero’s The Gay Lord Quex, and was the first ever Gwendolen Fairfax (1895) in Oscar Wilde’s famous play The Importance of Being Earnest. Vanbrugh was appointed DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) by King George VI (1941) in recognition of her contribution to the theatre and the arts. The Vanbrugh Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts was named in honour of Irene and her sister.

Vanbrugh, Violet Augusta Mary – (1867 – 1942) 
British stage actress
Born Violet Barnes (June 11, 1867) in Exeter, she was the eldest daughter of Reginald Barnes, vicar of Heavitree and Prebendary of Exeter, and his wife Frances Nation (later Mrs Stevens). She was sister to Sir Kenneth Barnes, the principal of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1909 – 1955), and was the elder sister of equally famous actress Dame Irene Vanbrugh. With encouragement from Ellen Terry, Violet decided upon a career in the theatre and adopted the stage name of ‘Violet Vanbrugh.’ Violet Vanbrugh took acting and dramatic lessons from Sarah Thorne, and began working for the J.L. Toole theatrical company, where she appeared as Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1888). She later worked with Madge Kendal in America and then played Queen Anne Boleyn in Henry Irving’s production of Henry VIII. She was married (1894) to the actor and theatrical manager Arthur Bourchier.

Van Buren, Angelica – (1818 – 1877)
American presidential figure
Born Angelica Singleton (Feb 13, 1818), she was related by marriage with First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison. Angelica became the wife (1838) of Abraham Van Buren, the son of President Martin Van Buren. After returning from a trip to Europe, and as her father-in-law was a widower, Angelica served as First Lady (1839 – 1841) and assumed the duties of White House hostess for the remainder of his incumbency. When Van Buren left office, Angelica and her husband retired to reside on the Lindenwald estate in Kinderhook, New York. Angelica Van Buren died (Dec 29, 1877) aged fifty-nine, in New York.

Vance, Danitra – (1954 – 1994)
Black American television and film actress
Danitra Vance was born (July 13, 1954) in Chicago, Illinois. She made a name for herself on television due to her appearances in comedy skits on Saturday Night Live (1985 – 1986) where she also did successful impersonations of various celebrities. Danitra received an Image Award from the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). This led to small roles on other popular programs such as Miami Vice (1987) and Great Performances (1991) and the television film The Cover Girl and The Cop (1989). She made minor appearances in such films as Sticky Fingers (1988), The War of the Roses (1989), Hangin’ With the Homeboys (1991) and Jumpin’ at the Boneyard (1992), which was her last movie and for this role she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Danitra Vance died of cancer (Aug 21, 1994) aged forty, at Markham in Illinois.

Vance, Nina Eloise – (1914 – 1980)
American theatre director
Born Nina Whittington in Yokum, Texas, she attended school in Houston, and then went on to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and at the University of California. She was originally employed as a theatrical assistant. Her marriage with lawyer Milton Vance ended in divorce (1960). Nina Vance was the founder and producer of the Alley Theater in Houston (1947), which became one of the foremost repertory companies in the USA, and produced both classical and contemporary works. Vance employed such noted performers as Signe Hasso, Albert Dekker, and, Ed Begley, Sr. Vance produced well over one hundred of the plays which were produced there. Her most notably achievements in this area included The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel, and the Russian play Echelon (1978). Nina Vance died (Feb 18, 1980) aged sixty-five, in Houston, Texas.

Vance, Vivian – (1913 – 1979)
American film and comic television actress
Born Vivian Jones, in Cherryvale, Kansas, she studied acting in New York, where she was also employed as a chorus girl and nightclub performer. Vivian Vance appeared on Broadway, where she worked as understudy to Ethel Merman in Anything Goes (1934) and Red, Hot and Blue (1936). She appeared in Hooray for What (1937), in which she played a spy opposite Ed Wynn, Skylark (1939) with Gertrude Lawrence, and appeared with Danny Kaye in Let’s Face It (1941). Vivian Vance was best remembered however, as Ethel Mertz, the best friend and co-troublemaker of actress Lucille Ball in the ever popular I Love Lucy (1951 – 1959) and The Lucy Show (1962 – 1965) television programs. William Frawley (1887 – 1966) played her husband Ed Mertz. Vivian Vance died (Aug 17, 1913) aged sixty-six, in Belvedere, San Francisco, California.

Van Damm, Sheila – (1922 – 1987) 
British motor racing and rally driver
Sheila Van Damm was the daughter of Vivian Van Damm, the owner of the famous Windmill Theatre. She first drove in a rally organized to bring publicity to the Windmill (1950) and later became the winner of the Ladies’ European Touring Championships (1954). Sheila later inherited the Windmill from her father and ran the theatre for several years as manager (1960 – 1964) before it was forced to close. Sheila Van Damm reitired to live in Sussex and published her autobiography No Excuses (1957). Her father’s successful association with the Windmill, at the behest of socialite Laura Henderson, who actually bought the theatre, was the subject of the film Mrs Henderson Presents (2005) where Sheila’s father was portrayed by Bob Hoskins opposite Dame Judi Dench.

Van den Broek, Barbara – (1932 – 2001)
Australian landscape architect and town planner
Barbara Van den Broek was born in New Zealand, and studied architecture at the University of Auckland. She was married to a Dutchman to whom she bore four children, and came to live in Brisbane in Queensland. She worked with her husband for several years before graduating in town and country planning (1966) and landscape architecture (1969) at Queensland University. She established her own practice and designed the Queensland Cultural Centre and Art Gallery on the Brisbane River, as well as the parliament building in Port Moresby in New Guinea. Barbara Van den Broek designed several developmental works for various Federal and State governments and worked for awhile at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Victoria.

Vanderbilt, Alva Erskine    see   Belmont, Alva Erskine

Vanderbilt, Amy – (1908 – 1974)
American writer and socialite
Amy Vanderbilt was born (July 22, 1908) in New York, and was educated in Brooklyn, and abroad in Switzerland. She was employed as a part-time journalist from the age of sixteen, and was later employed in advertising and in public relations. Vanderbilt she wrote several works concerning manners and etiquette including Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette (1952) which has remained in print ever since and is considered an authority in the field. She later worked in radio and was host of the program It’s in Good Taste (1960 – 1962). Amy Vanderbilt died (Dec 27, 1974) in New York, from injuries received when she fell from the window of her town house.

Vanderbilt, Consuelo – (1877 – 1964)
American-Anglo heiress, socialite and memoirst
Consuelo Vanderbilt was the only daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt, and his wife Alva Erskine (later Mrs Belmont). She was named in honour of her godmother Consuelo Iznaga del Valle, Duchess of Manchester. Consuelo had fallen in love with a member of American society, Winthrop Rutherford, but her ambitious mother forced her instead to become the wife (1895) of Charles John Spencer-Churchill (1871 – 1934), the tenth Duke of Marlborough, to whom she brought a dowry of a quarter of a million pounds. She bore two sons, the future Edward VII standing as godfather to her eldest. Duchess Consuelo entertained lavishly at Blenheim Palace, whilst her husband used her dowry to restore the Marlborough estates. From 1907 the couple lived apart, and maintained separate households. They were finally divorced according to civil law (1921), whilst the pope eventually declared the marriage null and void (1926) after Consuelo’s mother gave evidence to the Roman Catholic Supreme Court that she had been married by coercion. Consuelo remarried to a French officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Balsan, and then published her memoirs entitled The Glitter and Gold (1956), which dealt with her married life as duchess of Marlborough. Consuelo Vanderbilt died (Dec 6, 1964) aged eighty-seven. Her children were,

Vanderbilt, Gloria Mercedes Morgan – (1905 – 1965)
American socialite
Gloria Morgan was the daughter of the wealthy financier J. Pierpont Morgan Jr.(1867 – 1943), and became the wife of the famous sportsman Reginald Vanderbilt (1880 – 1925), the youngest son of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, and was the mother of famous designer, actress, and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt-Cooper (born 1924). With her husband’s early death she became involved in a famous legal battle with her sister-in-law, the sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, over custody of her wealthy heiress daughter. The courts eventually granted Mrs Whitney custody of young Gloria until she was fourteen. With her sister Thelma, Lady Furness, she published the joint autobiography entitled Double Exposure (1959).

Vandergrift, Margaret    see   Janvier, Margaret Thomson

Van der Mark, Christine – (1917 – 1969)
Canadian novelist
Born in Calgary, Christine Van der Mark was educated at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Christine was married and travelled extensively with her husband. Her best known work was entitled In Due Season (1947) and dealt with the hardships and problems associated with the pioneer life in Alberta.  Other works included Hassan (1960) and Honey in the Rock (1966).

Van der Mijn, Agatha – (fl. 1719 – 1768)
Dutch painter
Agatha Van der Mijn specialized in producing unusual subjects for still-life portraits such as Dead Hare. Examples of her work have survived.

Vanderplasse, Dinghen – (fl. 1564 – c1570)
Dutch clothier, designer and fashion innovator
Madame Vanderplasse invented the process of starching ruffs which became extremely popular at the English court of Queen Elizabeth I. Dinghen Vanderplasse came to England (1564) after perfecting this art in Holland, and was responsible for the fad taking off there. The first time that her craft was successfully showcased was at the wedding of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and his wife Lady Anne Russell, the lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth. Madame Vanderplasse gave lessons in starching for a five pound fee.

Vanderveen, Ellinor – (1886 – 1976)
American silent and sound actress
Ellinor Vanderveen was born in New York (Aug 5, 1886). She appeared in dozens and dozens of films such as Vagabond Lady (1935), in minor roles and was popularly known as ‘queen of the dress extras.’ Ellinor Vanderveen died (May 27, 1976) aged eighty-nine, at Loma Linda in California.

Van Doren, Irita Bradford – (1891 – 1966)
American literary editor
Irita Bradford was born (March 16, 1891) in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of a merchant, and was raised in Tallahassee, Florida, where she attended the Florida State College for Women. Irita Bradford went on to study at Columbia University in New York, where she married (1912) Carl Van Doren (1885 – 1950), the Pulitzer prize-winning biographer (1939). The couple had three daughters before being divorced (1935). Mrs Van Doren became a journalist and served on the editorial staff of The Nation (1919 – 1922) before becoming editor (1923 – 1924). She later directed the New York Herald Tribune’s Book Review for almost four decades (1926 – 1963) and received the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award (1942). She also served on the editorial board of The American Scholar for three decades (1935 – 1966). Irita Van Doren died (Dec 18, 1966) in New York, aged seventy-five.

Van Dyck, Justina Anna – (1641 – before 1690)
Flemish-Anglo painter
Justina Van Dyck was born in London, the daughter of the great Dutch master, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, and his Scottish wife Mary, the daughter of Sir Patrick Ruthven. Justina is recorded as the painter of Christ on the Cross With Four Angels Gathering the Precious Blood, but this work has never been identified. At the age of twelve (1653), she was married to Sir John Stepney, of Prendergast. After the Restoration she was granted a state pension by King Charles II, and was still living in 1685.

Van Dyck, Mary Ruthven, Lady    see   Ruthven, Lady

Vane, Anne – (1705 – 1736)
British Hanoverian courtier
Anne Vane was the eldest daughter of Gilbert Vane, second Baron Barnard and his wife Mary Randyll, the daughter of Alderman Morgan Randyll. She was appointed as maid-of-honour to Queen Caroline, wife of George II (1727 – 1760). Anne became the mistress of their son Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales (1707 – 1751), to whom she supposedly bore an illegitimate son, christened as Cornwell Fitz-Frederick Vane (1732 – Feb 26, 1736) at St James’s Palace, who died in infancy, who was the half-brother of George III (1760 – 1820), though it is possible that either Lord Hervey or Lord Harrington may have been the infant’s real father. Distracted by the death of her son, Anne Vane died herself a few weeks afterwards at Bath (March 27, 1736), aged thirty-one. She served as the model for Hogarth’s picture of Queen Anne Boleyn (1729) and the model for Lord Hervey’s work The Secret History of Vanella (1732).

Vane, Fanny Anne Hawes, Lady – (1713 – 1788)
British society figure and author
Frances Anne Hawes was born at Purley Hall, near Reading, the daughter of Francis Hawes, one of the South Sea directors. She was married firstly to Lord William Hamilton (1705 – 1734) and remarried (1735) to William Holles Vane, second Viscount Vane (1714 – 1789). Both marriages remained childless. Lady Vane was extravagantly adored by her second husband, who never appeared to notice her outrageous behaviour, such as having to sell her furniture in order to pay her considerable gambling debts. She entertained extensively at the family manor at Fairlawn in Kent, at Bath, and at Tunbridge Wells, and was the mistress to the Duke of Leeds and Viscount Kilmorey. Lady Vane was the author of the scandalous reminiscences Memoirs of a Lady of Quality (1751) which she persuaded Smollett to included in his novel Peregrine Pickle. Lady Vane later lived apart from her husband in Curzon Street in London. Lady Vane died aged eighty-four (March 31, 1788) at her house in Curzon Street, London, and was buried with the Vane family in their vault at Shipborne in Kent.

Vane, Grace Fitzroy, Lady    see   Darlington, Grace Fitzroy, Countess of

Vanegas, Inez de – (c1483 – c1514)
Spanish-Anglo courtier
Inez (Agnes) de Vanegas was one of the ladies accompanied Catherine of Aragon to England (1501) for her marriage with Arthur, Prince of Wales. After the prince’s death (1502) Inez remained with the princess in seclusion at Durham House, where the court lived in great poverty. With Catherine’s marriage to Henry VIII (1509) Inez attended the queen at court as lady-in-waiting, and remained in attendance upon her at the court until her death. She later became the second wife of William Blount (1478 – 1534), fourth Baron Mountjoy, but died childless. Her husband remarried twice more after her death. Inez de Vanegas was the stepmother of Gertrude Blount, the wife of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter, the grandson of Edward IV (1461 – 1483), and of Charles Blount (1516 – 1544), fifth Baron Mountjoy (1534 – 1544), who left descendants.
Inez de Vanegas was portrayed by actress Inez de La Haye in the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) series The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) with Keith Michell in the title role. However she was inaccurately portrayed as remaining (presumably unmarried) in Queen Catharine's household and then accompanying her into her exile at Kimbolton, and being present at her deathbed (1536).

Vane-Tempest-Stewart, Edith    see   Londonderry, Edith Helen Chaplin, Lady

Van Grippenberg, Baroness Alexandra – (1859 – 1913)
Finnish feminist
The Baroness Van Grippenberg became a member of the temperance movement, and joined the Finsk Kvinnoforening (Finnish Women’s Association) at its inception (1884), later becoming a highly prominent leader. During the 1890’s the baroness led campaigns for educational, professional, and political equality, property rights, divorce reform, and the abolition of state-regulated prostitution.
Her visit to Washington D.C. in the USA, where she attended the Women’s Congress (1883) inspired the baroness to organize the formation of the International Council of Women (1889). The baroness was appointed vice-president of the Council, and focused her attention on the policy of educating women for political participation after the granting of the franchise (1906). Finally elected to the Finnish Diet (1909), the baroness campaigned strongly against protective legislation on the grounds that it was illogical if the principle demanded was that of total equality. She founded the Finnish National Council of Women and served as first president (1912 – 1913).

Vanhomrigh, Esther – (1690 – 1723)
British literary figure and letter writer
Esther (Hester) Vanhomrigh corresponded with the poet and author Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745), who referred to her as ‘Vanessa’ and who was the heroine of his work Cadenus. Esther had fallen in love with Swift, who had encouraged the interest, and then rejected her. She was also mentioned in the correspondence of the antiquarian Horace Walpole, whilst her own letters to Swift (1712 – 1722) were edited and published posthumously in the USA (1921).

Van Hoosen, Bertha – (1863 – 1952)
American surgeon and feminist
Bertha Van Hoosen was born (March 26, 1863) in Stony Creek, Michigan, the daughter of a farmer and a schoolteacher. Bertha attended school at Pontiac, but her mother was horrified that she was considering a career in medicine. However, she was finally permitted by her father to enroll for medical training and successfully graduated (1888). Bertha did much pioneer research into obstetrics and gynaecology, and was devoted to improving the mental, physical, and race relations suffered by the poorer sections of the population. Bertha assisted with the introduction of her first sex education program for public schools, and was the founder and first president of the American Medical Women’s Association. Van Hoosen was the author of Scopolamine-Morphine Anaesthesia (1915) in which she explained the process of painless childbirth using the German method of ‘Twilight Sleep’ with which method she had been experimenting since 1904. By 1908 Bertha had successfully delivered two thousand infants using scopolamine. She left memoirs, which were eventually published nearly thirty years after her death. Bertha Van Hoosen died (June 7, 1952) aged eighty-nine, at Romeo, Michigan.

Van Horne, Harriet – (1920 – 1998)
American radio and television critic
Harriet Van Horne was born (May 17, 1920) in Syracuse and attended the College for Women at the University of Rochester. Her fist newspaper position was with The Greenwich Time in Connecticut. Van Horne rose to become a legendary critic of soap operas and women’s chat shows during the 1940’s and 1950’s. She became a syndicated columnist with The New York Post and also wrote for The World Journal Tribune and The Los Angeles Times Entertainment Syndicate, and appeared frequently on various television programs. Her collected essays were published under the title Never Go Anywhere Without a Pencil (1972). Harriet Van Horne died (Jan 15, 1998) aged seventy-seven, in Manhattan, New York.

Van Kleeck, Mary Abby – (1883 – 1972)  
American social researcher, reformer, lecturer and author
Mary Abby Van Kleeck was born (June 26, 1883) in Glenham, New York, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman. She attended school in Flushing before going on to study at Smith College. Mary Van Kleeck researched the conditions endured by female factory workers and child labourers, and was appointed as industrial secretary of the Alliance Employment Bureau. She also served as director of The Russell Sage Foundation, which supported her work, and sought to provide other employment opportunities for women. This resulted in the publication of such works as Artificial Flower Makers (1913), Women in the Bookbinding Trade (1913) and Wages in the Millinery Trade (1914) and she became a teacher at the New York School of Philanthropy for several years (1917 – 1919). Van Kleeck served on the President’s Conference on Unemployment (1921) and on the Committee on Unemployment and Business Cycles (1922 – 1923). As avowed humanitarian, she assisted with the establishment of the National Interracial Conference in Washington (1928). Her radical social views led to her being called before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, lead by Senator Joseph McCarthy (1953). Her other published works included Miners and Management (1934) and Technology and Livelihood (1944). Mary Van Kleeck died (June 8, 1972) aged eighty-eight, in Kingston, New York.

Vanni, Renata – (1909 – 2004)
Italian-American film and television actress
Born in Naples, Renata Vanni played the Italian widow with a young son in the classic movie, Westward the Women (1951), with Robert Taylor. Her other film credits included Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) in which she played the maid Anna, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit (1956), The Beat Generation (1959), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), A Dream of Kings (1969) and Lady in White (1988). Her last film role was as Donna Toscana in Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1989). Vanni was mother to actress Delia Salvi. Vanni also appeared in several films for television such as Murder in the First Person Singular (1974), Margin for Murder (1981) and Frank Nitti: The Enforcer (1988). She made over two dozen appearances in popular television programs such as Perry Mason (1964), My Three Sons (1966), The Flying Nun (1967), Gunsmoke (1970), McMillan and Wife (1974) and The Love Boat (1978). Renata Vanni died (Feb 19, 2004) aged ninety-four, in Los Angeles, California.

Van Oosten, Gertrude     see     Oosten, Gertrude van

Van Oosterwyck, Maria    see    Oosterwyck, Maria van

Van Praagh, Dame Peggy – (1910 – 1990) 
British ballerina and founder of the Australian Ballet
Peggy Van Praagh was born (Sept 1, 1910) in London, the daughter of a physician. She attended the King Alfred School at Hampstead in London and was trained for the ballet as a child before receiving further training under Margaret Craske, Vera Volkova and Tamara Karsavina. She also studied modern dance and choreography under Agnes De Mille. Peggy made her stage debut at the London Coliseum in revolution (1929) which was produced by the Anton Dolin Company. She joined the Ballet Rambert (1933) and created several famous roles such as Jardin aux Lilas (1936) and Dark Elegies for works by Antony Tudor (1937). Van Praagh later joined the Sadler’s Wells Ballet (1941) and became the assistant director to Dame Ninette de Valois until 1956. She came to Australia and was appointed artistic director for the Borovansky Ballet in Australia (1960) and worked closely with Sir Robert Helpmann. Peggy received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award from the Royal Academy of Dancing (1965) and was created DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II (1970) in recognition of her contribution to the ballet. She received the Distinguished Artist Award from the Australia Council (1975). She published the children’s work How I Became a Dancer (1954) and The Choreographic Art (1963) which she co-wrote with Peter Brinson. Dame Peggy Van Praagh died (Jan 15, 1990) aged seventy-nine, in Melbourne, Victoria.

Van Rensselaer, Maria van Cortlandt van – (1645 – 1689)
Dutch-North American colonist and letter writer
Maria van Cortlandt was born (July 20, 1645) in New York State. She was married to Jeremias van Rensselaer, and with his death (1674) she supported their children herself, and was appointed as administrator of the Dutch colony of Rensselaerswyck in New Netherlands (later New York), serving in that capacity until 1687. Her letters were later published as Correspondence of Maria van Rensselaer, 1669 – 1689 (1935).

Van Rensselaer, Marian Griswold – (1851 – 1934)
American poet, art critic and writer
Marian Griswold was born (Feb 25, 1851) in New York, and became the wife of Schuyler Van Rensselaer. Mrs Van Rensselaer became the first American woman to establish herself as a professional art critic. She was the author of The Book of American Figure Painters (1886), English Cathedrals (1892), and several collections of verse including Poems (1909) and Many Children (1921). Mariana Van Rensselaer died (Jan 20, 1934) aged eighty-two.

Van Schurman, Anna Maria    see    Schurman, Anna Maria van

Vansittart, Henrietta – (1833 – 1883)
British engineer
Henrietta Lowe was born at Bermondsey in London, the daughter of the noted mechanist James Lowe. She was married at the British Embassy in Paris (1855) to Frederick Vansittart a dragoons officer, but the union remained childless. From 1859 – 1871 Mrs Vansittart was involved in a relationship with Edward Bulwer-Lytton (later Lord Lytton), but with the death of her father (1866) she became determined to continue his pioneer work to develop screw propellars for steamships. Henrietta proved successful and obtained a patent (1868) for the Lowe-Vansittart propellar, which was awarded a first class prize at the Kensington Exhibition (1871). Mrs Vansittart‘s mind and judgement later became unbalanced and she was committed for her own protection to the lunatic asylum at Caxlodge, near Newcastle, where she remained the rest of her life. Henrietta Vansittart died (Feb 8, 1883) aged forty-nine, at Caxlodge.

Vansova, Terezia – (1857 – 1942)
Slovak writer and dramatist
Her novel, Sirota Podhradskych (The Podhradsky’s Orphan) (1889), was the first to be penned by a Czechoslavakian woman. Other published works included Kliatba (The Curse) (1927) and Sestry (Sisters) (1930). Despite her novels being considered overly sentimental, her character psychology was admired. Terezia Vansova was the editor (1898 – 1907) of the first Slovak publication for women entitled Dennica (Morning Star). She translated Bozena Nemcova’s famous novel Babicka (Grandmother) (1855) into Slovenian.

Van Tongerloo, Winnifred    see    Quick, Winnifred Vera

Van Wagener, Isabella     see   Truth, Sojourner

Van Waters, Miriam – (1887 – 1974)
American penologist, prison reformer and social worker
Miriam Van Waters was born (Oct 4, 1887) at Greensburg in Pennsylvania, the daughter of an Episcopalian clergyman. She worked in detention services in Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California. She was appointed superintendent of the Massachussetts State Reformatory for Women for twenty-five years (1932 – 1957), despite the efforts of Elliott McDowell, the commissioner of Corrections, to have her removed from office (1947 – 1949), due to her stance against capital punishment. During that time she managed to transform the reformatory into one of the most progressive detention facilities in America. Van Waters was the author of Youth in Conflict (1925) and Parents on Probation (1927). Miriam Van Waters died (Jan 17, 1974) aged eighty-six, at Framlingham.

Varano, Camilla – (1458 – 1527)
Italian mystic and writer
Camilla Varano was the daughter of Giulio Caesaro Varani, Count of Camerino, in Umbria, and viceroy of Naples under Ferdinand V of Aragon, and his wife Joanna Malatesta, of Rimini, and was given an unusually thorough education for a woman of this period. Deciding that she possessed a religious vocation, she joined the convent of the Poor Clares in Urbino, taking the religious name of Baptiste (1481). Her father built a convent for the Clares at Camerino, to which Camilla removed and was appointed head, with Pietro Mogliano as her spiritual adviser. During the following years she experienced extraordinary visitiations and revelations mainly concerned with the death of Christ, alternating between periods of great spiritual aridity and desolation, and wrote The Sufferings of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus. Camilla later established a convent at Ferms, but after only a year, she returned to Camerino, where she remained till her death. Venerated as a saint (June 7), her cult was approved (1843).

Varano, Constanza – (1426 – 1447)
Italian scholar and poet
Constanza Varano was the daughter of Pietro Gentile Varani of Pesaro and his wife Elisabetta da Montefeltro. She was raised by her maternal grandmother Battista da Montefeltro and given an excellent humanist education under her supervision. Constanza was married (1444) to Alessandro Sforza, Count of Pesaro, and became his countess promoting literature and humanism at their small court. She wrote verse and two of her letters have survived, one addressed to Bianca Maria Visconti and the other to Cecilia Gonzaga. Contessa Constanza bore two daughters and died young from the effects of childbirth.

Vare, Glenna Collette – (1903 – 1989)
American golfing champion
Glenna Collette was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She was the winner of six American Women’s Championships during the 1920’s and won the Canadian Women’s Amateur Competition (1922). After her marriage she used the surname Vare. Glenna Vare was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame (1975) and into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame (1981). The Vare Trophy was instituted in her honour by the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) (1952).

Varley, Julia – (1871 – 1952)
British social reformer and trade unionist
Julia Varley was born in Bradford, the daughter of a mill worker. She worked at the mill herself from childhood and later joined the Weavers’ and Textile Workers’ Union (1887). Varley was one of the Labour Union delegates to attend the Labour Party conference (1904) and she worked with Mary Macarthur to organize the famous female chain-makers strike near Halesowen (1910). Julia Varley was a member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (1921 – 1935) and served as Chief Woman Organizer of the Transport and General Workers’ Union until her retirement (1935).

Varnai, Zseni – (1890 – 1981)
Hungarian lyric poet and novelist
Zsenai Varnai was born (May 25, 1890) in Nagyvazsony, and attended the College of Theatrical Art in Budapest. Her published collections of verse included To My Soldier Son (1914) and Red Spring (1919), which was the result of her support of the short-lived communist dictatorship in that year. She detested the Nazi regime, which resulted in the publication of the volume Persecuted Poems (1945). Varnai was the author of several semi-autobiographical novels Between the Sky and the Earth (1941) and As The Leaf in the Storm (1943). Zseni Varnai died (Oct 16, 1981) aged ninety-one, in Budapest.

Varnay, Astrid – (1918 – 2006)
Swedish-Hungarian soprano
Born Ibolyka Astrid Maria Varnay (April 25, 1918) in Stockholm, she was the daughter of Alexander Varnay, a tenor, and his wife Maria Javor, a coloratura soprano. With her father’s death (1924) she resided in Argentina and then in New York, USA, where she was taught to play the piano, but was eventually taught singing by her talented mother. She prepared for stage roles under the supervision of Hermann Weigert (1890 – 1955) from the Metropolitan Opera, whom she later married, and also studied under Paul Althouse. She made her stage debut, filling for Lotte Lenya, at the Metropolitan, in the role of Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walkure (1941) with tremendous success. Varnay established herself as an important international reputation as a performer of the works of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Giuseppe Verdi. Astrid Varnay appeared at Covent Garden in London (1948) and then in Florence, where she played Lady Macbeth (1951). From 1956 she worked mainly abroad, and sang for many years at the Bayreuth Festival. She later performed messo-soprano roles (1969), and was considered one of the finest interpreters of the roles of Klytemnestra and Herodias. Her last appearance at the Metropolitan was in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1979), and published her memoirs Fifty-Five Years in Five Acts: My Life in Opera (1998). Astrid Varnay died (Sept 4, 2006) aged eighty-eight, in Munich, Bavaria.

Varnhagen von Ense, Rahel Friederike Antonie – (1771 – 1833)
Jewish-German salonniere
Born Rahel Levin in Berlin, Prussia, she was the daughter of a merchant. She established a literary salon, which originated in a Berlin attic, which became prominently popular during the Napoleonic invasions. Rachel Levin attracted such literary luminaries as the romantic writer Bettina von Arnim, Ludwig Tieck, and Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856) amongst others of note. Rahel was betrothed to marry Count Karl von Finckenstein for five years. However, the marriage was eventually broke off because of her Jewish origins. Rahel later married (1814) the diplomat and author, Karl August Varnhagen von Ense (1785 – 1858), her junior by fourteen years. She accompanied him on his posting to Karlsruhe for five years, before the couple returned to reside in Berlin (1819). She corresponded with the Jewish novelist Regina Frohberg, and her letters have been preserved.

Varonilla – (c59 – 83 AD)
Roman Vestal virgin
Varonilla was related to either Publius Tullius Varro or Cingonius Varro, and was dedicated by her parents to the service of the goddess Vesta from her youth. The Emperor Domitian sentenced her to die because of accusations of unchastity, together with two other vestals, sisters of the Occulatii family. Domitian allowed Varonilla to choose the manner of her death, whilst her lovers were exiled.

Varotari, Chiara – (fl. c1630 – c1680)
Italian painter
Chiara Varotari was the sister of the artist Il Padovanino. Chiara refused to marry and devoted her life to working with her brother in Padua and Verona. Varotari wrote a feminist tract entitled, Apology for the female sex, and she is said to have sent her own self-portrait to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Achieving considerable fame in her own right, she was said to have painted the Adoration of the Shepherds in the oratory of San Carlo Borromeo in the Church of Sant ‘Anna de’ Lombardi in Naples.

Varvara Feodorovna – (1810 – 1876)
The last Georgian crown princess (c1824 – 1830)
Varvara Feodorovna Boukhrinskaia was born (Dec 22, 1810) in Tiflis, the daughter of Feodor Boukhrinsky, a counciller of state to the Georgian crown. Varvara became the wife (c1824) of Grigori (1789 – 1830), the last member of the Georgian royal family to bear the rank of Crown Prince by the Russians. Her husband died in St Petersburg, and Varvara survived him as Dowager Crown Princess of Georgia for over forty-five years (1830 – 1876). She never remarried. Princess Varvara died (Dec 11, 1876) aged sixty-five, in St Petersburg. She was interred with her husband in the Nikolsk Cemetery in the St Alexander Nevsky monastery. Her three children were,

Vasconcellos, Josefina Alys Hermes de – (1907 – 2005) 
Brazilian-Anglo sculptor and author
Josefina de Vasconcellos was the daughter of Brazilian Consul-General in England, and studied sculpture at the Royal Academy School and in Florence and Paris. She became the wife (1930) of the artist Delmar Banner, with whom she sometimes jointly exhibited her work. Vasconcellos produced many varied works, including many religious sculptures such as the life-size resurrection of Christ for the church of St Mary in Westfield, Workington (1956 – 1957). Her work Flight into Egypt (1958) which was produced for the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London was later removed to Cartmel Priory. She produced a life-size Holy Family in cold cast stone for Norwich Cathedral (1985) and a life-size Virgin and Child for Ambleside Church (1988). The documentary film Out of Nature (1949) was a study of her work, whilst she served as president of the Guild of Lakeland Craftsmen (1971 – 1973). Her published works included Woodcut Illustrations for The Cup (1938) the verses for which were penned by F. Johnson. She was a founder member of the Society of Portrait Sculptors and was appointed MBE (Member of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II (1985) in recognition of her contribution to the arts. Josefina Vasconcellos died (July 20, 2005).

Vasconcelos, Carolina Wilhelma Michaelis de – (1851 – 1925)
German-Portugese scholar, essayist and lecturer
Carolina Vasconcelos was born in Berlin, Prussia, and became the wife (1876) of the Portugese historian and art critic, Joaquim de Vasconcelos. Carolina researched the Portugese language and literature, becoming a specialist into romantic philology. She became the first woman to be offered a university chair in Portugal (1911). Her works included Cancioneiro da Ajuda (Book of Songs of Help) (1904) and Notas Vicentinas (Vincentian Notes) (1912).

Vashti – (fl. c500 – c480 BC)
Persian queen
Vashti was the daughter of Belshazzar, King of Babylon, granddaughter to King Nabonidus, and great-granddaughter of King Nebuchadnezzar II. She became one of the wives of King Xerxes I (519 – 465 BC), called Ahaseurus in Biblical sources. Her royal rank and titles were removed by order of Xerxes because she refused to obey a summons from him, and she was reputedly replaced as favourite wife by the Hebrew Esther. Some accounts say that Vashti was executed instead of banished. Attempts to identify her with Atossa, the wife of Darius I, or Amestris, the wife of Xerxes, are obvious errors. Vashti is the name by which she was known by Jewish historians and writers, and does not assist in establishing her true identity.

Vassilchikova, Marie Ilarionovna – (1912 – 1979)
Russian princess, émigré and memoirist
Marie Vassiltchikova (Wassiltchikova) was born in St Petersburg, the daughter of Prince Ilarion Vassiltchikov (Wassiltchikov), and his wife Princess Lydia Viazemskaia. With her family she was evacuated from the Crimea by British warship during the Revolution (1919), together with other refugees taken in by the Dowager Empress, the mother of Tsar Nicholas II. Her experiences in Germany during WW II were recorded in her Berlin Diaries 1940 – 1945. Marie remained unmarried and was the elder sister of Princess Tatiana von Metternich.

Vassilyeva, Madame – (fl. c1725 – c1769)
Russian mother
Madame Vassilyeva, whose Christian and maiden names remain unrecorded, is the record holder for the largest number of children (69). She was the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (1710 – after 1782), a peasant from Shuya, near Moscow. Madame Vassilyeva had twenty-seven pregnancies over a forty year period, which resulted in sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets, of whom sixty-seven survived infancy. The details of this case were recorded by the Nikolskiy monastery in Moscow, and aroused the interest of the Empress Catharine II the Great.

Vatatzina, Vataka Dukaina – (c1253 – after 1316)
Byzantine Imperial princess
Princess Vataka Dukaina Vatatzina was born in Constantinople, the daughter of the emperor Johannes III Dukas Vatatzes, and his second wife Constance of Hohenstaufen, the natural daughter of the emperor Frederick II and Bianca d’Anglano.  Vataka later returned to the Spanish court in Aragon with her widowed mother and sister. There she was known as ‘Violante of Greece’ and she became the first wife of Don Pedro y Aragon, Count de Ayerbe. This marriage ended in divorce, and the princess was appointed as governess to the future Alfonso II of Castile. She was a prominent figure at the court of Jaimes II of Aragon (1291 – 1327) and his wife Blanche of Anjou, acting as a political connection between the Spanish court and the Imperial court in Constantinople.

Vaudement, Anne Elisabeth de Lorraine-Elboeuf, Comtesse de – (1649 – 1714)
French heiress
Anne Elisabeth de Lorraine was born (Aug 6, 1649), the daughter of Charles III de Lorraine, Duc d’Elboeuf. She became the wife (1669) of her cousin, Charles Henry de Lorraine (1642 – 1723), Comte de Vaudement. Their only son, Charles Thomas de Lorraine-Vaudement (1670 – 1704) became a Field-Marshal in the Imperial Service and died unmarried. Madame de Vaudement died (Aug 5, 1714) aged sixty-four.

Vaudreuil, Victoire Josephine Marie Hyacinthe Bigant, Comtesse de – (1774 – 1851)
French aristocrat and courtier in exile
Victoire Bigant became the wife (1795) of Joseph Hyacinthe Francois de Paule de Rigaud (1740 – 1817), Comte de Vaudreuil, the lover of Madame de Polignac, the favourite of Queen Marie Antoinette. Her portrait was painted by Madame Vigee LeBrun as were those of her two sons. The comtesse and her husband emigrated from France with the downfall of the monarchy and attended the Bourbon court in exile. Victoire survived her husband for over three decades as the Dowager Comtesse de Vaudreuil (1817 – 1851). Her sons were Charles Philippe de Rigaud (1796 – 1880), Comte de Vaudreuil (1817 – 1880) and Victor Louis Alfred de Rigaud de Vaudreuil (1796 – 1844). Victor left a daughter Marie Margeurite Victoire de Rigaud de Vaudreuil (1830 – 1900) the wife (1853) of Count Gedeon de Clermont-Tonnerre.

Vaughan, Baronne de    see   Delacroix, Blanche

Vaughan, Hannah     see     Pritchard, Hannah

Vaughan, Dame Janet Maria – (1899 – 1993)
British haematologist and radiobiologist
Janet Vaughan was born (Oct 18, 1899) the daughter of a headmaster, and was related to the famous novelist Virginia Woolf. Janet twice failed the entrance examinations before successfully studying physiology at Somerville College, Oxford. She was married (1930) and produced two daughters.Vaughan went on to pursue clinical studies at the University College Hospital in London, where she became increasingly drawn into research concerning the disease pernicious anemia. She developed a therapy treatment for the then fatal disease, which involved a diet of extracts of raw liver, and published the work The Anaemias (1934). During WW II Janet Vaughan established blood transfusion units in London, for which she was appointed OBE (Order of the British Empire) by King George VI, and then served for two decades (1945 – 1967) as principal of Somerville College. Janet Vaughan was later created DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II (1957) and was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society (1979). Her other published works included The Physiology of Bone (1969) and The Effects of Irradiation on the Skeleton (1973).

Vaughan, Kate – (c1852 – 1903)
British dancer and music hall performer
Born Catherine Candelon in London, she was the daughter of a theatre musician. She was trained as a dancer and performed in burlesque at the Gaiety Theatre (1876 – 1882) where she popularized a new style of skirt dancing on the stage. Her poor health later forced Vaughan to confine her activities to acting only, and she became famous for her performances as Lydia Languish, Lady Teazle, and other publicly favoured comic roles. Her society marriage (1884 – 1897) with the Hon. (Honourable) Frederick Wellesley ended in divorce and Kate Vaughan died in South Africa.

Vaughan, Margaret – (1869 – 1925)
British traveller, translator and writer
Margaret Symonds was born (Jan 15, 1869) at Clifton in Bristol, the daughter of John Addington Symonds and was educated privately at home under the supervision of a governess. She was married (1898) to William Wyamar Vaughan to whom she bore two sons. Mrs Vaughan translated the work of the German prince Carolath-Beuthen into English as Melting Snows. She co-wrote Our Life in the Swiss Highlands with her father, and was the author of A Child of the Alps (1920) and Out of the Past (1925). Margaret Vaughan died (Nov 4, 1925) aged fifty-six, at Rugby.

Vaughan, Sarah Lois – (1924 – 1990) 
Black American jazz vocalist and pianist
Sarah (Sassy) Vaughan was born (March 27, 1924) in Newark, New Jersey, and was taught to play the church organ as a child, and performed in gospel choirs. Through the influence of vocalist Billy Eckstein, Vaughan became the vocalist and pianist to Earl Hines. Her first recording was ‘I’ll Wait and Pray’ (1944) which led to her becoming an internationally acclaimed perfomer of bop jazz. Popular amongst her hitsongs were ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘I cried for you.’

Vaughan Williams, Ursula – (1911 – 2007)
British poet and librettist
Joan Ursula Penton Lock was born (March 15, 1911) at Valletta on Malta, the daughter of Major-General Sir Robert Ferguson Lock and his wife Beryl Penton. She first met the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958) in 1938 and later became his second wife (1953). The couple travelled throughout Europe and the USA together and Ursula wrote several verses for his opera The Pilgrim’s Progress (1951) and the lyrics for the cantata The Sons of Light (1950). Vaughan Williams set her poem ‘Silence and Music’ to music for his A Garland for the Queen (1953). Ursula later wrote an account of her husband’s life (1964) and gave all his manuscripts and papers to the British Museum.

Vaupaliere, Diane Jacqueline Josephe Henriette de Clermont d’ Amboise, Marquise de la – (1733 – 1804)
French society figure
A prominent courtier of Louis XV, and of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, at Versailles, Diane de Clermont d’Amboise was born in Paris (March 19, 1733) the daughter of Louis de Clermont d’Amboise, marquis de Reynel and de Montglas, and his wife Henriette FitzJames, the granddaughter of James II, king of England (1685 – 1688). Diane was married firstly (1753) to Marie Francois Auguste de Goyon de Matignon (1731 – 1763) to whom she bore a son Louis Charles Goyon de Matignon (1755 – 1773), whose only posthumous child, Caroline Goyon de Matignon (1774 – 1846), became the wife of Anne Charles Francois, Duc de Montmorency (1768 – 1846). The marquise remarried (1766) to Charles Stephen Pierre Marie de Maignard, Marquis de la Vaupaliere (born 1730). Madame de la Vaupaliere survived the horrors of the Revolution and died in Paris (May 22, 1804) aged seventy-one. She bore her second husband two daughters,

Vaux, Anne – (fl. 1605 – 1635)
English Catholic activist
Anne Vaux was the daughter of William Vaux, Baron Vaux of Harrowden, and was cousin to Francis Tresham, on of the members of the infamous Gunpowder Plot (1606). With her sister she organized houses where Jesuits could meet, and she may have been the author of the famous letter which warned Lord Monteagle not to attend the parliament on the fateful day (Nov 5). Anne was arrested at Hindlip, near Worcester, in the company of the Jesuit priest Henry Garnett. She was kept in custody but managed to smuggle letters to him in the Tower of London. When this secret correspondence was exposed she was arrested and spent several months in rather harsh conditions in the Tower (March – Sept, 1607). She was later released and established a Roman Catholic school for girls at Stanley Grange, Derby. She was in charge of this establishment still when the foundation was dissolved by order of the Privy Council of Charles I (1635).

Vaux, Clotilde – (1815 – 1846)
French cult supporter and devotee
Clotilde Vaux became the mistress (1844) of the philosopher Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857), and remained with him until her death. Comte invented the concept of positivism, and turned it into a cult with himself as the high-priest, and Clotilde was the patron saint of the new order.

Vaux, Elizabeth Fitzhugh, Lady    see    Fitzhugh, Elizabeth

Vaux, Elizabeth Howard, Lady    see   Banbury, Elizabeth Howard, Countess of

Vaux, Katharine – (c1430 – c1509)
French-Anglo Plantagenet courtier
Katharine Peniston was born in Provence, the daughter of George Peniston, of Courtsellas in Piedmont, Italy, an English refugee. Katherine became the wife of Sir William Vaux, of Harrowden, who was killed supporting the Lancastrian cause at the battle of Tewkesbury (May, 14, 1471). She was the mother of his son, Sir Nicholas Vaux (1460 – 1523), later ennobled by the Tudors as Baron Vaux of Harrowden. He left descendants. Lady Katharine Vaux served at the court of Henry VI as lady-in-waiting to his wife, the notorious Margaret of Anjou. When the queen was kept a prisoner in England by the Yorkists (1471 – 1475) Katherine remained to serve her. When Margaret was later permitted to return to France after the Treaty of Picquigny (1475) Lady Vaux accompanied her to France and resided in her household. She witnessed the queen’s will just prior to her death (1482) and survived her, being alive in England late during the reign of Henry VII (1485 – 1509).

Vayreda i Trullol, Maria dels Angels – (1910 – 1977)
Spanish poet and novelist
Maria Vayreda i Trullol was born in Llado, Girona, into a prominent artistic family, and was married to Joan Xirau i Palau. Maria later accompanied her husband into exile in Mexico (1939) though they were later able to return to Spain and settled at Figueres, where she died. Her best known work was the semi-autobiographical novel Encara no se com soc (I still don’t know how I am) (1970) which was awarded the Fastenrath prize for the best Catalan novel (1971).

Vayres, Olive Claire de Lamoignon, Marquise de – (1738 – 1773)
French society figure
Olive de Lamoignon was married (1756) to Armand Guillaume Francois de Gourgue, Marquis de Vayres and d’Aulnay. Madame de Vayres was the sister of President Chretien Francois de Lamoignon, and a close friend of the French ambassador Adrien de Bonniers, Duc de Guines and of the salonniere Madame de Montesson. Prominent at the court of Louis XV at Versailles, she predeceased the Revolution during which her brother and many members of her family perished. Madame de vayres is mentioned in the correspondence of the British antiquarian Horace Walpole.

Vaz Fereira, Maria Eugenia – (1875 – 1924)
Uruguayan poet and dramatist
Maria Vaz Fereira was sister to the philosopher, Carlos Vaz Fereira, and was a contemporary of Delmira Agustini, and Jose Rodo (1872 – 1917). She penned romantic verses in the Parnassian style, which portrayed the bourgeois class in a less than admirable light. Vaz Fereira later retired from society in Montevideo and lived in seclusion. Eventually she suffered a nervous breakdown. Most of her work was published posthumously by her brother Carlos and included La isla de los canticos (The Island of Cantocles) (1925).

Vaziri, Qamar ol-Molouk – (1905 – 1959)
Iranian vocalist and academic
Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri was born in Kashan and was raised by her grandmother. Qamar participated in singing during religious ceremonies from early childhood and became fluent in traditional Persian music. She received training from Morteza Neydavoud and made her public debut in 1924. She later established herself as a popular singer on Iranian national radio, and was known as the ‘Lady of Persian Music.’ She made many recordings but gave most of her earnings away to support the poor and after her retirement subsisted on a small pension. Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri died (Aug 6, 1959) in Teheran.

‘Veiled Murderess, the’    see   Robinson, Henrietta

Velasquita Ramirez – (c963 – after 1024)
Spanish queen
Velasquita Ramirez was the daughte of an otherwise unidentifed Count Ramiro, and became the first wife (c979) of Vermudo II Ordonez (c953 – 999), King of Leon. Queen Velasquita bore Ramiro several daughters, and a son, Infante Ordono Vermudez, but he nevertheless divorced her (988) in order to remarry. The queen retired from court and took the veil as a nun at the Abbey of San Pelayo at Oviedo. She was still alive thirty-five years later. Her son did not succeed his father.

Velazquez, Consuelo – (1916 – 2005)
Mexican composer and lyricist
Consuelo Velazquez was born (Aug 19, 1916) in Ciudad Guzman, Jalisco, and began studying the piano from her earliest years. She studied at the Escuela Nacional de Musica in Mexico City, and by the time she had reached the age of twenty, Consuelo was an accredited concert pianist. Consuelo Velasquez performed classical music on Mexican radio, though she adopted a male pseudonym so as not to cause embarassment to her prominent family. Velazquez composed the lyrics for the phenomenally popular Latin hit Besame Mucho (1941), when she was only twenty-five. It has been translated into dozens of languages and was based upon an aria from the opera Goyescas (1916) composed by the Spanish composer Enrique Granados. Other popular songs composed by her included Amar y Vivir (To Love and Live) and Verdad Amarga (Bitter Truth). Consuelo Velazquez died aged eighty-eight, in Mexico City.

Velez, Lupe – (1908 – 1944)
Mexican film actress
Born Maria Guadalupe Velez Villalabos in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, she was educated strictly by nuns and was later sent to study dancer in Mexico City. She made her film debut at the age of sixteen when she co-starred in the silent film The Gaucho (1925), with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Lupe was well known throughout Hollywood for her scandalous private life. Her many lovers, public fights and recriminations created unfailing media scandal, and she became known as ‘the Mexican spitfire.’ Her lovers included the famous actors John Gilert, Gary Cooper, and Johnny Weissmuller, famous for his portrayal of the jungle hero Tarzan, to whom she married (1933 – 1938). After her divorce her career began to decline and became heavily in debt. When her last lover refused to marry her when she became pregnant, she resolved to commit suicide rather than have an abortion or bear an illegitimate child. She calmly planned her own death, but all did not go as planned, and she drowned in her bathroom.

Velkiers, Esther Elizabeth – (c1640 – after 1685)
Swiss composer
Esther Velkiers was blind from early infancy at the result of an accident. She was taught to read by her father with the use of a wooden alphabet, and also became an impressive linguist, mastering French, German, and Latin. She excelled at the harpsichord, but none of her compositions are known to survive.

Vellere, Lucie – (1896 – 1966)
Belgian pianist and composer
Born Lucie Weiler (Dec 23, 1896) in Brussels, she studied the piano and violin from early childhood. She studied composition under Joseph Longen. She produced chamber music, choral works, songs and orchestral pieces. Vellere was awarded the first prize in the Comite National de Propagande de la musique Belge competition (1935) and received the first prize from the USA National Council of Women for her choral piece Air de Syrinx (1957). Lucie Vellere died (Oct 12, 1966) aged sixty-nine, in Brussels.

Venable, Evelyn – (1913 – 1993)
American film actress
Evelyn Venable was born (Oct 18, 1913) at Cincinnati in Ohio, the daughter of an educator. She briefly attended Vassar College but left to go to the University of Cincinnati. She performed with a touring company before being spotted by film scouts and began her career in Hollywood. She made her film debut in Cradle Song (1933) and usually played refined, lady-like heroines. Her film credits included Death Takes a Holiday (1934) opposite Frederic March, considered by many to be her best film, The County Chairman (1935), The Little Colonel (1935) and Alice Adams (1935) which starred Katharine Hepburn. Her film career declined thereafter and her lter films included Vagabond Lady (1935), Racketeers in Exile (1937), My Old Kentucky Home (1938) and Hollywood Stadium Mystery (1938). Her last film role was as Emily Conway in He Hired the Boss (1943) after which she retired in order to devote her time to her famiy. She was married to the noted cinematographer Hal Mohr (1894 – 1974) to whom she bore two daughters. She later became a Latin teacher at UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles). Evelyn Venable died (Nov 15, 1993) aged eighty, in Coeur d’Alene in Idaho.

Venables, Anylla – (c1353 – after 1411)
English noblewoman
Anylla Venables was the daughter of Hugh Venables, Baron of Kinderton. She was married (1367) to Sir William Brereton (1349 – 1426) as his first wife, they having received a papal dispensation for having been related within the fourth degree of consanguinity. The couple had eight children. Of her six sons, William Brereton (c1370 – 1415) was married and left issue, as did his youngest brother Henry. Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth Brereton, became the wife of Sir John Savage, of Clifton, and left descendants, whilst her younger, Margery Brereton, became the wife of Richard de Patten, of Waynfleet. Twenty years afterwards, and despite the original dispensation, the Archbishop of Chester officially pronounced upon the the marriage of Anylla and William at Audlem in Chester (1386). The archbishop granted a dispensation protecting the legitimacy and tights of their children, but they were divorced. Anylla Venables was still living twenty-five years afterwards (1411).

Venard, Celeste     see    Mogador, Celeste

Vence, Madeleine Sophie de Simiane, Marquise de – (1701 – 1769)
French aristocrat
Madeleine de Simiane was the second daughter of Louis de Simiane de Claret, Marquis de Simiane, and his wife Pauline, the daughter of Francois Adhemar de Monteil, Comte de Grignan. Her mother Francoise Margeurite (1646 – 1715) was daughter of the famous letter writer Madame de Sevigne. Madeleine was married (1723) at Aix-en-Provence to Alexandre Gaspard de Villeneuve-Vence (1704 – 1774), Marquis de Vence. She predeceased her husband, and of her eight children, only three daughters survived, Pauline de Villeneuve-Vence (1725 – 1776), the wife of Joseph Andre de Villeneuve, Marquis de Flayosc (1714 – 1778), Julie de Villeneuve-Vence (1726 – 1778), the wife of Jules Francois Paul, Marquis de Fauris de Saint-Vincens (1718 – 1798), and Pauline Roseline de Villeneuve-Vence (1737 – 1773), who became the wife of Joseph Antoine Peyre de Chateauneauf, Marquis de Chateauneuf (1728 – 1793). Madame de Vence died (May 3, 1769) at Aix-en-Provence, aged sixty-eight. She was interred in the oratory of the abbey des Peres at Aix.

Vendome, Eleonore de – (1532 – 1611)
French princess and nun
Eleonore de Bourbon-Vendome was born (Jan 18, 1532) the sixth daughter of Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Vendome (1489 – 1537) and his wife Francoise, widow of Francois II d’Orleans, Duc de Longueville, and daughter of Rene, Duc d’Alencon. Eleonore never married and took religious vows. She served as abbess of St Marie at Fontevrault, Maine for over three decades (1575 – 1611), having succeeded her aunt, Louise de Bourbon-Vendome in that position. Princess Eleonore died (March 26, 1611) aged seventy-nine.

Vendome, Francoise d’ Alencon, Duchesse de – (1491 – 1550)
French medieval heiress and royal
Francoise de Bourbon d’Alencon was the eldest daughter of Rene de Bourbon, Duc de Vendome, and his wife Margaret, who was the daughter of Fierry (Frederick) VI of Lorraine, Comte de Vaudement. Francoise was married firstly (1505) to Francois II d’Orleans (1478 – 1512), Duc de Longueville, to whom she bore two sons who died young. She then remarried (1513) to Charles de Bourbon (1489 – 1537), Duc de Vendome. The duchesse and her husband were prominent figures at the court of Francois I (1515 – 1547), and her daughter Marie was sought as a bride by both James V of Scotland and Henry VIII of England. She entertained the Scottish king and his party at St Quentin (1536) but neither marriage eventuated. Francoise brought as her dower the valuable lands of Saosnois, Chateau Gontier, Beaumont, and la Fleche, which lands later reverted to the French crown (1607). Duchess Francoise survived her husband as Dowager Duchesse de Vendome (1537 – 1550) and died (Sept 14, 1550) at the Chateau de la Fleche, aged fifty-nine. She left eleven children,

Vendome, Francoise de Lorraine-Mercoeur, Duchesse de – (1592 – 1669)
French Bourbon princess
Francoise de Lorraine was the only surviving child and heiress of Philip Emanuel de Lorraine, Duc de Mercoeur and his wife Marie de Luxembourg-Penthievre. She became the wife (1609) of Cesar de Bourbon (1594 – 1665), Duc de Vendome, the legitimated son of King Henry IV (1589 – 1610) and his mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrees. She inherited the dukedom of Mercoeur (1623) which was inherited at her death by her eldest son. She survived her husband as Dowager Duchesse de Vendome (1665 – 1669). Duchess Francoise died (Sept 8, 1669) aged seventy-seven. She left three children,

Vendome, Madeleine de – (1520 – 1561)
French princess and nun
Madeleine de Bourbon-Vendome was born (Feb 3, 1520), the third daughter of Charles de Bourbon (1489 – 1437), Duc de Vendome, and his wife Francoise, the daughter of Rene, Duc d’Alencon. She was the younger sister of Antoine de Bourbon, King consort of Navarre, and paternal aunt of Henry IV of France (1589 – 1610). Madeleine was given over to the church as a child and became a nun at the Abbey of Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross) at Poitiers, founded by Queen Radegonde. She later served for three decades as abbess of that community (1534 – 1561). Madeleine de Vendome died (after Nov 18 in 1561) aged forty-one.

Vendome, Marie de – (1515 – 1538)
French princess
Marie de Bourbon-Vendome was born (Oct 29, 1515) at the Chateau de la Ferre, the eldest daughter of Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Vendome, and his wife Francoise d’Alencon, the widow of Francois II d’Orleans, Duc de Longueville (1478 – 1512). Marie was offerred by Francois I to James V of Scotland as a bride, with two other French princesses (1533). Francois I then made a firm offer of Princess Marie, with a dowry of 100, 000 crowns and the marriage contract was confirmed (1536). However, there were rumours that she was deformed in some minor way, and James managed to see her for himself after disguising himself as a servant in order to view the princess at his leisure, according to the Scottish observer, Robert Lindsay of Pittscottie. Her family entertained James V and his retinue for over a week at St Quentin, but her quickly broke off the engagement, and was then married instead to her cousins Madeleine de Valois and Marie de Guise instead. Marie de Vendome was later briefly considered (1537 – 1538) as a possible bride for the widowed Henry VIII of England. Princesse Marie died (Sept 28, 1538) at the Chateau de la Ferre, aged twenty-two and was buried at Soissons.

Vendome, Marie de Luxemburg-St Pol, Comtesse de – (1471 – 1546)
French heiress of the counties of Marle and Soissons
Marie de Luxemburg was the daughter of Pierre II de Luxemburg, Comte de St Pol and his wife Margaret, the daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy. Marie also held the important counties of Valois and the Vexin. She was married firstly (1480) to her maternal uncle, James of Savoy (1451 – 1486), Comte de Rosmont, to whom she bore an only daughter, Louise Francoise of Savoy (1485 – 1511), the first wife of Heinrich III (1483 – 1538), Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. Her second husband was Francois I de Bourbon (1470 – 1495), Comte de Vendome, by whom she was the mother of six children, most important of whom was Charles de Bourbon (1489 – 1537), Duc de Vendome (1515 – 1537), whilst her third son, Louis de Bourbon (1493 – 1556) entered the church and was made a cardinal (1517). Of her daughters, Antoinette de Bourbon became the wife of Claude I de Lorraine, first Duc de Guise, and was the maternal grandmother to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. Comtesse Marie de Vendome died (April 1, 1546) aged seventy-four.

Vendome, Renee de (1) – (1468 – 1534)
French princess and nun
Renee de Bourbon-Vendome was born (May, 1468) the fourth daughter of Jacques II de Bourbon (c1428 – 1471), Comte de Vendome, and his wife Isabel, the daughter of Louis de Beauvau. Renee was given to the church during childhood, and was appointed as abbess of Caen in Normandy (1490 – 1505). She also served as abbess of St Marie at Fontevrault, Maine for over four decades (1491 – 1534). During the last fifteen years of her abbatical career she ruled both convents co-jointly. Princess Renee died (Nov 8, 1534) aged sixty-six.

Vendome, Renee de (2) – (1527 – 1583)
French princess and nun
Renee de Bourbon-Vendome was born (Feb 6, 1527) the fifth daughter of Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Vendome (1489 – 1537) and his wife Francoise d’Alencon, the widow of Francois II d’Orleans, Duc de Longueville. With the death of the English queen, Jane Seymour (1537) she was tentaively suggested as a possible bride for Henry VIII of England, but the plan came to nothing due to her extreme youth. Renee then became a nun, and served for forty years (1543 – 1583) as abbess of St Marie, at Chelles, near Paris. Princess Renee died (Feb 9, 1583) aged fifty-six.

Veneranda – (d. c301 AD)
Roman Christian preacher and martyr
Veneranda was the daughter of Agatho and his wife Politia, and was thought to be a native of Sicily. She was converted to Christianity and adopted the name of Parasceve. She then preached the faith publicly, managing to convert almost one thousand people. However, during the persecutions initiated by the emperors Diocletian and Maximian Daia, Veneranda was murdered by her brothers when she refused to renounce her faith. Other legends however, place her death during the reigns of the emperors Antoninus Pius (138 – 161 AD) or Marcus Aurelius (161 – 180 AD) or in the first century, during the lifetime of the Apostles. Veneranda was revered as a saint (Nov 14), and her feast was recorded by the Martyrology of Salisbury and the Roman Martyrology (Nov 14). She was the patron saint of Acci Reale, of Avola, and of Lecce in Otranto. Other variations of her name included Venera, Veneria, Veneris, or Venus.

Veneri, Rosa – (1656 – 1728)
Italian educator and nun
Rosa Veneri was born at Viterbo, and was credited with the establishment of the first school for girls. She died in Rome. Rosa Veneri was later canonized a saint (2006) by Pope Benedict XVI.

Veness, Amy – (1876 – 1960)
British film actress
Amy Veness was born (Feb 26, 1876) in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. She worked as a stage actress prior and occasionally appeared in early silent movies such as Please Help Emily (1917), My Wife (1918) and The Brat (1919). She later made over seventy films, mainly playing matronly characters such as Mrs Hepworth in Hobson’s Choice (1931). Her film credits included Lorna Doone (1935), Playing Up the Band (1935), Drake of England (1935), Brewster’s Millions (1935), The Mill on the Floss (1937), This Happy Breed (1944) as Mrs Flint, and Blanche Fury (1947) with Valerie Hobson in which she played the unpleasant Mrs Winterbourne. Her later films included Portrait of Clare (1950), Madeleine (1950), Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951) as the captain’s housekeeper, Doctor in the House (1954) and The Woman for Joe (1955) which was her last film. Amy Veness died (Sept 22, 1960) aged eighty-four, at Saltdean in Sussex.

Vengerova, Isabella Afanasyevna – (1877 – 1956)
Russian-American pianist and teacher
Isabella Vengerova was born (March 1, 1877) in Minsk (now Belarus). She studied the piano under Joseph Dachs at the Vienna Conservatory, and under Anna Esipova in St Petersburg. She became a teacher (1906 – 1920) at the Imperial Conservatory in St Petersburg. She toured Russia and parts of Western Europe before finally settling in the USA (1923). There she assisted with the foundation of the Curtis Institute (1924), and then joined the teaching staff of the Mannes College, working for both foundations over the next three decades. Famous for her obsessive attention to detail, her pupils included Ralph berkowitz, Leonard Bernstein, Lilian Kallir, and Gilbert Kalisch. Madame Vengerova died (Feb 7, 1956) aged seventy-eight.

Venner, Mamie Fullston – (1882 – 1974)
Australian artist and china painter
Mamie Venner was born in Kersbrook, South Australia. She studied under Arthur Millbank at the South Australia School of Arts and Crafts, and was taught china painting in Melbourne, Victoria. Venner was a prominent figure within the Royal South Australian Society of Arts and examples of her work were preserved the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Venosa, Agnes di – (fl. 1123 – 1142)
Italian nun and saint
Agnes di Venosa had been a beautiful society lady with an unsavoury past, before she was converted to the religious life by the preaching of the ascetic saint, Guglielmo di Monte Vergine. Several years afterwards (1123) when Monte Vergine founded his double monastery at Guleto, near Nuscum, in Apulia, later known as San’ Guglielmo, Agnes took the veil and became a nun there. She proceeded to sell up all her estates, and with the proceeds Monte Vergine built a convent at Venosa, where Agnes was appointed to rule as abbess. Guglielmo died at Monte Vergine (1142) and was interred in Agnes’ church, where she caused a marble tomb to be erected to house his remains. Agnes was honoured as a saint and the Analecta Juris Pontifici records her feast (September 1).

Ventadorn, Marie de – (c1165 – after 1221)
French trobairitz and patron of literature
Marie de Turenne was of noble birth, though her exact family prevenance remains uncertain. According to one source she was the daughter of Raimon II, Vicomte de Turenne and his wife Helis de Castelnau. Another source states that Marie the daughter of Boson Adhemar V, Vicomte of Limoges and his wife Sarah, the daughter of Reginald de Dunstanville, Earl of Cornwall. If this source is correct then her maternal grandfather was an illegitimate son of the English king Henry I (1100 – 1135) and Marie would be the great-great granddaughter of William the Conqueror.
Whatever her ancestry, the details of her marriage to Eblus V, Vicomte de Ventadorn (c1183) are correct, as is the fact that she was the mother of Eblus VI (c1190 – c1250) who succeeded his father as vicomte of Ventadorn (1199 – c1250) and left descendants.
Marie was a famous patron of the troubadours, such as Savaric de Mauleon, Guiraut Calanson, Gui d’Ussel, Gaucelm Fadit, Pons de Capdoill, Geoffrey de Vigeois, and Bertran de Born composed verses which praised her and her sisters as las tres de Torena. One of Marie’s own poem survives in a written exchange between her and Gui d’Ussel believed written prior to 1209, when the papal legate forbade d’Ussel to continue writing. Marie was still living in 1221, when, with her two sons and two brothers, she witnessed her husband’s vows as a monk, when he withdrew from the world to the Cistercian abbey of Grandmont. Nothing is known of her life after this date.

Ventadour, Charlotte Eleonore Madeleine de La Mothe-Houdancourt, Duchesse de – (1653 – 1744) 
French courtier
Charlotte Eleonore Madeleine de La Mothe-Houdancourt was the youngest daughter of Philippe Francois de La Mothe-Houdancourt, Duc de Cardona and Marshal of France, and his wife Louise de Prie, Marquise de Torcy. Her sisters were Francoise Angelique, the Duchesse d' Aumont and Marie Isabelle, Duchesse de La Ferte-Senneterre. Charlotte was married (1671) in Paris to Louis Charles de Levis (1647 - 1717), Duc de Ventadour and governor of the Limousin. Their only child, Anne Genevieve de Levis-Ventadour (1673 – 1727) became the wife firstly of Louis Charles de La Tour d' Auvergne, Prince de Turenne, and secondly of Hercule Meriadec de Rohan, Duc de Rohan, leaving issue from her second marriage. The Duchesse de Ventadour became a lady-in-waiting to the Dauphine Marie Christine Victoire de Bavariere, and with that lady’s death (1690) assumed the same position at the court of the second duchesse d’Orleans, Liselotte. A woman of considerable beauty, some small scandal had attached itself to her in her youth, but by the time she was appointed to the household of the Duchess de Bourgogne (1704 – 1705) as governess to her infant children, this was all forgotten. Madame de Ventadour was mentioned in the letters of her contemporary Madame de Sevigne as ' the beautiful and charming Duchesse de Ventadour,' and was also mentioned in the correpondence of the British antiquarian Horace Walpole.
In 1712 both the Duc and Duchesse de Bourgogne, and their eldest son died of purple measles. Dr Fagon, the royal physician, was in the process of attempting to use the same methods upon the life of the infant Prince Louis (XV), when the duchesse de Ventadour burst into the sickroom, grabbed the dying chikd, took him back to her own apartments and successfully nursed him back to health. Louis IV remained eternally grateful, and allowed the duchesse complete charge of his great-grandson, and thanked her on his deathbed (1715) for devotion and loyalty to her royal charge. Eventually (Oct, 1717) the duchesse had to hand over the young king to his tutors, but as his beloved ‘Maman Ventadour,’ the duchesse retained all the honours due to her rank and position, as well as the king’s permanent affection. Madame de Ventadour attended the king’s marriage (1725) and received a position in the household of Queen Marie. At Versailles she witnessed the births of the queen’s twin daughters, Louise Elisabeth and Anne Henriette (1727). The duchesse was then appointed governess to the two princesses, to be aided by her granddaughter, the Duchesse de Tallard. She has left a moving account of the death of Louis XIV, and is said to have astonished the court by dancing a minuet, a few weeks before her death at the age of almost ninety, which took place at the Chateau de Glatigny at Versailles. The duchesse appears in the historical novel Louis the Wellbeloved (1959) by Jean Plaidy. The duchesse appears in the famous portrait entitled Madame de Ventadour with Portraits of Louis XIV and his Heirs (1715 - 1720) which forms part of the Wallace Collection in London. This painting was once incorrectly attributed to Nicolas de Largilliere, but the real painter remains unidentified.

Ventos i Cullell, Palmira – (1862 – 1917) 
Spanish novelist, poet and dramatist
Palmira Ventos was borm in Barcelona, where she resided throughout her life. Adopting the peudonym ‘Felip Palma’ which she always retained, Palmira wrote entirely in Catalan and her works were placed in Catalan rural settings. The most realistically harsh of her works, Asprors de la vidal (Life is Tough) (1904), is a brutal depiction of the realities of daily life in a small village, which is indifferently observed by an unresponsive natural world. Her novel La caiguda (The Fall) (1907) deals with the cycles of the natural and human world.  Two of her plays L’enrenou del poble.Quadro de costums en un acte and Isolats, drama de familia en tres actes were both performed at the Teare Catala in Romea (1909). She died in Barcelona.

Venttsel, Elena Sergievna – (1907 – 2002)
Russian mathematician and novelist
Elena Venttsel was born (Aug 3, 1907) and studied in mathemtics and applied sciences, eventually becoming a professor. Elena published her fictional stories under the pseudonym ‘I. Grekova.’ These include such famous works as ‘On Manoeuvres’ (1967) and ‘Masters of Their Own Lives’ which dealt with life under Josef Stalin (1988), ‘Ladies’ Hairdresser’ (1963) and ‘A Summer in the City’ (1965). Her other works included the novellas The Hotel Manager (1976) and The Ship of Widows (1981) which dealt graphically with the experiences of ordinary Russian women during WW II. Elena Venttsel died (April 15, 2002) aged ninety-four.

Venuta, Benay – (1911 – 1995)
American actress and dancer
Born Benvenuta Rose Crooke in San Francisco, California, she attended school in Geneva, Switzerland where she became fluent in Italian and French. After finishing her education she began her career on stage as a chorus dancer, and then appeared on Broadway in the musical Anything Goes (1935) by Cole Porter. Other stage credits included By Jupiter and Kiss the Boys Goodbye, and she toured the rural theatres appearing in such plays as Bus Stop, Gypsy, Pal Joey and Auntie Mame. Venuta made several film appearances in The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown and Annie Get Your Gun. Her last film role was in Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) by Woody Allen. Benay Venuta died (Sept 1, 1995) aged eighty-four, in Manhattan, New York.

Vera, Yvonne – (1964 – 2005)
Zimbabwean author
Yvonne Vera was born (Sept 19, 1964) and later travelled to Canada (1980) where she enrolled at York University in Toronto. She was later appointed the director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo (1997). Her published works included Why Don’t You Carve Other Animals? (1992), Without a Name (1994), Under the Tongue (1997) for which she was awarded the commonwealth Writers Prize in Africa, and Butterfly Burning (2000). Yvonne Vera died (April 7, 2004) aged thirty-nine, in Canada.

Vera Konstantinovna (1)(1854 – 1912)
Russian Grand duchess
Grand Duchess Vera Romanovna was born (Feb 16, 1854) in St Petersburg, the second daughter of Grand Duke Konstantine Nikolaievich (1827 – 1892), and his wife the Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosipovna (1830 – 1911), the daughter of Joseph, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg (1789 – 1868). She was the paternal granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I (1825 – 1855). She spent her early years in St Petersburg but later accompanied her family to Warsaw in Poland when her father was appointed as the Imperial viceroy there (1861). She suffered from ill-health from childhood and spent several years in the care of her aunt Queen Olga of Wuttemburg, the wife of King Karl I, at the court of Stuttgart in Germany.
Grand Duchess Vera was proposed (1867) as a possible bride for King Giorgios I of Greece (1845 – 1913), but he chose her sister Olga instead on account of Vera’s extreme youth. The king and queen of Wurttemburg later legally adopted Vera (1871) and arranged for her marriage (1874) in Stuttgart to Wilhelm Eugene (1846 – 1877), Duke of Wurttemburg, of another branch of the royal house, to whom she bore three children. The duke served as an army officer in Wurttemburg and his early death in a duel left Vera widowed at age of twenty-two. Vera never remarried and was Dowager Duchess of Wurttemburg for thirty-five years (1877 – 1912). She resided mainly in Stuttgart but made various trips to visit relatives in Russia and Greece. With the death of her adoptive father King Karl (1891) Vera inherited considerable properties including the Villa Berg in Stuttgart where she established a small literary and musical salon. As a widow the duchess became involved in various philanthropic and civic works in Stuttgart. She established the Benevolent Institution and the Olga Clinic besides organizing the training of nurses to care for the blind. She also assisted with the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in Stuttgart. During her last years she suffered greatly from the disorder commonly known as St Vitus Dance. Duchess Vera suffered a debilitating stroke late in 1911 and died several months afterwards (April 11, 1912) aged fifty-eight. Her children were,

Vera Konstantinovna (2) – (1906 – 2001)
Russian Romanov princess
Princess Vera Konstantinovna was born (April 24, 1906) at Pavlovsk, the youngest child of the Grand Duke Konstantine Konstantovitch and his wife the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna, the daughter of Duke Maurice of Saxe-Altenburg. She was the paternal great-granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I (1825 – 1855) and was named in honour of her paternal aunt Vera Konstantinovna, Duchess of Wurttenburg. Her childhood years were spent at the Imperial court where she was a companion to her Romanov cousins, the five children of Tsar Nicholas I and Alexandra of Hesse. With the outbreak of WW I the princess was visiting relatives in Germany and became trapped there because of the war. It was only due to the intervention of the German Empress Augusta Victoria that the family was able to return to Russia. She was present at the unexpected death of her father (1916) and then resided at the Marble palace in Petrograd with her widowed mother Grand Duchess Elizabeth. However with the eruption of the Revolution in Russia, three of her brothers who had served in the military were then murdered at Alapayesvk in Siberia, where they were thrown alive down a mineshaft (July, 1918). Vera escaped abroad with her mother, brother and several other close relatives to Sweden due to the intervention of Queen Victoria, the wife of Gustavus V, being rescued from Kronstadt by the Swedish warship Angermanland (Oct, 1918).
The family resided in Sweden for two years (1918 – 1920) before removing to Brussels. Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Altenburg then gave the family the use of a family estate at Altenburg near Leipzig. With her mother’s eventual death (1927) Princess Vera retired to live in Bavaria but later returned to Altenburg where she resided during WW II. During the war the princess worked as a translator for prisoners in war camps but she was soon removed from this position by the Nazis. After the war when Altenburg was going to be occupied by the Russians the princess and her cousin Prince Ernst Friedrich of Saxe-Altenburg fled on foot before the advancing Russian troops. Princess Vera then settled in Hamburg where she was employed as a translator with the British Red Cross (1946 – 1949). Princess Vera then removed permanently to the USA (1951) where she worked for two decades with the Tolstoy Foundation which provided assistance to Russian émigrés. She never remarried and was a prominent member of high society in New York where she was honoured as a descendant of the Tsars. She published several autobiographical articles in the Russian Kadetskaya pereklichka publication (1972). Princess Vera Konstantinovna Romanovna died (Jan 11, 2001) aged ninety-four, in New York. She was interred in the cemetery of the Russian Orthodox monastery of Novo-Diveyevo in Nanuet.

Verac, Euphemie de Noailles, Marquise de – (1790 – 1870)
French aristocrat and émigré
Born Adelaide Marie Euphemie Cecile de Noailles (May 17, 1790), she was the daughter of Vicomte Louis de Noailles, and his cousin-wife, Marie Louise de Noailles.  Euphemie was niece by marriage to the famous Marquis de La Fayette. Though her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother were all guillotined (1794), Euphemie and her young siblings were protected by servants loyal the family. She later returned to France and was married (1811) to Armand de Saint-Georges, marquis de Verac, whom she survived as Dowager Marquise (1858 – 1870). Madame de Verac died (Aug 21, 1870) aged eighty.

Verbeeck, Anne – (1727 – after 1755)
Dutch painter
Anne Verbeeck was the daughter of Franz Hendrik Verbeeck, and younger sister to Elisabeth Verbeeck. She was taught by her father but none of her own works have survived.

Verbeeck, Elisabeth – (1720 – after 1755)
Dutch painter
Elizabeth Verbeeck was the elder daughter of Franz Hendrik Verbecck, and was elder sister to Anne Verbeeck. She was taught by her father but none of her own works have survived.

Vercellana, Rosa – (1833 – 1885)
Italian courtier
Rosa Vercellana was the mistress and then morganatic second wife (1869 – 1878) of Vittoro Emanuele II, King of Italy. She was born (June 3, 1833) at Moncalvo, the daughter of Giovanni Vercellana, and his wife Luisa Albera. When a very young girl Rosa became the mistress of Vittori Emmanuele, and bore him several children, during the time of his marriage with the Hapsburg archduchess Adelaide. The king granted her the title of Contessa di Miriafiori and Fontafredda (1859 – 1885), and eventually married her morganatically in Rome (1869), which made the stepmother to King Umberto I (1878 – 1900). Of her two surviving children Emmanuele Filiberto Guerreri (1851 – 1894) in herited her own title of Mirifiori and Fontafredda (1885 – 1894) and left descendants, whilst her daughter Vittoria Guerreri (1848 – 1905) was married firstly the marchese Giovanni Filippo Spinola, and secondly his elder brother, the marchese Luigi Domenic Spinola (1825 – 1899). She left children by both marriages. Contessa Rosa survived the king five years, and died (Dec 27, 1885) in Pisa, aged fifty-two.

Verchinina, Nina – (1910 – 1995)
Russian-American ballerina
Nina Verchinina was born in Moscow, but to the Revolution she was raised in Shanghai in China. She studied ballet firstly in Paris under Bronislava Nijinska and then with the modern choreographer Rudolf von Laban. She became a member of the Ballet Russes under Colonel W. de Basil (1932 – 1937). Her classical and fuidic style was much admired by the famous choreographer Leonide Massine (1895 – 1979) who created the symphonic ballets Les Presages and Choreartium especially for her. With her retirement from the stage Madame Verchinina became the ballet mistress at the Teatro Municipal at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (1946 – 1947). Nina Verchinina died (Dec 16, 1995) aged eighty-five, in Rio de Janeiro.

Verdelin, Marie Madeleine de Bremond, Marquise de – (1728 – 1810)
French aristocrat and courtier
Marie de Bremond was the elder daughter of Charles de Bremond (1695 – 1765), Marquis d’ Ars and his wife Marie Scholastique Antoinette de Bremond, the daughter of Jean Louis de Bremond, Seigneur d’Augeliers. She became the wife (1750) of Marquis Bernard de Verdelin and attended the courts of Louis XV and Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of Versailles. She survived the horrors of the Revolution. Her portrait by Jean Baptiste Lefevre has survived.

Verdiana – (1182 – 1242)
Italian religious recluse and saint
Born at Castelfiorintino, Tuscany, into a patrician family, Verdiana (Viridiana) was noted for her religious piety from an early age. Verdiana later went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. After her return to Italy she became an anchorite in a cell attached to the oratory of San Antonio, where she remained for the next thirty-four years (1208 – 1242) until her death, when, according to tradition the bells of the church of Castelfiorintino rang by supernatural means. Verdiana died (Feb 10, 1242) aged fifty-nine, at Castelfiorintino. Verdiana was revered as a saint (Feb 1), her cult being approved by Pope Clement VII.

Verdicenan – (1826 – 1889)
Ottoman sultana
Verdicenan was born in the Caucasus and was sold into slavery. She entered the Ottoman court as a harem concubine, and was taken as one of his last wives (c1843) by Sultan Abdulmecid I (1823 – 1861). She received official rank of haseki sultan (princess favourite) after bearing him a son at the Topkapi Palace (1847), though he was not in the line of succession. With Abdulmecid’s death, Verdicenan retired to the Saray Palace. Verdicenan survived the sultan almost thirty years, and died (Dec 9, 1889) at Bechiktache, Constantinople, aged sixty-three. She left two children,

 Verdon, Gwen – (1925 – 2000)
American stage and film actress
Gwyneth Evelyn Verdon was born (Jan 13, 1925) in California and taught various types of dance styles. Performing as a tap-dancer from the age of six (1931), she later eloped with a Hollywood journalist, James Henaghan, to whom she bore a son. Gwen made her Broadway debut in Jack Cole’s Alive and Kicking (1950) which proved unsuccessful. She achieved her first notable success as a dancer featured in the Cole-Porter musical Can-can (1953) for which she won a Tony Award. As Lola inDamn Yankee (1955) she received further acclaim, especially with her song ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ for which she received a second Tony Award. Gwen gave a brilliant performance in Reddhead (1959) which was choreographed and directed by Bob Fosse, who later became her second husband (1963), appearing again on Broadway in Sweet Charity (1966). Gwen was legally seperated from Fosse (1971) though they never divorced. Early in her career Gwen appeared in several films such as On the Riviera (1951), David and Bathsheba (1951), The I Don’t Care Girl (1953) and The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953). In her later years she appeared in films like The Cotton Club (1984), Cocoon (1985), Cocoon: The Return (1988), Alice (1990) and Marvin’s Room (1996). Gwen Verdon died (Oct 18, 2000) in Bronxville, New York, aged seventy-five.

Verdugo, Patricia – (1947 – 2008)
Chilean journalist and humn rights activist
Patricia Verdugo was born (Nov 30, 1947), and studied journalism at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Verdugo wrote articles for various popular magazines. Verdugo’s father had been killed during the dictatorship of General Auguste Pinochet (1973 – 1990) and her work Los Zarpazos del Puma (Clawings of the Puma) (1985), which dealt with the many judicial murders carriet out by the Pinochet regime, was banned by the government. Patricia Verdugo died (Jan 13, 2008) aged sixty, in Santiago.

Vere, Beatrice de – (c1050 – c1105)
Anglo-Norman heiress
Beatrice de Vere's family origins remain unknown, though she may have been a connection of the family of the counts of the Cotentin in Normandy. Beatrice was married (c1070 or before) becoming the first wife of Lord Aubrey I de Vere (c1040 – 1112), of Hedingham Castle in Essex. Beatrice was mentioned in the Domesday chronicles (1086) when it was recorded that she held land at Aldham, Essex from  Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and she was accused of a small encroachment of the king’s land in that county. At her death Beatrice was interred within the Benedictine priory of Earls Colne, which she may have founded together with her husband. Of her six sons the youngest Aubrey II de Vere (1090 – 1141) was the father of Aubrey de Vere, the first Earl of Oxford. Her daughter Alice de Vere became the wife of Richard de Camville.

Vere, Dorothy de – (c1502 – 1527)
English Tudor heiress
Dorothy de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere and his wife Margaret, the daughter of Sir William Stafford. She was sister and coheiress to John de Vere, earl of Oxford, who died childless (1526). Dorothy was married (c1518) to Sir John Neville (1493 – 1542), later third Baron Latimer, as his first wife. After her death her husband made a petition to the Crown on behalf of their son John, concerning the de Vere estates (1532), and he was later granted permission to receive Dorothy’s inheritance (1541). After her death, Dorothy’s son co-shared the representation of the ancient earldom of Oxford with his two maternal aunts, Elizabeth, Lady Wingfield, and Ursula, Lady Knightley. During the reign of King George V (1911), the Duke of Atholl claimed the earldom of Oxford as a descendant of Lady Dorothy, but his claim was disallowed. Lady Dorothy died (Feb 7, 1527) aged about twenty-four, and was buried at Wells. She left two children,

Vere, Lucy de – (c1130 – 1198)
Anglo-Norman nun and patron
Lucy was founder of the priory of Castle Hedingham, Essex, and was believed to be connected to the earls of Oxford. The historian Leland stated that Lucy was the wife of Aubrey de Vere, first earl of Oxford, but there is no evidence that he had a wife of that name, and she may have been his daughter.  Other sources claim that she was indentical with Juliana, the first wife of Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk, who later divorced her. Juliana then remarried to Walkelyn Maminot. After his death (1182) she retired to Castle Hedingham where she became a nun, and took the religious name of Sister Lucy. The mortuary roll of Castle Hedingham has survived, and is itself a document of beautiful workmanship. Lucy is referred too as the foundress of this group of nuns, and the roll refers to the virtues of her virginity. It may have been specifically commissioned to commemorate Lucy’s death.

Vere of Hanworth, Mary Chambers, Lady – (c1715 – 1783)
British Hanoverian peeress
Mary Chambers was the daughter and coheir of Thomas Chambers, of Hanworth. She became the wife (1736) of Lord Vere Beauclerk (1699 – 1781), a younger son of Charles, first Duke of St Albans, the son of Charles II and Nell Gwyn. Her husband was created first Baron Vere of Hanworth (1750) by King George II, the title taking its name from the Hanworth property which Lady Mary had inherited. Lady Beauclerk then became Baroness Vere of Hanworth (1750 – 1781), and with her husband attended the coronations of both George III (1760) and Queen Charlotte (1761). Mary survived her husband as the Dowager Baroness Vere of Hanworth (1781 – 1783). Lady Vere died (Jan 21, 1783). She was mentioned in the correspondence of Horace Walpole. Her children were,

Vere of Tilbury, Mary Tracy, Lady – (1581 – 1670)
English religious patron and Puritan leader
Mary Tracy was the daughter of Sir John Tracy, of Toddington, Gloucestershire, and was sister to John Tracy (c1570 – 1648), the first Viscount Tracy of Rathcoole and his wife Anne, the daughter of Sir Thomas Throckmorton, of Tortworth, Gloucestershire. With the death of her first husband, William Hoby, Mary was remarried (1607) to Sir Horace Vere (1565 – 1635), the first Baron Vere of Tilbury. An ardent Puritan like her husband, Mary was the friend, patron, and confidante of many Puritan divines. Some of her correspondence remains extant, and in this she appears as a spiritual adviser and comforter to her Puritan friends, who included several ministers of the court. With her husband’s death Mary turned her houses at Clapton and Kirby Hall into spiritual retreats for Puritans. Her charitable activities and reputation as a rigid upholder of Protestant values led the Parlaiment to place Prince Henry and Princess Elizabeth, children of Charles I (1625 – 1649) into her care (1635) but she did not relish this appointment and eventually it was transferred to the earl and countess of Northumberland. She survived the Restoration of Charles II and died (Dec 14, 1670) at Kirkby Hall, aged eighty-nine. Lady Vere left five daughters by her second marriage,

Vere Cole, Mavis de – (1908 – 1968)
British beauty and scandal figure
Mavis was born in Charlton, and said to have been of gypsy descent. She began work in a mill at fourteen, but later drifted to the upper echelons of British society, where her beauty captured her Horace de Vere Cole as a husband, and she became the mother of Tristan de Vere Cole, the dramatist and biographer. Mavis became the mistress of the painter Augustus Johns, who painted her famous portrait. She later married Mortimer Wheeler who divorced her, and attained public notoriety after her affair with Lord Vivian led to her shooting him in a cottage in Wiltshire.

Vereld    see   Pharailde

Vergy, Emelina de – (c1080 – after 1132)
French religious founder and patron
Emelina was perhaps related to the Grancey family, and was the daughter of Arnulf Cornu, Sire de Vergy, and his wife Emelina. She became the wife of Humbert de Mailli, Seigneur de Favernai. Emelina was sometimes mistakenly called Elisabeth. With her husband Emelina co-founded the Cistercian abbey of Notre Dame de Tart in Langres, Burgundy (1132), the rules of the new abbey being compiled by St Stephen of Citeaux. Emelina and Humbert were also patrons of the abbey of Citeaux. After her husband’s death Emelina became a nun at the abbey of Juilly. She and Humbert were buried together at Tart.

Vergy, Jeanne de – (c1366 – 1410)
French medieval heiress
Jeanne de Vergy was the daughter of Guillaume IV de Vergy, seigneur de Mirabeau-sur-Beze in Burgundy. Jeanne was married to Henry de Bauffremont. With the death of her brother, Jean IV de Vergy (1388), Jeanne and her husband inherited the fief of Mirabeau, which passed firstly to their son Jean de Bauffremont (died 1472), and then to their granddaughter Jeanne, the wife of Philippe de Longwy.

Vergy, Margeurite de – (c1459 – c1475)
French feudal heiress
Margeurite de Vergy was the only child of Antoine de Vergy, Seigneur de Pesmes, and his wife Bonne de Neufchatel. Her father died whilst she was an infant and her mother remarried to Jean de la Baume, Comte de Montrevel (died 1505). At the time of her father’s death, Margeurite’s paternal grandfather, Charles de Vergy, seigneur de Champlitte, whose heiress she now was, had arranged for her to later marry (c1470) her distant cousin, Guillaume de Vergy, in order to auusre the succession within the family and retain control of the valuable fiefs and estates. However, all these plans proved to be in vain, as Margeurite died childless, aged about sixteen. Her husband Guillaume, in order to retain possession of the fief of Champlitte, became engaged in a lawsuit with Margeurite’s aunt, Guillemette de Vergy, and with her descendants, a dispute which took over fifty years to be resolved.

Verhagen, Jean    see   Hagen, Jean

Verina – (fl. 474 – c480 AD)
Roman Augusta
Verina was the daughter of Theodoric Strabo, king of the Ostrogoths in Thrace, and was niece to Aelia Verina, the wife of the Byzantine emperor Leo I. Verina was married (c468 AD) to Julius Nepos (c430 – 480 AD), who was proclaimed emperor (June, 474 AD) and Verina was accorded the Imperial title, though no coinage of hers has survived. The empress probably fled with her husband to his estates in Dalmatia (475 AD) when Orestes caused the youthful Romulus to be proclaimed emperor in his stead. Nepos later sent a deputation to the Emperor Zeno in Constantinople (477 AD), requesting him to lend his support to help him to regain the Imperial throne in Rome, using his marriage with Zeno’s kinswoman Verina, to gain sympathy. Nepos was finally murdered (May 9, 480 AD) at his country villa near Salonae in Dalmatia, but of the Empress Verina’s fate nothing has been recorded.

Verina, Aelia – (c430 – 485 AD)
Byzantine Augusta
Aelia Verina was sister to the Gothic chieftain Theodoric. She was married (c446 AD) to the future emperor Leo I the Great (410 – 474 AD) before his accession (457 AD), and bore him two daughters, Ariadne and Leontia.  A forceful and intelligent woman, Leo was much influenced by her, and the empress worked in collusion with Aspar, who had engineered her husband’s accession, but with Aspar’s murder (471 AD) Verina’s influence remained paramount. She supported the claims of her brother Basiliscus, against those of her son-in-law Zeno, which ended with the deaths of Basiliscus and his wife and children (476 AD) and with the empress mother forced to flee for her life to the safety of the church of St Sophia, whilst her daughter Ariadne was forced to plea with Zeno to spare her life.
When one of her servants was detected in a further plot against Zeno (478 AD), the emperor finally caused her to be banished to Tarsus, in Cilicia, Asia Minor. However Zeno’s favourite Iullus then forced Verina her to crown her other son-in-law Marcian as Augustus (482 AD), and then sent her to the fortress city of Cherriss. She died there (Sept, 485 AD) whilst Zeno was beseiging the city. She was later interred with her late husband in Constantinople. Verina is attested as empress by a gold solidus, struck during the reign of her husband, which portrays a bust of the empress on the obverse, crowned by the hand of God, and with the inscription AEL UERINA. The reverse side has Victory standing, supporting a jewelled cross, and the legend VICTORIA AVGGGA.

Vermandois, Henriette de Bourbon-Conde, Princesse de – (1703 – 1772)
French royal and courtier
Henriette de Bourbon-Conde was born (Jan 15, 1703) at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, the fifth daughter of Louis III de Bourbon, Prince de Conde, and his wife Louise Francoise de Bourbon, the legitimated daughter of Louis XIV (1643 – 1715) and his mistress, Athenais de Rochechouart, Marquise de Montespan. Princesse Henriette never married and was known officially as ‘Madamoiselle de Vermandois.’ As a princess of the blood she had apartments at Versailles and attended the court of Louis XV (1715 – 1774) and Queen Marie Lesczynszka. Madamoiselle Henriette attended the official receptions surrounding the wedding of the the future Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of Austria (1770). The Princesse de Vermandois died (Sept 19, 1772) at Beaumont-les-Tours, aged sixty-nine.

Verne, Adela – (1877 – 1952)
British concert pianist
Born Adela (Adele) Wurm (Feb 27, 1877) in Southampton, London, she was of German parentage. The family later anglicized their name to Verne (1893). Adela was the great-niece of the famous novelist Jules Verne, and was the younger sister of the noted concert pianist and teacher Mathilde Verne, and of Alice Bredt, the composer and teacher. Adela Verne studied under her sister at Mathilde’s College, London, and then with Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860 – 1941) in Switzerland. Adela made several very successful concert tours in the USA. Adela Verne died (Feb 5, 1952) aged seventy-four, in London.

Verne, Mathilde – (1865 – 1936)
British concert pianist and teacher
Born Mathilde Wurm (May 25, 1865) in Southampton, near London, she was of German parentage. The family then adopted the anglicized name of Verne. She was great-niece to the novelist Jules Verne, and was elder sister to Alice Bredt and Adela Verne, both famous in their own right as musicians and teachers. Mathilde studied firstly under the guidance of her musically gifted parents, and then received instruction from Clara Schumann at Frankfurt-am-Main. Miss Verne later established her own teaching academy, Mathilde’s College in London (1909), and appeared for three decades as a performer of very popular concerts of chamber music (1907 – 1936). Her pupils included Dame Moura Lympnay, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, later Queen Elizabeth the wife of George VI (1936 – 1952). Mathilde Verne died (June 4, 1936) aged seventy-one, in London

Vernet i Real, Maria Teresa – (1907 – 1974)
Spanish novelist, poet and translator
Maria Teresa Vernet was born in Barcelona, the daughter of a schoolteacher, and was raised mainly in Paris. Encouraged by her parents she became a translator of the works of such writers as James Joyce, Aldous Huxley, and Louis Baudouin, into her native Catalan. She published her first novel Maria Dolors (1926) before the age of twenty. She was then awarded the prrestigious Creixelles prize for her work Les algues roges (Red seaweed) (1934). Vernet, who sometimes used the pseudonym ‘Maria Teresa Barnet,’ was later elected as president of the cultural department of the Club Femeni i Esports (Women’s Club for Sports) (1930). She remained unmarried, and with the coming of the Spanish Civil War she retired from writing. Her other works included the novel Final i preludi (Final and prelude) (1933) and the collection of verse Poemes (1929). Maria Teresa Vernet i Real died in Barcelona.

Verneuil, Charlotte de Seguier, Duchesse de – (1622 – 1704)
French heiress
A Bourbon princess of the blood by marriage, and courtier of Louis XIV (1643 – 1715) at Versailles, Charlotte de Seguier was born (Nov, 1622) in Paris, the second daughter of Pierre Seguier (1588 – 1672), the chancellor of France, and seigneur d’Autrey, and his wife Madeleine Fabry. Charlotte was married firstly (1639) to Maximilien III Henry de Bethune (1615 – 1662), Duc de Sully. Their four children included Maximilien IV de Bethune (1640 – 1694), Duc de Sully, who left descendants, and Margeurite Louise de Bethune-Sully (1642 – 1726), who became famous at the court of Louis XIV as the Duchesse de Lude. With the death of her husband, the Duchesse de Sully remarried secondly (1668) in Paris, to Gaston Henry de Bourbon (1601 – 1682), duc de Verneuil, the legitimated natural son of King Henry IV (1589 – 1610) and Gabrielle d’Estrees. She is mentioned in the Memoires of the court chronicler, the Duc de Saint-Simon. The duchesse died in Paris (June 5, 1704), aged eighty-one

Verneuil, Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues, Marquise de – (1579 – 1633)
French royal mistress
Born Catherine Henriette Balzac d’Entragues at Orleans, she was the daughter of Francois de Balzac, Seigneur d’Entragues, and his wife Marie Touchet, the former mistress of Charles IX. Tall, brunette, and ravishingly beautiful, Henriette became the mistress of Henry IV after the death of Gabrielle d’Estrees (1599). She had yielded her virginity for a large fee (100, 000 ecus) and even managed to obtain from Henry a written promise of marriage. Despite this the king was forced to yield to his ministers and make a state marriage with Marie de Medici, but he refused to give up Henriette. In mid-1600 Henriette gave birth to Henry’s son, but the infant lived only a few hours. Henry saw the death of this child as reason to free himself from his former promise of marriage. A jealous and intriguing woman, Henriette became involved in several conspiracies to assasinated her royal lover, notably when she allied herself with Henry’s former friend the Duc de Biron, and Duke Carlo Emanuel of Savoy. This plot ended with Biron’ execution, whilst Henriette, who had been created marquise de Verneuil, was exiled from the court, and survived Henry for over two decades. She left two children by the king, Henri de Bourbon, Duc de Verneuil (1601 – 1682) and Gabrielle Angelique de Bourbon (1603 – 1627) who married the Duc d’Epernon. Madame de Verneuil died in Paris (Feb 6, 1633).

Verneuil, Mimi de   see   Forcade, Mimi

Verney, Margaret Maria Williams, Lady – (1844 – 1930)
British witer and historian
Margaret Williams was born (Dec 3, 1844) in London, the elder daughter and coheir of Sir John Hay Williams, second baronet, of Bodelwydoan, Flintshire, by his wife Lady Sarah Elizabeth Pitt, the daughter of William, first Earl Amherst. Margaret became the wife (1868) Edmund Hope Verney (1838 – 1910), of Claydon House, Buckinghamshire, who succeeded his father as third baronet (1894). The couple had four children including, Sir Harry Calvert Williams Verney (1881 – 1974), the fourth baronet, who left descendants.
Lady Verney was especially interested in education, and served on the Buckinghamshire county education committee. She was also a member of the court of governors of the University College of North Wales at Bangor, and served as a member of the University of Eales council for almost three decades (1894 – 1922) and was appointed as junior deputy chancellor (1919). Lady Verney was best remembered for her publication of the four volume history entitled Memoirs of the Verney Family (1892 – 1899), which was twice reprinted (1904) and (1925). She also published the Memoir of Sir Henry Cunningham (1923) and Bucks.Biographies (1912). Her portrait (1868), by Sir William Richmond, is preserved at Claydon House. Lady Margaret Verney died (Oct 7, 1930) aged eighty-five, at Rhianva. She was buried at Llandegfan.

Verney, Mary Blacknall, Lady – (1616 – 1650)
English Stuart courtier and letter writer
Mary Blacknall was the daughter and heiress of John Blacknall of Abingdon. Orphaned at a young age she inherited Abingdon Abbey, and became a ward of the Crown. Mary was married firstly (1626) to her first cousin, the son of Richard Libb, but the Court of Wards declared it to be unlawful as Mary was under age, and she was commended to the care of Sir John Denham, one of the barons of the Exchequer, at Borstall, to be raised with his own daughters. After another attempt by her Libb relatives to carry her off, Mary was permitted to marry Ralph Verney (1613 – 1696), the son and heir of Sir Edmund Verney. The marriage produced many children and Ralph was knighted by Charles I (1640). Their surviving correspondence has been edited and published. Sir Ralph Verney went into exile in France (1643) rather than sign the oath of the Covenant. The family estates were later sequestered (1646) but Mary managed to get this order rescinded after petitioning the Parliament. She later managed to join her husband at Blois in France (1648). Lady Verney died (May 10, 1650) of consumption, at Blois. Some of her children were,

Verney, Parthenope Nightingale, Lady – (1819 – 1890)
British compiler
Frances Parthenope Nightingale was the sister of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, and became the second wife (1855) of Sir Harry Verney, of Claydon House, Buckinghamshire, second baronet, and was stepmother to Sir Edmund Hope Verney (1838 – 1910), the third baronet (1894 – 1910). Lady Verney later began editing and compiling the vast Verney family correspondence, diaries, and private journals, which had survived in the archives at Claydon. She spent well over three decades (1858 – 1890) compiling a history of the Verney family down to 1650, and inclued reproductions of family portraits. Her stepdaughter-in-law later published the enormous four volume work entitled Memoirs of the Verney Family (1892 – 1899) though the first two volumes were the work of Lady Parthenope. Lady Verney died (May 12, 1890).

Vernon, Agnes – (1895 – 1948)
American silent film actress
Agnes Vernon was born (Dec 27, 1895) in La Grande, Oregon. She appeared in almost ninety silent features in a period of seven years (1914 – 1921). Her first films included The Triumph of the Mind (1914), Her Grave Mistake (1914), Seven and Seventy (1915), In Search of a Wife (1915), Darcy of the Northwest Mounted (1916), The Rose Coloured Scarf (1916), Dangers of a Bride (1917), Flirting with Death (1917) and The High Sign (1917). She sometimes used the name of ‘Brownie Vernon.’ With the end of WW I she came to Australia at the behest of the actor and stuntman Reg Baker and produced several silent movies such as The Man from Kangaroo (1920) and The Shadow of Lightning Ridge (1921). Agnes Vernon died (Feb 21, 1948) aged fifty-two, at San Diego in California.

Vernon, Benedicta – (c1395 – after 1446)
English medieval heiress
Benedicta de Ludlow was the daughter of Sir John de Ludlow, and was the wife of Sir Richard Vernon (or Pembruge) (c1395 – 1451), the Speaker of the House of Commons. Her children included Sir William Vernon (1416 – 1467), the constable of England, who was interred within the church of Tong in Shropshire, together with his wife, Margaret Pype. According to an inscription in Bakewell Church, Derbyshire, Benedicta Vernon and her husband jointly founded a chapel there (1427). She was still living (1446) when she inherited the estate of Tong Castle, Salop, on the death of Isabella, the widow of Fulko de Pembruge. Husband and wife were entombed together at Tong church, under recumbent alabaster effigies atop a large tomb-chest which is decorated with the figures of saints and angels. Their monuments remain exceptionally well preserved.

Vernon, Caroline – (1751 – 1829)
British Hanoverian courtier
Caroline Vernon served at court as maid-of-honour to Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III (1760 – 1820). She visited the court of Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette at Versailles, and was entertained by the antiquarian Horace Walpole at his estate of Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham, as well as appearing in the pages of his private correspondence. Vernon was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who depicted her as ‘Sabra.’

Vernon, Dorothy – (c1540 – 1584)
English Tudor heiress
Dorothy Vernon was the elder daughter and coheiress of Sir George Vernon (died 1567), of Nether Haddon, Derby, and his wife Margaret, the daughter of Sir George Talboys (1467 – 1517), Lord Kyme. Dorothy eloped with Sir John Manners, the second son of Thomas, first Earl of Rutland, and was the mother of Sir George Manners (c1562 – 1627), whose son John Manners (1604 – 1679) succeeded as eighth Earl of Rutland. Thus she was ancestress of the later dukes of Rutland, the inheritors of the family estate of Haddon Hall. The door through which Dorothy is said to have left through to elope with her lover was still called after her in the twentieth century, whilst the Vernon name survives in engravings of the family coat of arms which is preserved at Haddon.

Vernon, Mabel – (1883 – 1975) 
American suffrage leader, feminist and pacifist
Mabel Vernon was born (Sept 10, 1883) in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of George Washington Vernon, editor and publisher of the Wilmington Daily Republican. Mabel Vernon attended Swarthmore College where she met Alice Paul, which directed her towards improving the rights of women in US society. She became the first national suffrage organizer for the National Women’s Party, and travelled across the country campaigning for female suffrage. She later joined WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (1930) and represented the USA at the conferences held in Zurich (1934) and Geneva (1935). She later served as the chairman of the Peoples Mandate Committee for Inter-American Peace and Cooperation (1950 – 1955). For her pacifist work in Latin-America she received the Diploma de Honor of the Ecuadorean Red Cross (1942). Mabel Vernon died (Sept 2, 1975) aged ninety-one, in Washington, D.C.

Vernon, Mildred Edith – (1874 – 1965)
British nurse
Mildred Vernon was born (Sept 26, 1874) the daughter of Augustus George Vernon of Ryde on the Isle of Wight, and his wife the Hon. (Honourable) Rachel Mary Bruce. She attended Cambridge University and during WW I she served as a nurse with the ARRC (Associate, Royal Red Cross) in France and Italy, being mentioned in official dispatches. She remained unmarried. Mildred Vernon died (Oct 14, 1965) aged ninety-one.

Verona, Marulla da – (c1301 – c1336)
Italian medieval heiress
Marulla da Verona was the daughter of Bonifacio da Verona, Lord of Negroponte. She was heiress to the important Greek fief of Aegina, which lands she brought to her husband Alfonso Fadrque de Aragon (c1295 – c1339), Count of Malta and Gozzo, at the time of their marriage (1317). Her children and descendants took the surname of Fadrique and Marulla appears to have predeceased her husband. Her seven children were,

Veronica – (fl. c29 AD)
Hebrew Christian saint
Veronica was the lady mentioned in the Bible, who offerred Jesus Christ a cloth to wipe his brow whilst he was travelling to his crucifixion at Calvary. When it was returned to her this cloth was said to have remained inprinted with the features of Christ. The woman remains unnamed in the Bible and the name of Veronica is said to have derived from the Latin vera icon (‘true image’). ‘St Veronica’s veil’ was long perserved at the basilica of St Peter’s in Rome from the beginning of the eigth century and was publicly exhibited by permission of Pope Pius XI (1933). Veronica was revered as a saint (July 12).

Verrieres, Marie Rinteau de    see   Rinteau de Verrieres, Marie

Vertus, Charlotte de Pisseleu, Comtesse de – (1525 – 1604)
French aristocrat and courtier
Charlotte de Pisseleu d’Heilly was the daughter of Guillaume de Pisseleu, Seigneur d’Heilly, and his wife Madeleine de Laval. She was the much younger half-sister of Anne de Pisseleu, Duchesse d’Etampes, the mistress of King Francois I (1515 – 1547). Through the influence at court of her sister, it was arranged for Charlotte to marry (1537) Francois III d’Avaugour de Bretagne (c1520 – 1548), Comte de Vertus and de Goello, a descendant of Francois II, Duke of Brittany (1459 – 1488) and his mistress Antoinette de Maignelais, the former mistress of Louis XI of France (1461 - 1483). Charlotte survived her husband for fifty-six years (1548 - 1604) as the Dowager Comtesse de Vertus. Her children were,

Verua, Jeanne Genevieve Baptiste d’Albert, Comtesse de – (1670 – 1736)
French adventuress, royal mistress and espionage agent
Jeanne Genevieve d’Albert was born (Jan 18, 1670), the daughter of Louis Charles Honore d’Albert, second Duc de Luynes, and his second wife Anne, the daughter of Hercule de Rohan, Duc de Montbazon. Raised at the court of Versailles, Jeanne was married (1683) to the Italian patrician, Augusto Manfredi Scaglia, Comte de Verua (1667 – 1704), who was killed in battle at Haochstadt (Aug 13, 1704). The comtesse became the mistress of Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, the king of Sardinia (1718 – 1732), the husband of Louis’s niece, Anne Marie d’Orleans, to whom she bore several illegitimate children. Their son, Vittorio Francisco Philippo (1694 – 1762) was created Marchese di Susa by his father (1701). Their daughter, Vittoria Francesca of Savoy, Madamoiselle de Susa (1690 – 1766) was married to the Savoyard prince, Vittorio Amedeo I, Prince di Carignano, and left issue.
Madame de Verua served King Louis as a double agent at the court of Turin in Piedmont. For which task, her incredible beauty and seductive talents made her a highly accomplished performer. After her retirement from this line of work, the comtesse receive a pension from the crown, in discreet recognition, and reward, for her much valued services. She was the heroine of La Dame de Volupte, the famous work by Alexandre Dumas the elder. Madame de Verua died (Nov 18, 1736) in Paris, aged sixty-six.

Verulam, Alice Barnham, Baroness   see   Barnham, Alice

Verulam, Charlotte Jenkinson, Countess of – (1783 – 1863)
British diarist
Lady Charlotte Jenkinson was the daughter of Lord Liverpool. She was married (1807) to James Walter Grimston (1775 – 1845), later first Earl of Verulam (1815). Lady Verulam left a one volume diary which covered the period (1809 – 1814) during which she resided in London and at Birkhampstead Castle in Gorhambury, Hertfordshire. The journal chiefly records her daily activities, and noted visits made to her husband’s estates. She made several visits to stately homes in the region, of which tours she leaves descriptions, as well as the gala ball given by the Prince Regent to celebrate the birthday of George III.   Her son James Walter Grimston, the second Earl of Verulam was lord-in-waiting to Queen Victoria and lord-lieutenant of Hertfordshire. Her daughters all married peers, Emily, the Earl of Craven (1835), Mary Augusta, the Earl of Radnor (1840), and Jane Frederica, the Earl of Caledon (1845).

Verylde   see    Pharailde

Verzizi, Retimo    see   Rabia Gulnus Ummetullah

Vesaas, Halldis Moren – (1907 – 1995)
Norwegian poet, translator and author
Halldis Moren was born in Trysil, the daughter of the author Sven Moren. She worked first as a secretary and then trained as a schoolteacher. She was married (1934) to the writer Tarjei Vesaas, to whom she bore several children. Vesaas published several collections of verse including Harpe og dolk (Harp and Dagger) (1929) and I ein annan skog (In Another Forest) (1955). After her death the publisher Olaf Norlis Bokhandel established the annual Halldis Moren Vesaas Prize for poetry in her memory.

Vescera, Baroness Marie Alexandrine – (1871 – 1889) 
Austrian Imperial mistress
Marie Vescera was born in Vienna, the daughter of Baron Albin Vescera and his wife Helene Baltazzi, and attended a convent school. Marie became a great beauty, and had such an interest in horse-racing that earned the nickname of ‘Turf angel.’ She met the crown prince Rudolph at the Hofburg Palace (Nov, 1888) and the two became infatuated with each other. The attachment caused great scandal, and, at length was brought to the attention of the Emperor Franz Joseph, who ordered the couple to separate. At the royal lodge at Mayerling, they were founded togther, both shot dead (Jan 30, 1889). It seems that the couple, in order not to be forcibly seperated, had decided upon a suicide pact, though the real truth of the affair remains shrouded in mystery, and there remains the possibility that she may have been murdered.

Vesci, Clemence de – (c1273 – 1343)
French-Anglo Plantagenet courtier
Clemence d’Avaugour was the daughter of Comte Henry III d’Avaugour in Brittany and his wife Marie de Beaumont, the daughter of Louis de Brienne, Vicomte de Beaumont. She was the niece of Isabella de Beaumont, the wife of Sir John de Vesci the elder, whilst her maternal grandfather was the first cousin of Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of Edward I, King of England (1272 – 1307). Clemence came to England (1290) to serve with her aunt in the queen’s household and is recorded in the surviving royal accounts the Liber Garderobe as ‘domicilla de Vagor’ or the ‘domicilla de Vescy’ after her marriage (July, 1290) with the young Sir John de Vesci. There remains a record of her coach being used by the queen who repaired the vehicle at her own expense. Clemence was widowed in 1295 but remained a widow for almost five decades. Much of her later life was spent in Brittany, though she held dower estates at Newsholme and Sprouston in England.

Vesci, Isabella de – (c1263 – 1334)
French-Anglo Plantagenet courtier
Isabella de Beaumont was the daughter of the Vicomte Louis de Beaumont and his wife Agnes de Beaumont. Her paternal grandmother, Berengaria of Leon, was the daughter of Alfonso IX, King of Leon and her father was the first cousin to Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of Edward I of England (1272 – 1307). The Liber Garderobe or surviving household accounts for Queen Eleanor revealed that Lady Isabella, as the wife (1280) of Sir John de Vesci, served in the household of her royal kinswoman as ‘domina de Vescy.’ The younger Lady de Vesci who served with Isabella at court was her niece, the former Clemence d’Avaugour, her sister’s daughter. Isabella’s husband was a close friend to both King Edward and Eleanor, and Isabella was his third wife. Sir John de Vesci died in 1289 and Queen Eleanor ordered that his heart to be interred near her own and that of her son Alfonso (died 1284) in the Church of the Friars Preachers in London. Lady Isabella never remarried and survived Sir John for forty years as the Dowager Lady de Vesci. She retained her close links with the royal family and was later banished briefly (1311) because of her influence over Edward II and his wife Isabella de Valois.

Vesey, Catherine – (c1759 – 1832)
Irish heiress and peeress
Catherine Vesey as the younger daughter of Henry Vesey, Warden of Galway, a clergyman, and his wife Mary, the daughter of George Gerry, of Galway, an alderman. Catherine was the great-granddaughter of Hon. (Honourable) Reverend John Vesey (1638 – 1716), Archbishop of Tuam and Lord Justice of Ireland. Catherine was married to James Fitzgerald (1741 – 1835), to whom she bore five children. With the death of her only brother, John Vesey (1779), without issue, Mrs Fitzgerald and her younger sister Rebecca, Mrs Irwin, were bequeathed the estates that Vesey had inherited from their uncles, John and Agmondisham Vesey, with an injunction that their heirs male should bear the surname and arms of Vesey. Catherine Fitzgerald was later elevated to the Irish peerage by King George IV as Baroness Fitzgerald and Vesey (1826 – 1832). With the death of her second son, Henry Vesey-Fitzgerald, the third Baron Fitzgerlad and Vesey (1860), leaving only five daughters, this peerage became extinct. Her second daughter, Letitia Fitzgerald, wife of John Leslie Foster, assumed by royal license the surname and arms of Vesey and Fitzgerald, for herself and for her children. Catherine Vesey died (Jan, 1832).

Vesoul, Vicomtesse de    see   Joinville, Helvide de

Vespucci, Simonetta – (1453 – 1476)
Italian courtier and beauty
Born Simonetta Cattanei, she became the wife of the Florentine patrician Marco Vespucci, and Botticelli painted her portrait. Duke Lorenzo de Medici held a tournament to honour her beauty (1475) and wrote verses in her honour, though it is uncertain whether or not Simonetta became his mistress. Simonetta Vesoucci died at Piombino, of tuberculosis.

Vestris, Lucia Elisabetta – (1797 – 1856) 
Italian-Anglo actress, opera vocalist and theatrical manager
Born Lucia Bartolozzi in London, she was the granddaughter of the noted engraver and artist, Francesco Bartolozzi (1727 – 1815). She was married firstly to the dancer, Armand Vestris (1787 – 1825), and secondly (1838) to the actor, Charles James Mathews (1803 – 1878).  After seperating from her first husband, Madame Vestris appeared on the stage in Paris and at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, where she achieved success in The Haunted Tower and as the heroine Phoebe in Paul Pry. She was granted the lease of the Olympic Theatre (1831), and later took over the management of the Covent Garden and Lyceum theatres, becoming one of the first women in the British theatre to be granted the lease of a theatre under her own administration.

Veynes d’Arbouze, Margeurite de – (1580 – 1626)
French nun
Margeurite de Veynes was born at Villemont, the daughter of Gilbert de Veynes d’Arbouze and his wife Jeanne, the daughter of Pierre de Pinac, viceroy as Burgundy. Margeurite refused all offers of marriage and took the veil at the abbey of St Pierre at Laon. She later joined the Capucines, the Carmelites, and the Benedictines at Mont des Martyrs before Louis XIII (1610 – 1643) appointed her to preside as abbess of the convent of Val-de-Grace in Paris (1618 – 1626). Margeurite became famous for her religious piety and sanctity. Her private quarters at Val-de-Grace were stripped of their rich hangings, and she observed the rules of simplicity and austerity. She resigned her position shortly before her death (Aug 16, 1626) at the age of forty-six, which took place at Sery in the province of Berry. She was honoured as a saint on the anniversary of her death and is sometimes known as ‘Margaret of Val-de-Grace.’

Veysberg, Yuliya Lazarevna (Julia Weissberg) – (1880 – 1942)
Russian pianist and composer
Yuliya Veysberg was born (Jan 6, 1880) at Orenburg. She became the daughter-in-law of the composer Rimsky-Korsakov, under whom she studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory (1903 – 1905). Veysberg was dismissed from the Conservatory (1905) because of her involvement in a strike, and travelled to Germany, where she continued her studies under Engelbert Humperdinck and Max Reger (1907 – 1912). With her return to St Petersburg she became the choral director at the Young Workers’ Conservatory (1921 – 1923). Veysberg produced a nine volume translation of the musical works of Romain Rolland, which was published as Sobraniye muzikal’no-istoricheskikh sochineniy (1938). Her works included the opera Rusalochka (The Little Mermaid) (1923) and the radio opera Myortvaya tsarevna (The Dead Princess) (1937). Yuliya Veysberg died (March 4, 1942) aged sixty-two, in St Petersburg (Leningrad).

Vezin, Jane Elizabeth – (1827 – 1902)
British stage actress
Born Jane Thomson, she was the daughter of a merchant. She toured England and Australia with her parents, and gained a reputation as an excellent child singer and dancer. She was married (1847) to Charles Frederick Young. Jane Vezin performed both comic and Shakespearean roles with verve and talent at Sadler’s Wells and Covent Garden, and was present at the opening of the Princess’s Theatre in London, when Henry Irving made his stage debut. She divorced Young and was remarried (1863) to the American actor Hermann Vezin, with whom she went on a tour of the provinces. She was particularly applauded in the role of Peg Woffington in Charles Reade’s Masks and Faces (1867). She never recovered from the death of her only child (1901) and committed suicide the following year.

Vianden, Adelaide von – (c1315 – 1376)
German countess and ruler
Adelaide was the daughter of Godfrey II, Count von Vianden. She was married (before 1331) to Otto II (1300 – 1351), Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (1341 – 1351), to whom she bore three sons. With her husband’s death the countess ruled Dillenburg as regent (1351 – 1354) for her eldest son, Count Johann I (1339 – 1416). When he came of age Adelaide retired from the government as Countess Dowager. Her second son Otto von Nassau (c1342 – 1384) became a priest and was appointed as provost of the Cathedral of St Maurice at Mainz. Her youngest son Heinrich von Nassau died unmarried (1402). Adelaide von Vianden died (after Nov 30, in 1376) aged about sixty.

Viardot, Louise Pauline Marie    see   Heritte-Viardot, Louise Pauline Marie

Viardot-Garcia, Pauline – (1821 – 1910)
Spanish mezzo-soprano, composer and vocal instructor
Born Michelle Ferdinande Pauline Garcia (July 18, 1821) in Paris, she was the daughter of the noted tenor and composer Manuel Garcia, and was sister to the soprano Maria Malibran. She received some of her musical training under Franz Liszt, and made her stage debut in London (1839). Pauline performed with her sister and her brother Manuel in New York, Mexico, and in London, where she was married (1839) to Louis Viardot (died 1883), the director of the Paris Italian opera. Pauline created the character of Fides in the opera Le prophete by Giacomo Meyerbeer, and was the inspiration for Charles Gounod’s Sapho, and Dalila in Camille Saint-Saen’s Samson et Dalila. Madame Viardot-Garcia retired in 1862, after which she collaborated with the Russian composer to produce several operettas including Le dernier sorcier (1867) and L’ogre (1868). Pauline Viardot-Garcia was the mother of Louise Pauline Marie Heritte-Viardot, the vocalist, and of the violinist and composer Paul Viardot (1857 – 1914). Madame Viardot-Garcia died (May 8, 1910) aged eighty-eight, in Paris.

Vibia Perpetua      see      Perpetua, Vibia

Vibia Sabina       see      Sabina, Vibia

Vibulla Alcia Agrippina – (c80 – after 143 AD)
Roman patrician
Vibulla Alcia Agrippina was the wife of Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes, proconsul of Africa (died c144 AD). She was the mother of the famous philosopher and courtier, Herodes Atticus (c101 – 177 AD), the friend of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Philostratus recorded that Vibulla Alcia’s great wealth passed to her son at her death.

Vicario, Leona – (1789 – 1842)
Mexican war heroine
Leona Vicario was born in Mexico City (April 10, 1789) and became the wife of the nationalist activist Andres Quintana Roo. A firm supporter of both her husband and the Mexican War of Independence, apart from financial provisions, Madame Leona established her own system of private espionage within Mexico City to provide secret assistance to the nationalist rebels. She died (Aug 24, 1842) and was interred with Andre within the Independence Column monument in Mexico City.

Vichy, Diane d’Albon de Saint-Marcel, Comtesse de – (1716 – 1773)
French courtier and society figure
Born Marie Camille Diane d’Albon, she was the legitimate daughter of the Comte d’Albon, and his wife, Julie Claude Hilaire d’Albon, marquise de Saint-Fargeaux, and was the sister-in-law of Madame Du Deffand, the famous salonniere. Diane was also the foster sister of the famous salonniere Julie de Lespinasse. Diane d’Albon was married (1739) to Gaspard Nicolas de Vichy, Comte de Champrond (1695 – 1781). She visited Paris with her husband (1769) and they attended the king at the Palace of Versailles. The Comte and Comtesse received the philosopher Jean d’Alembert at their Paris Home, and he later paid his respects to the comtesse when she had travelled to Montpellier for her health (1770). Madame de Vichy died of dropsy. The truth of the exact relationship between her husband and her half-sister Julie will never be unravelled, but Diane remained the only member of the d’Albon family for whom Julie professed any affection, and in a surviving letter to Diane’s eldest son Abel, her nephew, she speaks of his mother’s being made to make great personal sacrifices in order to please people who were not sincerely attached to her.

Vichy-Champrond, Marie de     see    Deffand, Marquise du

Vickers, Dame Joan Helen – (1907 – 1994)
British politician, social reformer and peer
Joan Vickers was the daughter of Horace Cecil Vickers, and attended St Monica’s College at Burg Heath in Surrey. Vickers became a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party, and took up the cause of London’s prostitutes and streetwalkers. She served as president of the Status of Women Committee and of the International Friendship League, and was awarded the Netherlands Red Cross Medal. In recognition of her valuable public service she was created DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) (1974) and then a life peer as Baroness Vickers (1974 – 1994) by Queen Elizabeth II.

Victoire Louise Marie Therese de Bourbon – (1733 – 1799)
French princess
Princess Victoire was born (May 11, 1733) at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, the fifth daughter of King Louis XV (1715 – 1774) and his wife Marie Leszczynszka, the daughter of Stanislas I Leszcznszki, King of Poland. From 1739 – 1748 she was educated by the nuns of the abbey of St Marie at Fontevrault. When she returned to Versailles, aged fifteen, she was described thus by Mon. Barbier, “ This Princess is rather tall, well developed, rather stout, prettier than she was, fine eyes, dark hair, very lovely.” Her first official visit to Paris (1749) took place in the company of her ladies and the governor of Paris, the Duc de Gesvres. Plans for Victoire to become the second wife of Ferdinando VI, King of Portugal (1753), whose first wife was then believed to be dying, came to nothing as the princess refused to consider it, and Queen Maria Barbara lived on till 1758.
Victoire became involved in the organized resentment at court, led by her elder sister Adelaide against their father’s hated mistress, Madame Du Barry, and was part of the court cabal which led the disapproval against Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of their nephew Louis XVI. During their father’s last illness with smallpox, Victoire and her sisters Adelaide, Sophie, and Louise bravely and devotedly nursed the king, despite the risk of infection to themselves. After this the three sisters retired to their chateau of Bellevue. With her sister Sophie’s death (1782) Victoire inherited half of her estate. With the outbreak of the Revolution she and her sister remained with the royal family in captivity at the Tuileries Palace (1790 – 1791) before being permitted to return to Bellevue. With the connivance of King Louis and the queen’s favourite, the Count Fersen, the sisters managed to escape the country, on the pretext of a religious pilgrimage. They were received in Rome by Pope Pius VI, who granted them the use of the Carolis Palace.
The activites of the Napoleonic armies later led the princesses to Caserta, Naples, where Marie Antoinette’s sister, Queen Maria Carolina received them, and provided them with a palace in Trieste, and a suitable income. Princess Victoire died (June 7, 1799) aged sixty-six, at Trieste, and was interred in the cathedral there. With the Bourbon Restoration (1814) her remains were taken to France and interred in the royal abbey of St Denis, near Paris. Her portrait (1787 – 1788) by Adelaide Labille-Guiard is preserved in the Louvre Museum. Princesse Victoire was portrayed on the screen by actress Molly Shannon in the film Marie Antoinette (2006) with Kirstin Dunst in the title role and with Rip Torn as Louis XV and Asia Argento as Madame Du Barry. The princesse appears in the historical novels Louis the Wellbeloved (1959), The Road to Compiegne (1959), and Flaunting, Extravagant Queen (1956) by Jean Plaidy.

Victor, Katherine – (1923 – 2004)
American film actress
Born Katena Ktenavea (Aug 18, 1923), her film credits included Mesa of Lost Women and the horror classic Teenage Zombies. Katherine Victor died (Oct 22, 2004) aged eighty-one.

Victor, Sally Josephs – (1905 – 1977)
American milliner and fashionable designer
Sally Victor was born (Feb 23, 1905), and she established herself as a very successful businesswoman in New York, where she founded, organized, and administrated her own company, Sally Victor Incorporated for over three decades (1934 – 1967). Particularly noted for the patronage she received from both high society and the entertainment industry, Victor was the recipient of the Fashion Critics’ Millinery Award (1943). Sally Victor died (May 14, 1977) aged seventy-two, in New York.

Victoria, Alexandrina – (1819 – 1901)
Queen regnant of Great Britain and Ireland (1837 – 1901) and Empress of India (1876 – 1901)
Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent was born at Kensington Palace, London (May 24, 1819), the only child of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III, and his wife Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the widow of Prince Emich Charles of Leiningen, and sister to Leopold I, King of the Belgians (1831 – 1865). Victoria was brought up strictly, and in great seclusion at Kensington Palace by her mother, and the greatest influence during her early years was that of her governess, Louise Lehzen. With the death of her uncle, William IV (June 20, 1837), Victoria, then aged eighteen, succeeded as queen, though as the Salic Law prevented the succession of a woman in Germany, the throne of Hanover went to her uncle, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. During the very first years of her reign, the queen was much under the political influence and guidance of Lord Melbourne, but after her marriage to her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg (1840), and the birth of several children, Lehzen and Melbourne were replaced as mentors by her husband, who then became the dominant influence over her, a situation which would remain until his death. They were passionately devoted to each other, and produced nine children, all of whom survived.
Her husband’s influence was especially invaluable with foreign affairs, though his pursued policy of monarchic liberalisation was opposed by several of Victoria’s ministers, most notably Lord Palmerston. They used the marriages of their many children as a means of extending this political influence throughout Europe. Albert’s early death at Windsor Castle, from typhoid (Dec 14, 1861) shattered Victoria’s life, and she remained in almost complete seclusion at Windsor and Balmoral in Scotland, where she became reliant upon her husband’s former Scots servant, the gillie, John Brown, whose influence was detested both by her family, and by the courtiers. She remained absent from public affairs until 1864, refusing to allow her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, any part in public affairs. She emerged to open parliament (1866) and the Albert Hall, but then returned to her rather unhealthy seclusion, which made the monarchy terribly unpopular. It was only due to the incredible tact of Disraeli, and the near death of the Prince of Wales from typhoid (1871) that eventually induced her to resume her public duties. The proclamation of empress of India (1876) pleased her greatly, and secured Disraeli in her affections. For William Gladstone, who served as prime minister for several terms during her long reign, the queen had grudging respect, but no affection, though he was well liked by the Prince and Princess of Wales and their circle. The queen opposed many of his policies, in particular Home Rule for Ireland, and refused her consent to Gladstone’s plan for the Prince of Wales to travel to Dublin as viceroy. During the last two decades of her reign, Queen Victoria came to be associated in the public mind with Britain’s great achievements and technological advances, and this was borne out during the great public demonstrations and fetes organized to celebrate her Jubilee (1887) and Diamiond Jubilee (1897), which revealed the true extent of the public’s love and veneration for their long-serving sovereign. During her long reign of sixty-four years, the longest of any British monarch, the prestige of the crown was fully restored and came to symbolize public service and imperial unity. During her lifetime, the queen was a voluminous letter writer, and her correspondence has been edited and published.
Queen Victoria died (Jan 22, 1901) at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, aged eighty-one, having become almost blind during the last weeks of her life. She was interred beside her beloved husband, whom she had survived four decades and never ceased to mourn, at Frogmore in the grounds of Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Her family and dynastic connections were varied and considerable. Her eldest son Bertie became Edward VII (1901 – 1910), whilst her grandchildren included King George V (1910 – 1936), the German Kaiser Wilhelm II (1888 – 1918) and the ill-fated Russian tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, who perished during the revolution with her husband, Nicholas II, and their five children. Definitely not an intellectual, but racially tolerant and possessed of great personal shrewdness and common sense, Victoria also possessed a great firmness of will and did not hesitate to air her opinions on matters of policy, though she never acted against the advice of her ministers. She published two works of her own, which proved highly popular, Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands, from 1848 to 1861 (1869) and More Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands, from 1862 to 1882 (1884). She was memorably portrayed on the screen by Irene Dunne in the film The Mudlark (1951), and by Annette Crosbie in the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) series Edward VII (1975) with Timothy West in the title role. The queen was portrayed by Victoria Hamilton in the BBC film Victoria & Albert (2002), and by Emily Blunt in the film Young Victoria (2008).

Victoria of Baden – (1862 – 1930)
Queen consort of Sweden (1907 – 1930)
Born Princess Sophia Maria Victoria of Baden (Aug 7, 1862), she was the daughter of Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden and his wife Louise of Prussia, the daughter of the German Kaiser Wilhelm I. Her mother was sister to the short-lived Kaiser Friedrich III (1888), the son-in-law of Queen Victoria, and aunt to Kaiser Wilhelm II (1888 – 1918). Victoria became the wife of King Gustavus V of Sweden (1858 – 1950) by whom she was the mother of several sons, including King Gustavus VI Adolf (1882 – 1973). A talented dramatist and sculptor, the queen did not enjoy popularity in Stockholm due to her German background. This was exacerbated by the fact of her ill-health, which fact gained the queen some genuine sympathy, but which necessitated travelling to warmer parts of the world, and her absence from official functions. She visited northern Algeria and was received by the Khedive of Egypt (1893), who granted her all sorts of priveliges. The queen established a home for unwanted children in Stockholm, which was run by the Elizabeth Sisterhood. Queen Victoria died (April 4, 1930) aged sixty-seven, at Stockholm.

Victoria of Prussia – (1866 – 1929)
German princess
Born Princess Frederica Wilhelmina Amalia Victoria (April 12, 1866), at Potsdam, she was the second daughter of Emperor Frederick III (1888) and his wife Victoria, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain, and Albert, the Prince Consort. As a child she had the nickname ‘Moretta’ within the family. Her later attraction to Alexander of Battenberg, Prince of Bulgaria, which was favoured by her parents and by her grandmother, Queen Victoria, came to nothing due to the machinations of the German chancellor, Bismarck and her grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I, who did not favour the alliance. Also, Alexander himself had become infatuated with the Austrian opera singer Johanna Loisinger, whom he later married morganatically. Victoria attended her grandmother’s Jubilee celebrations in London (1887). Her marriage (1890) with Prince Adolf William of Schaumburg-Lippe (1859 – 1916), a minor and unimportant German prince, was arranged by the Kaiser, and remained childless. Adolf’s death at Bonn left Victoria a wealthy widow.
During WW I and the years that followed, Princess Victoria resided at Buckeburg on a pension paid by the German authorities. Her position there improved somewhat when Schaumburg was declared a free state (1922). A frequenter of fashionable society, the princess was later seduced by an adventurer thirty-five years her junior, Alexander Zubkov (1900 – 1936) who married her (1927), only to steal her fortune and then abandon her. Princess Victoria began divorce proceedings against Zubkov, but whilst these were pending, she died in poverty in Bonn, aged sixty-three (Nov 13, 1929), all her possessions being publicly auctioned to pay debts incurred by her second husband. She was interred at Friedrichshof Castle, near Kronberg. Her personal reminiscences entitled My Memoirs (1929) were published in Britain shortly before her death.

Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld     see   Kent, Victoria Maria Louisa, Duchess of

Victoria Adelaide of Holstein-Glucksburg – (1885 – 1970)
Last duchess consort of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1905 – 1918)
HH (Her Highness) Princess Victoria Adelaide Helena Louise Marie Frederica of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg was born (Dec 31, 1885) at Grunholz, the eldest daughter of Duke Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg and his wife Princess Caroline Mathilde of schleswig-Holstein, the daughter of Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein. She was the maternal niece of the Empress Augusta Victoria, the first wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (1888 – 1918). The princess was married (1905) to Prince Charles Edward (1884 – 1954), Duke of Albany (1884 – 1954) and Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1899 – 1954), the grandson of Queen Victoria and nephew of King Edward VII (1901 – 1910). The duchess bore her husband several children before he lost his throne (1918) and remained duke in title only, though he retained the some of the ducal estates as private property. Victoria Adelaide survived her husband as the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1954 – 1970). The duchess died (Oct 3, 1970) aged eighty-four, at Coburg Castle. Her five children bore the additional titles of duke or duchess of Saxony. They were,

Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa – (1840 – 1901)
German empress consort (1888) and letter writer
Princess Victoria was born in Buckingham Palace, London (Nov 21, 1840), the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Styled Princess Royal, she was very intelligent, and was her father’s favourite child. He gave her extensive training in political matters. Victoria, or ‘Vicky’ as she was always known in the family, was married (1858) to the future emperor Frederick III (1831 – 1888), and became the mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II and seven other children. She and her husband were both of a liberal outlook, though Vicky became unpopular in Prussia because of her English connections. However, their views were opposed by the chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who eventually became their avowed enemy. The death of her husband from throat cancer, after a reign of only ninety-nine days, dashed her political hopes, her son having fallen under the sabre-rattling influence of Bismarck. The empress suffered greatly during her last years, having developed cancer of the spine as the result of a horse riding accident. The Empress Frederick died at her castle of Friedrichshof, at Kronberg, near Berlin, aged sixty (Aug 5, 1901), her son being present during her last hours. She was interred with her husband at Potsdam. Her extensive correspondence with her mother was preserved and has been edited by Roger Fulford in two volumes entitled Dearest Child (1964) and Dearest Mama (1968). She was portrayed by actress Felicity Kendall in the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) series Edward VII (1975) and by Gemma Jones in the BBC series Fall of Eagles (1974). Her children were,

Victoria Alberta Elizabeth Matilda Mary – (1863 – 1950)
German-Anglo princess
Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt was born (April 5, 1863) at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, being the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse-Darmstadt (1877 – 1892) and his wife Alice, second daughter of Queen Victoria. She was married (1883) to her German cousin Louis of Battenberg (1854 – 1921), who later became (1917) the first Marquess of Milford Haven. Lady Milford Haven was the mother of Lord Louis Mounbatten (1900 – 1979), first Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was killed by terrorists, and was the paternal great-grandmother to Prince Charles, eldest son and heir of Queen Elizabeth II. Some of her correspondence has survived. Lady Milford Haven died (Sept 29, 1950) aged eighty-seven.

Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary – (1868 – 1935)
Princess of Great Britain
Princess Victoria was born at Marlborough House, London (July 6, 1868), the second daughter of Edward VII (1901 – 1910) and his wife Alexandra, the daughter of Christian IX, King of Denmark (1863 – 1906). She was named in honour of her paternal grandmother, Queen Victoria. Princess Victoria never married, and was known affectionately as ‘Toria’ within the family. As her mother always required her constant attendance, she selfishly refused to consider any possible marriage for her. There was talk that she might have married Sir Arthur Davidson, her father’s equerry, but her family deemed such a match impossible. It was then rumoured that the princess might marry the widowed Lord Rosebery, whose first wife died in 1890, which would have permitted her to remain near her mother, but this came to nothing. With her father’s death (1910) she remained her mother’s constant companion. This servitude only ended with Queen Alexandra’s death (1925), whereupon her favourite brother George V granted Victoria the first home of her own she had ever had, at Copping Iver in Buckinghamshire, and she was granted apartments in Kensington Palace. Known for her sharp tongue, she was detested by her nephew Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor), who referred to her as ‘that bitch.’ Princess Victoria died (Dec 3, 1935) aged sixty-seven, at Copping Iver, aged sixty-seven, her brother George V, surviving her barely six weeks. She was interred in the royal mausoleum at Frogmore in the grounds of Windsor Castle, in Berkshire. Princess Victoria was portrayed by actress Madeleine Cannon in the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) series Edward VII (1975) with Timothy West in the title role and Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria.

Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena – (1887 – 1968)
Queen consort of Spain (1906 – 1931)
Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg was born (Oct 24, 1887) at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the only daughter of Prince Henry of Battenberg, and his wife Princess Beatrice of Great Britain and Ireland, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901). She was the goddaughter of the former French empress, Eugenie, and was raised with her siblings at Balmoral, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Her marriage (1906) with Alfonso XIII, King of Spain, is said to have been arranged by the Empress Eugenie, and she converted to Roman Catholicism after intruction from the Bishop of Nottingham. Their wedding celebrations in Madrid were marred by a terrorist bomb which was thrown at the royal cavalcade, though no members of the royal family were harmed.
Prior to 1914 the queen bore six children. During WW I she worked tirelessly to reorganize and modernize the hospital nursing system, and established her own Red Cross hospital in Madrid. She sent Spanish nurses to England to be trained there, and remained ever popular with the Spanish. With the downfall of her husband (1931), Queen Victoria Eugenie left the country and travelled into exile by royal train and British warship. The king and queen settled at the Chateau Vielle Fontaine at Lausanne in Switzerland. The couple later seperated on amicable terms, and she was present at the king’s deathbed (1941). Victoria Eugenie survived Alfonso almost three decades as Queen Dowager (1941 – 1969). She was later granted a life annuity by the Spanish government (1955) and revisited Spain (1968) for the christening of her great-grandson, Prince Felipe. Her third son Juan, Conde de Barcelona, was the father of King Juan Carlos, who became king of Spain (1975) after the death of General Franco. Queen Victoria Eugenie died (April 15, 1969) aged eighty-one, at Lausanne. She is believed to have brought haemophilia into the Spanish royal family, which caused the deaths of her eldest son Alfonso, Conde de Covadonga (1907 – 1938) and of his youngest brother, Prince Gonzalo (1914 – 1934).

Victoria Feodora of Reuss – (1889 – 1918)
German princess
HSH (Her Serene Highness) Princess Victoria Feodora Agnes Leopoldine Elisabeth of Reuss was born (April 21, 1889), the elder daughter Heinrich XXVII, Prince of Reuss (1858 – 1928) and his wife Princess Elise of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the daughter of Hermann, sixth sovereign Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Her younger sister Princess Louise Adelaide of Reuss (1890 – 1951) remained unmarried. Victoria Feodora became the first wife (1917) of HRH (His Royal Highness) Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1873 – 1969) and became duchess consort of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1917 – 1918). The duchess died (Dec 18, 1918) aged twenty-nine, the day after the birth of her only child Duchess Woizlawa Feodora of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (born 1918) who later became the wife of her kinsman Prince Heinrich I of Reuss (born 1910) and left issue.

Victoria Louise Adelaide Mathilda Charlotte – (1892 – 1980) 
Prussian princess and memoirist
Princess Victoria Louise was born (Sept 13, 1892) at the Marmorpalais, Potsdam, the only daughter and youngest child of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1888 – 1918) and his wife Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein. Princess Victoria Louise was named Colonel-in-chief of the Second guards Hussar Regiment (1910) this position having previously been held by her British grandmother, the Empress Frederick, the daughter of Queen Victoria. In 1911 the zeppelin Viktoria Luise was named in her honour, as was a lavish ocean liner the Kaiserin. Her marriage (1913) in Berlin to Ernst Augustus, Duke of Brunswick (1887 – 1953) was attended by George V of Great Britain and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. With the abdication of her father (1918) the princess resided with her family at Brunswick.Initially impressed by Hitler’s polite exterior, the princess’s opinion of him quickly changed, and, at her father’s request, she refused to associate herself with him in any way. Her sons served with the German army during WW II, and the princess and her husband were forced to flee to the castle of Blankenburg where they remained until the arrival of the American troops. After the war the princess became concerned with the terrible plight of German children, and was actively involved with the Duchess Viktoria Luise Association, which branched into a world-wide charitable foundation. Widowed in 1953, her reminiscences entitled Memoirs of H.R.H. Viktoria Luise, Duchess of Brunswick and Luneburg, Princess of Prussia, were first published in 1965 and later translated into English (1970). Duchess Victoria Louise died (Dec 16, 1980) aged eighty-eight, at Brunswick.

Victoria Margaret of Prussia – (1890 – 1923)
Born Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria Margaret Elisabeth Marie Adelaide Ulrika (April 17, 1890), she was the only daughter of Prince Friedrich Leopold of Prussia (1865 – 1931), and his wife Princess Louisa Sophia of Schleswig-Holstein, who was the daughter of Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Augustenburg (1869 – 1880). She was the maternal niece of the Empress Augusta Victoria, the first wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Princess Victoria Margaret was married (1913) to HSH (His Serene Highness) Prince Heinrich XXXIII of Reuss (1879 – 1942), from the Younger Line of that sovereign princely family. She bore him two children. Princess Victoria Margaret died (Sept 9, 1923) aged thirty-three. Her children were,

Victoria Maria Louisa    see   Kent, Victoria Maria Louisa, Duchess of

Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes  see  Mary of Teck

Victoria Melita of Edinburgh – (1876 – 1936)
Russian grand duchess
Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh-Coburg was born (Nov 25, 1876) the second daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and his wife the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, the daughter of Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. She was the younger sister of Queen Marie of Romania, and was known as ‘Ducky’ by the family. The princess was married firstly (1894) at Darmstadt, to her cousin, Ernst Ludwig (1868 – 1937), the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, the wedding being attended by Queen Victoria. She bore Ernst Ludwig an only child, Princess Elisabeth (1895 – 1903) but the marriage remained unhappy, for her husband was blatantly homosexual. The couple travelled to England for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897).
Soon afterwards gossip conncected the Grand Duchess with her Russian cousin, Grand Duke Kyrill Vladimirovitch (1876 – 1938) and she and the Grand Duke was granted a divorce (1901), which created an uproar in royal circles. Tsar Nicholas II, urged on by his wife Alexandra, Ernst Ludwig’s sister, refused Kyrill and Victoria permission to marry, but they did so anyway (1902). The couple had two daughters and eventually returned to st Petersburg, where they resided with Kyrill’s mother, the Grand Duchess Marie. With the outbreak of the Revolution, the Grand Duke and duchess supported the new regime, but despite this, their estates, money, and servants were confiscated (1917). After the murder of the Imperial Family (1918), husband and wife fled across the Russian border into Finland, where their son Grand Duke Vladimir Kyrillovitch (1917 – 1992) was born. The couple later resided in St Briac, Brittany, and when Kyrill proclaimed himself Tsar of Russia, Victoria Melita supported his pretensions. Grand Duchess Victoria Melita died (Feb 19, 1936) aged fifty-nine, at Amorbach, Bavaria, and was buried at Coburg in Thuringia.

Vidalta, Franca di – (1173 – 1218)
Italian nun and saint
Franca di Vidalta was the daughter of the Count di Vidalta and resolved to choose the religious life from earliest inclinations.  With her father’s permission she was veiled as a nun at the convent of St Sirio at Placentia (1187) where she later was elected abbess and became famous for her religious austerities. Urban unrest later caused Franca to restablish her fifty nuns at Plectole under the Cistercian rule. Many young girl and widows joined her order. Her health weakened by her ascetism, Franca died after a serious illness (April 25 or 27, 1218). Revered as the patron saint of the town of Placentia, Franca is represented in religious art in a cellar with a cask, an allusion to the miraculous refilling of wine cask after the saint had drunk from it.

Vidjdan (Vicdan) – (c1837 – 1889)
Princess of Egypt
Vidjdan became the first wife (c1855) of Prince Muhammad al-Halim Pasha (1831 – 1894), to whom she bore eleven children, and received royal rank and styles. Princess Vidjan died in Cairo. Her children were,

Vidor, Florence – (1895 – 1977)
American actress
Born Florence Arto (July 23, 1895) in Houston, Texas, she was the daughter of a real estate agent. She attended secondary school but finished her education in a convent. A great beauty she attracted the attention of cinematographer King Vidor (1894 – 1982) who cast her in his first film (1915) and later married her. Her friendship with actress Corinne Griffiths led to Florence Vidor being given parts in film such as The Yellow Girl (1916) and Curfew at Simpton Center (1916). Florence Vidor first attracted attention in the historical classic A Tale of Two Cities (1917) and worked for Cecil B. De Mille but preferred to work under the direction of her husband who had established King Vidor Productions. Under his guidance Florence Vidor quickly became a leading actress of the silent film era. Her credits included The Family Honor (1920), Lying Lips (1921), Alice Adams (1924) which was remade a decade later by Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Frietchie (1924), The Grand Duchess and the Waiter (1926), The Patriot (1928) and The Magnificent Flirt (1928). She made only one sound film Chinatown Nights (1929) but the experience proved a negative one and she retired from the screen. She later divorced King Vidor and remarried to the violinist Jascha Heifetz but this marriage also ended in divorce. Florence Vidor died (Nov 3, 1977) aged eighty-two, at Pacific Palisades in California.

Viebig, Clara – (1860 – 1952) 
German writer and novelist
Clara Viebig was born in Eifel, Trier, and her married name was Cohn. Her writing style was much influenced by that of novelist Emile Zola, and her work Das schlafende Heer (The Sleeping Army) (1904), dealt with the lives of poor pesants under German rule. However, Viebig was best remembered for her novel which dealt with the life of domestic servant girl Das tagliche Brot (Our Daily Bread) (1900).

Vieira da Silva, Maria Elena – (1908 – 1992)
Portugese-French painter
Maria Elena Vieira da Silva was born (June 13, 1908) in Lisbon, Estramadura, and went to France (1928), where she studied sculpture under Antoine Bourdelle and Charles Despiau in Paris. She remained in France the most of the rest of her life. Maria Elena studied painting under Fernand Leger and Othon Friesz, and had her first exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher (1933). She later married (1930) to the Hungarian painter, Arpad Szenes, and with the outbreak of WW II the couple fled to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which produced murals for the University of Agriculture. Vieira da Silva returned to Paris after the war (1947), and maintained a studio in Lisbon. Vieira da Silva was a member of the School of Paris and her work was also influenced by the work of the American Abstract Expressionist school of New York. A retrospective of her work was held at the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon and at the Grand Palais in Paris (1988). Examples of her work were preserved in the Tate Gallery in London, at the museum of Modern Art in Paris, and at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam. She received the National Arts Prize of France (1966) and was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government (1966). Maria Elena Vieira da Silva died (March 6, 1992) in Paris.

Viel, Placida – (1815 – 1877)
French nun and saint
Born Victoire Eulalie Viel at Val-Vacher in Normandy, she was the daughter of a farmer. She never married and joined (1832) the Sisters of the Christian Schools at Sainte-Saveur-le-Vicomte under the guidance of the order’s founder, Marie Postel, when she adopted the religious name of Placida. Viel was appointeed as mistress of novices (1837) and later elected as superior general (1846) when Postel died. She continued in that position until her death thirty years later (March 4, 1877) aged sixty-one. During her period in office the order increased the number of daughter houses throughout France by almost seventy. Mother Viel also established three dozen schools for young girls throughout France. She was later beatified (1951).

Vien, Therese    see   Reboul, Therese

Vienne, Anne de – (c1259 – 1301)
French mediaeval heiress
Anne de Vienne was the elder daughter of Guy V (c1223 – 1269), Dauphin of Vienne and Albon, and his wife Beatrice of Savoy (1237 – 1310), who was later the wife of Gaston VII, Viscount of Bearn. Anne was married (1273) to Humbert I de La Tour-du-Pin (died 1307), whose own lands lay between Lyons and Grenoble. Anne’s younger brother Andrew died young, and this was followed by the death of her elder brother, Dauphin Jean I (1282) who had been unmarried. This left Anne and her younger sister Catherine as joint heiresses. When Catherine died unmarried (1286), Anne became the sole heiress, and all her properties and inheritance in the Dauphine passed to her husband. Her grandson Humbert II (1333 – 1349) was the last independent dauphin before selling his dominion (1349) to Charles of Valois, who, as King Charles V bestowed the Dauphine on his eldest son, the title being then borne by all succeeding eldest sons of the Kings of France. Her daughter Catherine de La Tour-du-Pin (c1295 – 1337), became the wife of Philip of Savoy (1278 – 1334), Count of Piedmont, and left issue. Anne de Vienne died (before Dec 31, 1301) aged about forty-two.

Vierzon, Jeanne de – (c1255 – 1296)
French mediaeval heiress
Jeanne de Vierzon was the daughter and heir of Herve III, Seigneur of Vierzon in Berry. She brought the fief of Vierzon to her husband, Godfrey of Brabant (c1254 – 1302), count of Louvain and Lord of Arschot, who held it in Jeanne’s right. It briefly passed to their son John, Lord of Mortagne (c1275 – 1302). He died childless soon after his father, being killed in battle, and Vierzon passed to Jeanne’s daughter Marie (c1279 – 1320), the wife of Walram II (c1250 – 1307), count of Juliers.

Vieu, Jane – (1871 – 1955)
French composer and pianist
Born with the Christian names Jeanne Elisabeth Marie, Jane composed around one hundred works, including piano pieces, chamber music, and operatic works, some of which were published using the pseudonym ‘Pierre Valette.’ Her operetta Arlette (1904) was first performed at the Theatre Royal in Brussels, and she later became the wife of the publisher Maurice Vieu, with whom she collaborated. Her teaching manual Dix lecons de solfege manuscrites achangemetn cles (1913) was dedicated to Gabriel Faure, the director of the Paris Conservatoire. Jane Vieu died (April 8, 1955) in Paris.

Vieu, Madame Louis Charles    see   Halt, Marie Robert

Vieux, Marie – (1917 – 1975) 
Haitian novelist, dramatist and author
Marie Vieux was born (Sept 16, 1917) in Port-au-Prince, and educated there at the Normal School for Girls. She was married firstly to Aymion Charlier and secondly to Mon. Chauvet. A teacher herself, Marie’s novels included Fille d’Haiti (1954), La danse sur le volcan (1957), Fonds-des-Negres for which she was awarded the prestigious France-Antilles Prize in 1960, and Colere et Folie (1968). Her play La Legende des Fleurs was published in Port-au-Prince (1949). She sometimes used the pseudonym ‘Colibri.’ Marie Vieux died in New York, USA.

Vigee-Lebrun, Elisabeth – (1755 – 1842)
French painter
Marie Elisabeth Louise Vigee was the daughter of a pastellist named Vigee, and married the art dealer Lebrun. She was taught painting by her father and received influences from the work of Jean-Baptiste Greuze. An attractive woman, possessed of great personal charm, Madame Vigee-Lebrun’s career began to climb when she was summoned to Versailles to paint a portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI (1779), as she became friend to the queen as well as official painter. Famous for her portraits of women and children, she established her own salon in Paris and was elected to the Academie Francais (1783). Vigee-Lebrun emigrated at the outbreak of the Revoution (1789), and travelled to Italy, Vienna, Prague, and Dresden, before settling in Russia for five years (1795 – 1800). Madame Vigee-Lebrun then resided two years in Berlin, Prussia, before finally receiving permission to return to France (1802), but found the new Napoleonic regime not to her taste and she resided in England and Switzerland before her second return to France (1805). She left memoirs entitled Souvenirs (1835 – 1837) which were published in Paris in three volumes and examples of her work survive, notably in the Wallace Collection in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Vigier, Comtesse de    see   Cruvelli, Jeanne Sophia Charlotte

Vigilantia – (c485 AD – after 565)
Byzantine Imperial matriarch and princess
Vigilantia was the daughter of Sabbatius and his wife Biglenzia, the sister of the Emperor Justin I (518 – 527). She was the sister of the Emperor Justinian I (527 – 565). She was married (c500) to the patrician Dulkidius and became the mother of emperor Justin II (565 – 578), of Marcellus (c513 – c582) who served as magister militium in the East (544) and in Thrace (562), and of a daughter Prajecta, who was married to Areobindus and to Johannes. Vigilantia was still living when her son ascended the Imperial throne after the death of her brother, and had herself had been instrumental in arranging for her son’s nomination for the succession. A statue of her may have stood in the harbour of Sophiae in later times, and she founded the church of St Prokopius, after persuasion from Antonina, the widow of the famous general Belisarius. She is mentioned in the Patria Constantinopolitana.

Vigilia – (c895 – 957)
Spanish concubine
Vigilia was the daughter of Sunario II, Count of Ampurias and Rousillon, and his wife Ermengarde. Vigilia never married but became the mistress of her kinsman Miron el Joven (c885 – 927), Count of Cerdagne. Vigilia bore Miron a son and four daughters. With the count’s death, Vigilia left the court and retired to a convent, probably that of San Juan de Ripoll, where her brother Ramon was abbot.

Vigilinda (Wigilinda) – (672 – after 690)
Italian duchess consort (c687 – 690)
Princess Vigilinda was born at Ticino, the daughter of Perctarit, King of Lombardy and his wife Rodelinda. She was married (c687) to Grimoald II (c667 – 690), Duke of Benevento (687 – 690) but their marriage remained childless and Vigilinda survived him. The chronicler Paulus Diaconus (Paul the Deacon) recorded her marriage in his Historia gentis Langobardorum where he referred to the princess as Wigilinda, soror Cunincperti, filia Perctarit regis.

Vignerot du Plessis, Marie Gabrielle Elisabeth – (1689 – 1770)
French nun
Marie Gabrielle Vignerot du Plessis was the youngest daughter of Armand Jean Vignerot du Plessis, second Duc de Richelieu, and his second wife Anne Margeurite d’Acigne. She was full sister to the infamous roue, Louis Francois, Duc de Richelieu (1696 – 1788). Marie Gabrielle never married and was veiled as a nun, being appointed as Abbess of Tresor, and later superior of Abbaye-aux-Bois.

Vigoreux, Marie – (1638 – 1679)
French poisoner and fortune-teller
Born Marie Vandon, Madame Vigoreux was arrested during the scandal of the infamous ‘Affaire of the Poisons’ (1679 – 1681) which involved the royal court at Versailles. She was interrogated, tried, and sentenced to death for providing poisons for women to remove unwanted husbands or inconvenient relatives. Marie Vigoreux was publicly executed in Paris (May 16, 1679).

Vigri, Caterina d’ – (1413 – 1463)
Italian painter, writer and nun
Caterina was born (Sept 8, 1413) into a patrician family in Bologna, the only child of Giovanni d’ Vigri, and his wife Benvenuta Mammolini. Caterina was placed at the court of the marquis Niccolo d’Este (1423 – 1424) at Ferrara as a child, and was raised in his household. Desiring to pursue the cloistered life, Caterina placed herself under the spiritusl guidance of the Augustinian nun, Lucia Mascheroni, who trained young women for the convent. It was during this time that she recalled her spiritual struggles in her work Libro delle Battaglie Spirituali e delle sette arme per vincerle (Spiritual Combats). Caterina’s nuns later adopted the rule of St Clara, but their rule was so strict that Pope Eugenius IV himself modified their austerities by papal decree (1446).
Caterina was chosen as superior (1456), and with several other nuns, removed to a new convent at Corpo di Cristo in Bologna, where they continued to follow the stricter Clarissan observances. She later resigned her office (1460), probably to care for her aged mother, whom Pope Julius II permitted to join the order, but was re-elected to office (1461), and died in office (March 9, 1463), aged forty-nine. The church venerated her memory on the anniversary of her death (March 9). Sometimes called St Catherine of Bologna, Caterina was a talented painter, being patron saint of the Academy of Painters in Bologna. She had been the pupil of artist Lippo Dalmasio, and a wood portrait of St Ursula (1452), signed by her was preserved in the Pinacoteca in Bologna. Her personal psalter survives, and her portrait, by Zucchini, is preserved in the Hercolani Collection, whilst another, which portrays Caterina, Jesus Christ, the Virgin, and saints Stephen and Lawrence, painted by Giulio Morina, is also preserved in the Pinacoteca.

Viidikas, Vicki – (1948 – 1998)
Australian poet and writer
Vicki Viidikas was born (Sept 25, 1948) in Sydney, New South Wales. She was influenced by such poets as Ken Bolton and John Tranter, and she travelled much abroad throughout India and Asia. Her collections of verse included Condition Red (1973), Knabel (1978) and India Ink: A collection of prose poems written in India (1984). Vicki Viidikas died (Nov 27, 1998) aged fifty.

Vijaya, Raden – (fl. c1300 – 1309)
Javanese queen
Vijaya was the daughter of Lembu Tal, and was the granddaughter of Narasimhamurti, king of Majapahit. She was married firstly to Kritarajasa Jayavardhana, King of Majapahit (ruled 1293 – 1309), and secondly to her cousin Prince Gayatri Rajapatni (died 1350). She was the mother of Queen Tribhvana (ruled 1329 – 1350).

Viktoria  see  Victoria

Viletrud – (c690 – c730)
Duchess consort of Bavaria
Viletrud (Biletrud, Piletrud) was married firstly to Duke Theodo I of Bavaria to whom she bore a son and successor, duke Odilo, and a daughter Swanhilda (Sunachildis) (born 707), the second wife of Charles Martel ‘the Hammer,’ the Carolingian duke of Austrasia. With Theodo’s death the duchess married secondly (717) to his brother and successor, Dukr Grimoald. She herself may have been related to the dukes of the Alemanni. Her adulterous second marriage aroused the ire of Corbinian, Bishop of Freising. Viletrud attempted to have the bishop killed, but he escaped to Meran (Andechs). Charles Martel invaded and conquered Bavaria, and killed Grimoald (722). The duchess was carried into captivity and immured within a convent, but Charles married her daughter Swanhilda (725). Her son Odilo remained in power but at the behest of his new Carolingian overlords.

Vilithuta – (fl. c550)
Gallo-Roman patrician
Vilithuta was born in Paris of a noble barbarian family. Orphaned in childhood, she was raised by her grandmother, and received a Latin education.Vilithuta was married to the nobleman Dagaulfus, and died from the effects of childbirth, aged only fifteen, the child dying with her. The poet Venantius Fortunatus composed the epitaphium Vilithutae in her honour, and it was preserved in his own Carmina.

Villacerf, Maria Josepha Caroline von Hohenfels, Marquise de – (1720 – 1797)
Bavarian royal
Maria Josepha von Hohenfels was the daughter of the Holy Roman emperor Charls VII Albert, elector of Bavaria, and his mistress Baroness von Haslang. Recognized by her father, she was legitimated and created Countess von Hohenfels (1726). The emperor arranged her marriage (1736) with her cousin Emanuel Francois de Bavarie, Marquis de Villacerf (1695 – 1747), who was himself the natural son of Max Emanuel, elector of Bavaria. The marquis was killed in battle (1747) and Maria Josepha never married, surviving him fifty years. The marquise left an only surviving child, Marie Amelie Caroline de Hohenfels de Baviere (1744 – 1820), who was marquise de Villacerf, and a grandee of Spain, and was married to the French peer, Armand Charles, marquis d’Hautefort de Surville.

Villafranca, Madamigella di    see   Savoia, Amadea Anna di

Villahermosa, Luisa de Borja, Duquesa de – (1520 – 1560)
Spanish grandee and abbess
Luisa de Borja was born (Aug 19, 1520) in Gandia, Aragon, the eldest daughter of Juan de Borja (1494 – 1543), third duque de Gandia and his wife Juana de Aragon. Through her father Luisa was the great-granddaughter of Pope Alexander VI (1492 – 1503), formerly Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (1431 – 1503), and was great-niece to Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Her mother was the illegitimate daughter of Ferdinand V (1452 – 1516), king of Aragon, and was therefore the half-sister to Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII of England. Thus Luisa was also first cousin to the English queen Mary I (1553 – 1558).
Luisa was possessed of an intensely religious nature, but ironically she was the only one of her father’s four daughters who did not enter a convent. She was married (1541) at Medina Sidonia to Martin de Aragon y Guerra (1525 – 1581), fourth Duque de Villahermosa, as his first wife. Because of her charity and religious piety she earned the popular epithet of ‘the Holy Duchess’ and was much beloved and respected by the people on that account. Duquesa Luisa had borne her husband eight children. The Duquesa de Villahermosa died (Oct 4, 1560) at Zaragoza, Aragon, aged forty. Her eldest son Juan Alfonso de Aragon y de Borja (1543 – 1573), Conde de Ribagorza died childest before his father. Her other sons included Ferdinand de Aragon y de Borja (1546 – 1592), who succeeded his father as fifth Duque de Villahermosa (1581 – 1592), and Francesco de Aragon y de Borja (1551 – 1622), who was Duque de Villahermosa and Duque de Luna, and left descendants. Of her daughters, Ana de Aragon y de Borja (born 1547) became the wife of Felipe Galceran de Castro de So, Visconde de Ebol, and Juliana de Aragon de Borja (born c1557) became the wife of Juan de Aragon, Conde de Ballobar (died 1598).

Villain, Jeanne – (fl. 1487)
French medical practitioner
Jeanne was the wife of Henri Villain of Fontvannes. She and her husband perfected an empiric for patients which proved so successful that at Troyes (1487) Jeanne was accused of using witchcraft and black magic in order to affect her cures.

Villamartin y Thomas, Isabel de – (c1822 – 1877)
Spanish poet
Isabel de Villamartin was born in Galicia, Catalonia, and became one of the early contributors of the famous Renaixenca cultural movement. She wrote devotional poetry such as ‘La creu de Cristo’ (Christ’s cross), and was awarded prizes for her work from the Joc Florals literary competitions. Villamartin’s other poems included ‘La font de la riquesa’ (The fount of wealth) (1865) and the collection entitled Horas crepusculares (Twilight hours) (1865). Her correspondence with Victor Balaguer, once wrongly credited as the author of Villamartin’s poem concerning the medieval poet Clemence Isaure, is preserved in Barcelona. Isabel de Villamartin y Thomas died at La Garriga, Barcelona.

Villapol, Nitza – (1923 – 1998)
Cuban cookery writer and television host
Nitza Villapol was born in New York, USA, the daughter of Cuban immigrants. She later returned to Cuba with her family (1922) and went to England in order to study nutrition at the University of London. Back in Cuba she published several books on Cuban cuisine Cocina criolla (1954) and Cocina al minuto (1958), which dealt with the everyday problems face with food shortages in a socialist society, and remained in print after her death. Villapol had her own cookery show on television for almost fifty years (1951 – 1997). Nitza Villapol died aged seventy-four.

Villars, Agnes de – (fl. c1170 – c1200)
French medieval heiress
Agnes de Villars was the daughter of Stephen II, Seigneur de Villars. She became the wife of Stephen I, seigneur de Thoire (living c1200). The marriage between Agnes and Stephen de Thoire combined these two important fiefs from the province of Ain. They were to remain united until Humbert VII (1342 – 1424), a descendant of Agnes’son, Stephen II de Thoyre-Villars (died c1248), sold these lands to the Duke of Savoy (1402).

Villars, Amable de Noailles, Duchesse de    see   Noailles, Amable Gabrielle de

Villars, Amable Angelique de – (1723 – 1771)
French royal, courtier and nun
Amable de Villars was born (March 18, 1723) the illegitimate daughter of Philippe II d’Orleans, Regent of France (1715 – 1723) and his mistresss, Amable Gabrielle de Noailles, the wife of Honore Armand, second Duc de Villars, and daughter of Adrien Maurice, Duc de Noailles. Though she was raised by her stepfather as his own child, and was given his name, the truth of her birth was wideley known. Amable was married (1744) to Guy Felix Pignatelli, Comte d’Egmond and Prince de Gavre. His early death (1753) left her a childless widow, and she took the veil as a nun with the order of the Sisters of Calvary in Paris. Despite her religious appointment, Amable retained her apartments in the Palace of Versailles, and she continued to attend the court of Louis XV. Amable de Villars died at Versailles (Sept 16, 1771), aged forty-eight.

Villars, Marie Gigault de Bellefonds, Duchesse de – (1624 – 1706) 
French letter writer
Marie Gigault de Bellefonds was the daughter of Bernardin Gigault de Bellefonds, and his wife Jeanne Especules de Sainte-Marie. She was married (1651) to Pierre, Marquis de Villars (1622 – 1698). Her husband was French ambassador to the Spanish court at Madrid, at the time of the marriage of King Carlos II to Marie Louise d’Orleans, the niece of Louis IV, and the marquise resided in Spain with him (1679 – 1681). Madame de Villars corresponded with Madame de Sevigne and Madame de Coulanges, and nearly forty of her letters, all addressed to Madame de Coulanges have survived, and were published in Lettres de Mme de Villars d’Mme de Coulanges (1762). Her husband was elevated to a dukedom before his death, when the marquise retired to become a Carmelite nun at the convent of the Grandes Carmelites in Paris. Madame de Villars became superior if this convent as Mother Agnes de Jesus Maria, and died in Paris. Her eldest son was the famous general Claude Louis Hector, Marechale and Duc de Villars (1653 – 1734).

Villars-Brancas, Louise Diane Francoise de Clermont-Gallerande, Duchess de – (1710 – 1788)
French courtier
A member of the private inner circle of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour at the court of Versailles, she was the daughter of Pierre Gaspard de Clermont-Gallerande (1682 – 1756), Marquise de Loudon and Baron de Merve, and his wife Gabrielle Francoise d’O. Louise was married firstly to Georges Jacques de Clermont (1689 – 1734), seigneur de Saint-Aignan, and secondly (1738) to Louis de Brancas, third Duc de Villars (1663 – 1739) as his second wife. She was childless by both marriages and was Dowager Duchesse de Villars-Brancas for five decades (1739 – 1789). The duchesse was mentioned in the Memoires of Madame du Hausset, the lady-in-waiting of Madame De Pompadour, who records that the duchesse was a member of the inner circle of the marquise and Louis XV.

Ville, Marie Anne de la – (fl. c1679 – after 1702)
French fortune teller
Madame de la Ville became involved in occult practices and sold talismans or luck charms, which were supposed to help with love affairs and gambling, and was consulted by Antoine de Pas, Marquis de Feuquieres, who was said to have been present when she attempted to conjure up Satan. Her customers included other important people attached to the court of Louis XIV at Versailles, and Marie was herself connected with the witch la Voisin and the infamous ‘Affair of the Poisons.’ She was arrested and imprisoned for life.

Villegarde, Sophie de Villeneuve-Flayosc, Comtesse de – (1752 – 1829)
French Bourbon courtier
Born Marie Elisabeth Sophie de Villeneuve-Flayosc (Jan 4, 1752), she was the eldest surviving daughter of Joseph de Villeneuve, Marquis de Flayosc, and his wife Pauline de Villeneuve-Vence, the daughter of Alexandre Gaspard de Villeneuve, Marquis de Vence. Sophie was a direct descendant, through her mother, of the famous letter writer and salonniere Madame de Sevigne. Sophie was married (1773) to Antoine Augustin Marie Calzamiglia, Comte de Villegarde (1750 – 1810) and bore him three children. The comtesse attended the court of Louis XVI (1774 – 1792) and Queen Marie Antoinette at Versailles. The comtesse went so far as to address a letter to the king in which she implored him to interfere to prevent her husband dissipating the family fortune. Madame de Villegarde survived the horrors of the Revoution and subsequent emigration abroad. With the advent of the Napoleonic era she resided on uneasy terms with her husband, whom she survived (1810 – 1829) as Dowager Comtesse. Madame de Villegarde died (Feb 5, 1829) at Nice, aged seventy-seven. She left three children,

Villegas, Micaela – (1748 – 1819)
Peruvian stage actress
Popularly known as ‘La Pericholi,’ she was born Maria Micaela Villegas Hurtado (Sept 28, 1748) in Lima, and was baptized in the cathedral there, the daughter of Don Jose Villegas. A famous singer and entertainer, she became the established mistress of Manuel de Amat y Juniet, the Viceroy of Peru (1761 – 1776) and was the mother of his son, Manuel de Amat y Villegas, who signed the Peruvian declaration of independence from Spain (1821). Micaela and her lover were important characters in Thornton Wilder’s work The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and her life formed the basis of the film Le Carosse d’or (The Golden Coach) (1953) by Jean Renoir. Micaela Villegas died (May 16, 1819) aged seventy.

Villemonble, Stephanie Le Marquis de (Etiennette) – (1737 – 1806)
French courtier
Stephanie de Villemomble was born at Dinan in Brittany. She was married and later became the mistress of Louis Philippe I de Bourbon (died 1785), Duc d’Orleans, cousin to Louis XV and father of Duc Philippe II Egalite of Revolutionary fame. Stephanie had born the Duc d’Orleans three children, whom he recognized and supported, and her sons were later legitimated by Louis XVIII (1815). She survived the horrors of the Revolution and died during the reign of Napoleon I. Her sons were Louis Etienne de Bourbon (1759 – 1825), created Comte de Saint-Phar, and Louis Philippe de Bourbon (1761 – 1829), created Comte de Saint-Albin. Her daughter, Marie Etiennette Perrine d’Auvilliers (1761 – before 1815), was styled Madame de Villemonble prior to her marriage (1778) with Comte Francois de Brossard (died 1810). Stephanie Villemomble died (Feb 9, 1806) aged sixty-eight, in Paris.

Villena, Isabel Leonora de – (1430 – 1490)
Spanish writer
Born Elionor Manuel in Valencia, she was the illegitimate daughter of writer Enrique de Castile (1378 – 1434), Marques de Villena, the last legitimate descendant of the ancient royal house of Barcelona. She was the paternal granddaughter of Pedro de Castile (1362 – 1385), Marques of Villena, and his wife Juana Enriquez de Castilla, the illegitimate daughter of Enrique II, King of Castile. Her elder sister Beatriz died during childhood. When she became a Franciscan nun (1445) she adopted the name of Isabel de Villena, and later ruled as abbess of the convent of the Trinity (La Trinidad) in Valencia. She wrote, Vita Christi (the life of Christ) (1487), for the benfit of the sisters under her rule and died in Valencia. Her successor in office, Abbess Aldonca de Montsoriu printed a copy of the work for Queen Isabella I.

Villeneuve, Julie Marie de – (1800 – 1837)
French translator
Julie Marie de Villeneuve de Flayosc was born (Dec 12, 1800) at Lorgues, the eldest daughter of Leonce, vicomte de Villeneuve-Flayosc and his wife Felicite Rey de Taradeau, the daughter of Joseph Rey de Tarandeau. She remained unmarried. Julie was a descendant of the famous letter writer and salonniere Madame de Sevigne (1626 – 1693). Julie was a lady of remarkable intelligence and learning. She received an excellent education in the classics, being fluent in Latin, and translated into French many passages of the Roman poet Ovid. Julie de Villeneuve died (Sept 14, 1837) aged thirty-six, at Lyons in Burgundy.

Villeneuve, Rosseline de – (1263 – 1329)
French saint
Rosseline de Villeneuve was born in Provence, the daughter of Armand de Villeneuve, Baron des Ares and his wife Sibylla de Sabran, who was related to St Elzear de Sabran and his wife Delphine. Her parents opposed her desire for the religious life until Bishop Josselin of Orange interceded with them on her behalf. Rosseline was placed in the convent of St Andre des Ramieres, near Valois, of the order of Chartreuses (1276), where she supervised the running of the convent kitchen. She was later consecrated as a deaconess (1288) before properly entering the Chartreux convent at Bertauld in Provence. There she resided until her family built the monastery of Celle Roubaud, commonly known as ‘Sobrives,’ near les Ares, and here she removed, living under the rule of her aunt, whom she later succeeded as prioress (1300). Rosseline died three decades later (Jan 17, 1329). She was never canonized but her saintly worship was of long tradition (Oct 16). Her translation (1334) was commemorated (June 11) and she is regarded as the patroness of the Carthusian monks and of the Order of Malta. Her cult was officially confirmed (1851).

Villeneuve-Arifat, Aymardine Aglae de Nicolay, Marquise de – (1773 – 1852)
French Bourbon courtier, émigré and memoirist
Aymardine de Nicolay was the daughter of a Parisian magistrate and attended her mother’s literary salon. With the eruption of the Revolution (1789) her family withdrew from Paris to the suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The marquise survived the ensuing horrors and was later married Maurice Jean, Marquis de Villeneuve-Arifat. She later resided in Toulouse and later wrote her own memoirs of the revolutionary period entitled ‘Souvenirs d’enfance et de jeunesse de la marquise de Villeneuve-Arifat’ which were posthumously edited and published in the Revue des etudes historiques (1901).

Villeroy, Madeleine de L’Aubespine de    see    L’Aubespine, Madeleine de

Villette, Renee Philiberte Rouph de Varicourt, Marquise de – (1757 – 1822)
French salonniere and letter writer
Renee Philiberte de Varicourt was the wife of Charles, Marquis de Villette (1736 – 1793). Madame de Villette is mentioned in the correspondence of the British antiquarian Horace Walpole, and she attended the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at Versailles with her husband. She survived the horrors of the Revolution and so did her correspondence which has been edited and published.

Villiers, Barbara – (1640 – 1709) 
English courtier
Barbara Villiers was born (Nov 27, 1640) in London, the daughter of William Villiers, second Viscount Grandison and his wife the Hon. (Honourable) Mary Bayning, the daughter of Paul, first Viscount Bayning. She was married (1659) to Roger Palmer. Red-haired and extremely attractive, but promiscuous, she became the mistress of Charles II soon after the Restoration (1660), whereupon he created her husband Palmer Earl of Castlemaine (1661) and she was appointed as lady-in-waiting to Queen Catharine of Braganza. She converted to Roman Catholicism (1663) but her private life remained as scandalous as ever, and she made large amounts of money at court through perferments and the sale of court posts.
King Charles later created her Countess of Southampton and Duchess of Cleveland (1670), but though her continued to receive her at court until his death (1685), and to provide for their numerous children, Barbara was superseded in his affections (1674) by Louise de Keroualle, the French duchess of Portsmouth. Her lovers included the dramatist William Wycherley and the young John Churchill, later the famous Duke of Marlborough, who probably fathered her youngest child Barbara Fitzroy (1672). Barbara later resided in Paris, where she was later tricked into bigamous marriage with Beau (Robert) Fielding, when aged sixty-five (1705). He treated her with criminal violence, and this embarrassing union was later annulled (1707). Barbara died (Oct 9, 1709) aged sixty-nine, at Chiswick, near London. Barbara Villiers left seven children, six of which were acknowledged by Charles II of his. Through them Barbara was ancestress of the important ducal families of Cleveland, Grafton, and Northumberland.

Villiers, Elizabeth – (1657 – 1733) 
British courtier
Elizabeth Villiers was the daughter of Colonel Sir Edward Villiers, of Richmond in Surrey, and his wife Lady Frances Howard, the daughter of Theophilus Howard, second Earl of Suffolk. Elizabeth was cousin to Babara Villiers the mistress of Charles II, whilst her mother was governess to Mary and Anne, the daughters of James II. Elizabeth and her sister Anne accompanied Mary Stuart to the Dutch court at The Hague, after her marriage with William II (1677). Nimble-minded and witty, but considered no beauty she became the mistress of King William III (1688 – 1702) though their relationship produced no children. She accompanied the queen to England (1689) where her liasion with William continued. This was the cause of much distress to Queen Mary, and because of a cast in her eye, Elizabeth was popularly referred to as ‘Squint-eyed Betty.’
William granted considerable estates in Ireland to Elizabeth which had formerly belonged to James II, though these grants were later revoked by the parliament (1699). With the queen’s death (1694) William arranged for Elizabeth to be married (1695) to George Hamilton (1666 – 1737), who was created earl of Orkney (1696) in recognition of Elizabeth’s services to the crown. Jonathon Swift was impressed by her mental capacities, though not by her looks, and she was consulted by Sir Robert Harley during the later government crisis (1709 – 1710) during the reign of Queen Anne. She attended the coronation of George II (1728) where Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu left a cuttingly unkind description of her appearance at this event. Elizabeth Villiers died (April 19, 1733) aged seventy-five, in London. Her three surviving daughters by Hamilton were,

Villiers, Frances Howard, Lady – (c1629 – 1677)
English Stuart courtier
Lady Frances Howard was the daughter of Theophilus Howard, second Earl of Suffolk. She became the wife (c1653) of Sir Edward Villiers (1620 – 1689), of Richmond, Surrey, a connection of the notorious Barbara Villiers, as his first wife. Lady Frances was appointed to serve at court as governess to the princesses Mary and Anne, daughters of James, Duke of York and Anne Hyde, and nieces to King Charles II. Her own children were reared at court, together with her royal charges, and made splendid marriages. Lady Frances Villiers was buried (Nov 27, 1677) in Westminster Abbey, London. She left eight children,

Villiers, Margaret Elizabeth     see    Jersey, Countess of

Villiers, Victoria Alexandrina Innes-Ker, Lady – (1877 – 1970)
British courtier
Lady Victoria Innes-Ker was born (Nov 16, 1877), the second daughter of Sir James Innes-Ker (1839 – 1892), seventh Duke of Roxburgh, and his wife Lady Anne Emily Spencer-Churchill, the daughter of John Winston, seventh Duke of Marlborough. Queen Victoria stood sponsor at her christening and she was married (1901) to Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Hyde Villiers (1861 – 1947), of the family of the earls of Clarendon. Lady Villiers attended the courts of Edward VII (1901 – 1910) and Queen Alexandra, and that of George V (1910 – 1936) and Queen Mary. Victoria survived her husband for over twenty years as the Dowager Lady Villiers (1947 – 1970). Lady Victoria died (May 22, 1970) at Liss, Hantshire, aged ninety-two. She left six children,

Villoing, Therese   see  Lachmann, Therese Pauline Blanche

Vilmorin, Louise de – (1902 – 1969)
French writer
Born Louise Leveque (April 4, 1902) at Verriers-le-Buisson, Essone, into a patrician family, after marriage Madame de Vilmorin published several collections of verse including Le Retour d’Erica (Erica’s Return (1948) and La Lettre dans un taxi (The Letter in a Taxi) (1960). Louise Vilmorin died (Dec 26, 1969) aged sixty-seven, at Verriers-le-Buisson.

Vincent, Naomi – (1813 – 1835)
American actress
Naomi Vincent became the protégé of theatrical entrepeneur Thomas Hamblin, and made her stage debut in Philadelphia (Feb, 1832). She then appeared at Hamblin’s Bowery Theatre in New York, where her talent received critical acclaim, though her beauty was considered less than remarkable. Throughout 1832 Naomi and her fellow actress Josephine Clifton appeared together in double bills in New York, before Clifton left America to pursue her career in England. Hamblin and his wife had officially seperated (1832), and Naomi became his mistress by the summer of 1834. The couple then resided together after Mrs Hamblin was granted a divorce in that year. The court forbade the couple to marry, but Hamblin continued to manage Naomi’s theatrical career. Naomi Vincent died in childbirth (July, 1835).

Vining, Elizabeth – (1902 – 1999)
American educator and author
Elizabeth Gray was born in Philadelphia into an old Quaker family. She attended school in Germantown before going on to Bryn Mawr College. Of tall and commanding appearance she was married (1929) to Morgan Vining, a university director. There were no children and she was left a widow only a few years afterwards (1933) when Vining was killed in a car accident. She never remarried and wrote books for juveniles and adults. After WW II, Mrs Vining was engaged as a tutor for the Crown Prince Akihito the son and heir of the Emperor Hirohito of Japan (1946) whom she schooled in American history and culture for weekly one hour sessions. She published the memoir Being Seventy: The Measure of a Year (1978). Elizabeth Vining died (Nov 27, 1999) aged ninety-seven.

Vinson-Owen, Maribel Yerxa – (1911 – 1961)
American figure skater and instructor
Maribel Vinson was born (Oct 12, 1911) in Winchester, Massachusetts. She attended Radcliffe College whilst simultaneously continuing her amateur ice-skating career which had begun in childhood. She was the nine times winner of the Women’s Singles title at the US Figure Skating championships, and she won various pair skating championships in the US. She won the bronze medal at the 1932 Winter Olympic Games held at Lake Placid where she competed with Sonja Henie. Maribel Vinson retired from figure skating and became a sportswriter. She was married to the Canadian skater Guy Owen, whose surname she adopted, and to whom she bore two daughters. After this she returned to the skating circuit as a coach, and she trained her daughters in the sport. Her famous pupils included Olympic gold medal winner Tenley Albright and Frank Carroll. Maribel published various training manuals such as Primer of Figure Skating (1938) and Advanced Figure Skating (1940). Vinson-Owen became the coach of the American team due to compete in the World Ice Skating Championships in Prague in Czechoslavakia. The plane carrying the team and their relatives and friends cashed into farmland near Berg in Belgium (Feb 15, 1961) and everyone was killed including Maribel and her two daughters. She was posthumously inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame (1976).

Vintimille, Pauline Felicite de Mailly-Nesle, Marquise de – (1712 – 1741)
French courtier, mistress of Louis XV (1715 – 1774)
Pauline de Mailly-Nesle was born (Aug, 1712), the second daughter of Louis de Mailly, Marquis de Nesle. With her mother’s death (1729) her stepgrandmother, the Duchesse de Mazarin placed Pauline in the Abbey of Port Royal to be raised and educated, being known as Madamoiselle de Nesle. Pauline was later brought to the court of Versailles (1739) by her elder sister, the Comtesse de Mailly, the first mistress of Louis XV, whose position she usurped. The king arranged for her marriage (1739) with Jean Baptiste Felix de Luc, Marquis de Vintimille (1720 – 1777) which was performed by the Archbishop of Paris. However during the ensuing wedding night celebrations, the marquis discreetly withdrew and the King replaced her in the bedchamber.
Madame de Vintimille’s arrogance and unspokenness endeared her to the king, who admired her alert mind, but she made her prescence obnoxious to the queen, Marie Leszczynska by requesting favour from her. She was possessed of little beauty, one of her own sisters describing her as having, ‘… the figure of a grenadier, the neck of a crane and the smell of a monkey.’ Her portrait was painted by Jacques Andre Aved. The marquise became pregnant with the king’s child and prepared for her confinement at Choisy. When she became ill Louis sent a litter to convey her to the palace of Versailles. Madame de Vintimille died there (Sept 10, 1741) aged twenty-nine, from the effects of childbirth. She appears in the historical novel Louis the Wellbeloved (1959) by Jean Plaidy. Her son Louis de Bourbon (1741 – 1814) was recognized by the king and popularly known as ‘le demi-Louis’ because of his close resemblance to the king. He was later created Comte de Luc, was married (1764) to Marie Margeurite de Castellane-Esparre (died 1770), and left descendants. His daughter-in-law, Marie Gabrielle Artois de Levis, the wife of his son, Charles Felix de Bourbon (1765 – 1806), Comte de Vintimille de Luc, perished with great courage under the guillotine during the Terror of Robespierre (1794).

Vinyes Olivella, Celia – (1915 – 1954)
Spanish Catalan poet and children’s writer
Celia Vinyes was born in Lleida and was raised in Palma, Majorca. She attended the Universidad Central in Barcelona and later lectured in Spanish literature at the Instituto Nacional de Ensenanza Media in Almerica. She was married (1953) to Arturo Medina, who later edited her work. Celia returned to teaching with the end of the Civil War (1939) and fiercely retained her Catalan loyalty, despite the disapproval of the Franco government. Her most admired work was, Palabra sin voz (Word without voice) (1953) and her devotional poems included ‘El alma : Semana Santa’ (‘ The soul : Holy week’) (1946) and ‘Canto alegre al Senor’ (‘Happy song to the Lord’) (1952). Her popular children’s stories included Cuento de la Paverita (Paverita’s story) and El primer boton del mundo (The first button of the world). Celia Vinyes died in Almeria.

Viola, Emilia Ferretti     see    Emma (1844 – 1929)

Viola Asenina – (c1190 – 1251)
Polish ruler
Viola Asenina was the daughter of Ivan I Asen, Tsar of Bulgaria, and became the wife (c1205) of Kasimir I, Duke of Oppeln in Silesia (1198 – 1230). Viola bore four children before Kasimir’s early death, and from then on she ruled Oppeln as regent for their eldest son Duke Mieszko II (c1213 – 1246). She relinquished power to her son in 1241, and became a nun, perhaps at the Praemonstratensian abbey of Czarnowanz.

Viola, Emilia Ferretti     see    Emma (1844 – 1929)

Violante Manuel – (1265 – 1314)
Infanta of Castile and Portugal
Violante Manuel was the daughter of Infante Juan Manuel, Duque of Pennafield and Escalona, and his first wife Constanza, the daughter of James I, King of Aragon (1213 – 1276). She was married (1287) to the Infante Alfonso of Portugal (1263 – 1312), lord of Portalegre, the younger son of King Alfonso III (1248 – 1279). Violante held the lordships of Elda, Novelda, and Medellin, and half of the Pennafiel estates as her dower, after the death of her husband, whom she survived for only eighteen months. Infanta Violante was interred in the Dominican monastery in Lisbon. Her five children were,

Violante of Aragon (Yolande) (1) – (1237 – 1301)
Queen consort of Castile (1252 – 1284)
Infanta Violante of Aragon was the daughter of Jaime I the Conqueror, King of Aragon (1213 – 1276), and his second wife Violante of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary (1205 – 1235). Infanta Violante was betrothed from early childhood (1241) to Alfonso X the Wise (1221 – 1284), King of Castile (1221 – 1284). This marriage took place at Vallodolid (1249) and Queen Violante bore Alfonso six sons and four daughters including his successor Sancho IV. Her first child was not born until four years after the marriage and the Cronica de Alfonso X recorded that there was some concern over Violante’s initial ability to bear children. During the revolt of her brother-in-law Enrique against Alfonso (1256) the queen appealed to her Aragonese relatives for help in order to preserve the inheritance of her sons. Enrique had attempted to gain the hand of Violante’s sister Constanza in marriage but the queen vehemently opposed the union as it challenged her husband’s claim to the Castilian throne, and therefore her own position. Queen Violante travelled to visit her father at Catalayud, taking her two sons with her and successfully appealed to her father to withdraw his involvement. The towns of Estramadura later appealed to the queen at the assembly of Seville (1264) to intercede on their behalf with the king concerning their taxes.
With the death of her eldest son Ferdinando (1275) Violante’s next son Sancho became his father’s heir. The royal family was split over this issue as Ferdinando left infant sons who were thus disinherited. Her subsequent actions make it plain that the queen decided to support the claims of Sancho, then a grown man, over those of her infant grandsons (1277 – 1278). Once she had decided upon this course of action Violante provided Sancho with her loyal and unwavering support and even took his side against his father during a later civil war (1282). Violante then presided over the assembly at Vallodolid in the same year which named Sancho as the rightful king of Castile. Violante survived her husband as Queen Dowager (1284 – 1301) and later retired to Navarre. Several of her letters have survived as have several of her charters issued in her own name. The queen interevened on several occasions to mediate between the city of Vallodolid and the Friars Minor and the Dominicans. Queen Violante later retired from the Castilian and court and died at Roncesvalles in Navarre. Her children were,

Violante of Aragon (2) – (1310 – 1353)
Queen consort of Romania
Infanta Violante was born (Oct, 1310) in Barcelona, the fourth daughter and youngest daughter of Jaime II, King of Aragon (1291 – 1327) and his second wife Blanche of Anjou, the daughter of Charles II, King of Naples. She was the younger sister of King Alfonso IV (1327 – 1336) and aunt to King Pedro IV (1336 – 1387). Her mother died at her birth and the infant princess was raised in the household of Constance of Hohenstaufen, Empress of Byzantium at Valencia until that lady’s death (1313). After this the empress’s daughter the Princess Vataca Vatatzina (Violante of Greece) became the governess of the royal children. Violante was married firstly (1329) to Philip of Taranto (1297 – 1330), the Despot of Romania, whom she survived as Queen Dowager of Romania (1330 – 1339). There were no children. Queen Violante was then remarried (1339) at Lerida, to a Spanish nobleman Lope de Luna (died 1360), Seigneur de Segorbe. According to the Spanish chronicler Zurita this was the first time that a grandee had been permitted to marry the legitimate daughter of a reigning sovereign. Queen Violante was living at Pedrola (July 17, 1353) and died soon afterwards. With her death Count Lope was remarried to Dona Brianda d’Agoult, great-niece of Pope Clement V, who bore him two daughters of whom the eldest Maria Lopez de Luna, the first wife of King Martin I of Aragon.

Violante of Bar – (1365 – 1431)
Queen consort of Aragon (1387 – 1395)
Princess Yolande of Bar was the eldest daughter of Robert I, Duke of Bar and his wife Princess Marie of France, the daughter of King Jean II (1350 – 1364). Considered a beauty she was desired in married by the Spanish Infante Juan (1351 – 1395), the widowed Duque of Girona, the son and heir of King Pedro IV of Aragon (1336 – 1387). They were married at Montpellier in Languedoc (Feb, 1380) despite the strong disapproval of the union evinced by King Pedro. Great rejoicings heralded the birth of a son and heir the Infante Jaime (March, 1384) and the duquesa in her letters described him as ‘my and my lord Duke’s very dear son.’ Both the Duque and the Duquesa de Girona were generous patrons of the troubadours of the period, as well as men of letters. They both withdrew from the court of King Pedro after they openly quarrelled with Juan’s stepmother, Queen Sibylla de Fortia, and this led to further dissensions within the royal family. The duquesa suffered a miscarriage after exerting herself at a court ball (1386). When Duque Juan became gravely ill (1387) King Pedro desired his grandson Jaime to be separated from Violante and delivered into his custody. Only the duque’s recovery prevented this separation from taking place. With the death of Pedro a few months later the duque succeeded to the throne as King Juan I (1387 – 1395) and Violante was crowned as queen consort.
Almost immediately Queen Violante urged Juan to persecute his widowed stepmother, the unpopular Sibylla de Fortia, who was imprisoned and had her property confiscated. The death of her son Jaime was a great personal grief to her, and his death was followed by that of several others of her infant children. There is a record of the queen imploring the prior of the monastery of Scala Dei to pray that she might bear a healthy son (April, 1395). After the death of her last child (1396) Queen Violante sent a letter to her cousin the King of Navarre in which she described herself as ‘full of grief and sadness, lasting all day.’ With the death of King Juan (May 19, 1395), the queen was pregnant with a possible male heir. However the child proved to be a girl (April, 1396) and ineligible for the crown and all the political importance which had become attached to Violante as the mother of a possible future heir evaporated, and she was quickly relegated to the position of a minor figure at the court. Violante held the position of Queen Dowager of Aragon for almost forty years (1395 – 1431). Little is recorded of her long widowhood save that her vendetta against Sibylla de Fortia remained unremitting, and that she much resented the fact that Queen Sibylla was formally reinstated at court as Queen Dowager (1407), which gave her precedence over Queen Violante. Queen Violante died (July 3, 1431) aged sixty-five, at Barcelona. She was interred within the Abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet in Tarragona. Through her daughter Queen Yolande of Naples Violante was the great-grandmother of Margaret of Anjou, the wife of Henry VI, King of England. Her children were,

Violante of Hungary (Yolande) – (1214 – 1251)
Queen consort of Aragon (1235 – 1251)
Princess Violante was the daughter of Andrew II, King of Hungary (1205 – 1235) and his second wife Yolande, the daughter of Pierre II of Courtenay, Emperor of Constantinople. Violante was betrothed to James I of Aragon (1208 – 1276) as his second wife, through the mediation of Pope Gregory IX (1234). She was accompanied to Spain by Bartholomew, Bishop of Cincoiglesias, and was married to the king at Catalonia (1235). Her dowry included rights to the county of Namur, but these territorial claims were never made good.
King James granted Violante his mother’s inheritance of Montpellier as her dowry, as well as the estates of Conflant, Cerdagne, Valespir, and Calibro. Considered a great beauty, Violante captivated her amorous husband for some years, and bore him eleven children. The queen was not popular in Aragon, as the king favoured her sons in preference to his eldest son Alfonso, by his first wife, Leonor of Castile, from whom he had been divorced. Also she is known to have encouraged the seperatist policy oursued by the king in later years. Queen Violante died (Oct, 1251) aged thirty-seven, at Santa Maria de las Calas, Huesca. She was interred in the Cistercian monastery of Vallbona. Her children were,

Violante Beatrice of Bavaria – (1673 – 1731)
Grand Princess consort of Tuscany
Princess Violante Beatrice was born (Jan 23, 1673), the daughter of Elector Ferdinand of Bavaria, and his wife Adelaide Henrietta of Savoy. She became wife of Ferdinando de Medici (1663 – 1713), but their marriage remained childless. Her sister Maria Anna Christine of Bavaria was the wife of Dauphin Louis, the eldest son of Louis XIV. Her marriage (1689) to Ferdinando, the heir apparent of Grand Duke Cosimo III of Tuscany, had been organized to strengthen the Medici relations with the Bourbon dynasty in France. She was not permitted to bring any German attendants with her to Florence, but was granted permission to bring two Turkish children, whom she had baptized and educated in the Catholic faith. Her marriage remained childless, but despite Ferdinando’s subsequent neglect of her, the princess remained ever popular with the Florentine populace for her kindly and generous nature. Violante acted as official hostess for Grand Duke Cosimo during the visit of Frederik IV of Denmark to Florence (1709). During her husband’s illness and death from syphilis, the princess nursed him with devoted affection and tenderness, forgiving his former ill-treatment of her.
As Dowager Princess of Tuscany (1713 – 1731) her father-in-law granted her apartments in the Pitti Palace, and gave her the Lappeggi Palace for her own use. There she established her own literary salon, and patronised poet and writers such as Bernardino Perfetti, Ghivizzani and Morandi. She was appointed governor of Siena by her brother-in-law, Grand Duke Gian Gastone, and acted as his official hostess in Florence. Violante later visited the court of Pope Benedict XIII in Rome (1725), and resided at the Madame Palace during her visit. Princess Violante Beatrice died (May 29, 1731) aged fifty-eight, in Florence, and was interred in the church of San Lorenzo there.

Violante Margarita of Savoy – (1635 – 1663)
Duchess consort of Parma
Princess Violante Margarita was born (Nov 15, 1635), the daughter of Vittorio Amadeo I, Duke of Savoy, and his wife Christine Marie de Bourbon, the daughter of Henry IV, King of France (1589 – 1610). The princess was originally offered as a bride to the elector Ferdinand Maria of Bavaria, but he eventually married her younger sister instead. From (1658 – 1660) she was involved in negotiations to make her the bride of Louis XIV of France (1643 – 1715), but these plans were little more than political posturings between Cardinal Mazarin and the Spanish court. The Savoyard match was eventually dropped and Violante Margarita was married (1660) to Ranuccio II Farnese (1630 – 1694), Duke of Parma, as his second wife. Princess Violante Margarita died from the effects of childbirth (April 29, 1663), aged twenty-seven.

Violentilla, Aufidia Cornelia – (fl. c200 – c220 AD)
Roman Imperial courtier
Aufidia Cornelia Violentilla was perhaps the daughter of Marcus Aufidius Fronto, consul (199 AD), or of his brother Gaius Aufidius Fronto, consul (200 AD). She was a descendant of Marcus Cornelius Fronto, consul (143 AD) the famous man of letters and friend of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Violentilla is attested by surviving inscription, which reveals that she owned important estates on the prestigious Esquiline Hill area of Rome.

‘Violette’     see   Garrick, Eva Maria

Vionnet, Madeleine – (1876 – 1975)
French coutouriere
Vionnet was born (June 22, 1876) at Chileurs-aux-Bois, near Paris, the daughter of a civil servant. She was trained as a dressmaker, and worked in London as an apprentice before going on to work for the House of Doucet in Paris. She was married twice and both unions ended in divorce. Madeleine Vionnet invented the use of bias binding for the use of body clinging clothing, and opened her own home in Paris as a famous design workshop, and was a friend to such designers as Cristobal Balenciaga and Main Bocher. Vionnet was the first designer to use crepe-de-chine as a fabric, favoured soft, flowing materials such as silk and chiffon, and influenced the popularity of the cowl and halter neck. Exhibitions of her work were displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (1971) and at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1974). Madame Vionnet died (March 2, 1975) in Paris, aged ninety-eight.

Vipont, Elfrida – (1902 – 1992)
British children’s author and theological and historical writer
Elfrida Vipont also used the pseudonyms of Charles Vipont and Elfrida Vipont Foulds. Her earliest works included Good Adventure (1931), her first published work for children and Colin Writes to Friends House (1934) which was published as Charles Vipont and went through several editions. Vipont’s other published works for children included The Lark in the Morn (1948) The Lark on the Wing (1950) as Elfrida Vipont Foulds, The Heir of Craggs (1955), Rescue for Mittens (1965), A Child of the Chapel Royal (1967), The Elephant and the Bad Baby (1969) and Towards a High Attic (1970). Her religious publications included The Birthplace of Quakerism (1952), The Story of Quakerism, 1652 – 1952 (1954) and Quakerism: A Faith to Live By (1962), whilst her historical works included Henry Purcell and His Times (1959).

Vipsania Agrippina   see    Agrippina, Vipsania

Vipsania Marcella    see    Marcella, Vipsania

Viralakshmi – (fl. c1000 – c1020)
Cambodian queen of Angkor
Viralakshmi was the wife of King Suryavarman I of Angkor, who ruled (1002 – 1050). She was a relative of King Yasovarman I (reigned 889 – 900) and Suryavarman claimed the throne (1002), using Viralakshmi’s ancestry to legitimize his accession. The queen was mother to kings Udayadityavarman II (1050 – 1066) and Harshavarman III (1066 – 1080). Her sister married Sadasiva-Jayendrapandita, the chief-priest of Devaraja, who later became the spiritual adviser to her elder son.

Virginia de Medici – (1568 – 1615)
Italian princess of Tuscany and Florence
Virginia de Medici was born (May 29, 1568), the daughter of Cosimo I de Medici (1519 – 1574), the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his second wife Camilla Martelli. Her mother’s marriage to Cosimo was morganatic, and she did not assume the grand ducal title, though Virginia was considered fully legitimate. Princess Virginia was married (1586) to Cesare d’Este, who succeeded duke of Modena and Reggio (1597 – 1628), making Virginia duchess consort (1597 – 1615). The couple had ten children including Alfonso III (1591 – 1644), who succeeded his father as Duke of Modena (1628 – 1644) and left descendants. Her youngest daughter, Princess Angelica Caterina d’Este remained unmarried and became a nun. During her later years the duchess suffered from periods of insanity, and was forced to remain in seclusion within the ducal palace. Duchess Virginia died (Jan 15, 1615) aged forty-six. She was interred within the Church of San Vincenzo in Modena. She was the ancestress of Mary Beatrice d’Este, Queen of England, the second wife of James II, and of Prince Charles Stuart, the Young Pretender.

Virida Visconti – (1352 – 1414)
Duchess consort of Austria and Styria
Viridia (Viridis) Visconti was born in Milan, Lombardy, the daughter of Bernarbo Visconti, Count of Milan and his wife Beatrice della Scala (Regina), the daughter of Mastino II della Scala, Lord of Verona. Virida was married (1365) to Leopold III (1351 – 1386), Duke of Austria-Styria (1370 – 1386), to whom she bore seven children. Her husband was killed in battle at Sempach, and Virida survived him as Dowager Duchess for almost three decades (1386 – 1414). The duchess was the ancestor of the Hapsburg emperors, the emperors of Austria, kings of Spain, the Bourbon dukes of Parma, the Hapsburg grand dukes of Tuscany, the Bourbon kings of Naples, the dukes of Wurttemburg, and the modern claimants to the thrones of Italy and France. Duchess Virida died (before March 11, 1414) aged fifty-one. Her children were,

Viridiana   see    Verdiana

Viry, Henrietta Jane Speed, Comtesse de – (1728 – 1783)
Anglo-French letter writer
An Englishwoman married to a French peer, the comtesse corresponded with Horace Walpole.

Visconti, Agnes – (1362 – 1391)
Italian patrician
Agnes Visconti was born in Milan, Lombardy, the daughter of Bernarbo Visconti, Count of Milan, and his wife Beatrice (Regina), the daughter of Mastino II della Scala, Lord of Verona. Agnes became the first wife (c1381) of Gian Francesco I Gonzaga (1363 – 1407), Count of Mantua. The marriage produced no children, and the countess conducted an adulterous affair with Antoni Scandiano, which was soon discovered. Agnes and her lover were publicly executed for their crime.

Visconti, Bianca Maria – (1425 – 1468)
Italian heiress and duchess of Milan
Bianca Maria Visconti was born (March 31, 1425) the illegitimate daughter of Filippo Maria Visconti (1392 – 1447), Duke of Milan and his mistress Agnese del Maino, the daughter of Ambrosio de Maino. Her aunt Valentina Visconti was the wife of Louis, Duke d’Orleans and was the grandmother of Louis XII, King of France (1498 – 1515). She was her father’s heiress and Duke Filippo promised Bianca Maria to a variety of powerful lords and princes in marriage. She was finally betrothed when she was eight years old (1433) to the widower Francesco Sforza (1401 – 1466), then an important general in her father’s service. They were married in 1441.
According to popular tradition Bianca Maria fell romantically in love with her formidable husband, and to commemorate the success of their marriage Francesco Sforza built a church to St Agostino in Cremona. With the death of Filippo Maria (1447) an uneasy republic endured in Milan until 1450 when the Milanese invitd Francesco Sforza to rule as their duke, he being supported financially by Cosimo de Medici. Sforza and Bianca Maria were then formally enthroned and she became duchess consort of Milan (1450 – 1466). The ducal couple had a large family and the duchess supervised their education and trainibg for court life at the Visconti Castle. The duchess also established a salon of some considerable note at Milan where poets and painters were welcomed. She survived her husband as the Dowager Duchess of Milan (1466 – 1468) and ruled as regent for her son Galeazzo Maria Sforza. Duchess Bianca Maria died (Oct 23, 1468) aged forty-three. She left eight children,

Visconti, Giovanna – (c1296 – 1339)
Italian heiress
Giovanna Visconti was the daughter and heiress of Ugolino Visconti, Judge of Gallura, and his wife Beatrice d’Este. Her father had been deprived of Gallura by the Pisans prior to Giovanna’s birth, and at his death (1298) she succeeded as the hereditary Giudicessa (Judge) of Gallura in title only. She possessed claims to estates in Sardinia but was unable to retirve them and sold them to the Visconti of Milan, through whom they passed to the kings of Aragon. Giovanna became the wife (1309) of Rizzardo da Camino, Count of Ceneda and Treviso. Two decades afterwards (1328) Giovanna was granted a pension by the German Imperial government.

Visconti, Valentina    see under    Valentina Visconti    and   Orleans, Duchesse d’

Visigarda – (c520 – 542)
Merovingian queen consort
Visigarda was the daughter of Vaccho, King of Lombardy, and his second wife Austrigusa, the daughter of Eliemund, King of the Gepidae. Her marriage with Theudebert I (c513 – c548), king of Austrasia, was negotiated (c533) to recognize the importance of the Lombards to the Merovingian dynasty. However the actual marriage did not eventuate till almost a decade later, mainly because of Theudebert’s dalliance with the concubine and first wife Deuteria. But finally (c540), political circumstances forced the marriage and Deuteria was repudiated. Her marriage is recorded in the Historia gentis Langobardorum of Paulus Diaconus (Paul the Deacon), and the Historia Francorum of Gregory of Tours. Queen Visigarda died young, aged in her early twenties, and was interred within Cologne Cathedral. Some of her jewellery has survived.

Visscher, Anna – (1583 – 1651)
Dutch poet and translator
Anna Visscher was born into a prominent literary family and wrote poems concerning famous contemporaries. She also produced an improved version of her father’s work Emblems (1640). Visscher was praised by her contemporaries for her skill at embroidery and her talent for glass-making.   

Vistilia (1) – (fl. c15 AD)
Roman patrician
Vistilia was born into a praetor family from Iguvium in Umbria and was the aunt of Vistilia, the wife of Titidius Labeo. The historian Pliny recorded her marital exploits which encompassed six husbands, the first being Glitius and lasted over a period of twenty years. By another of her husbands Vistilia was the mother of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, consul suffect (39 AD), and was the paternal grandmother of the famous general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo (c15 – 67 AD). Through him Vistilia was the great-grandmother of the Empress Domitia Longina, the wife of the Emperor Domitian (81 – 96 AD). One of Vistilia’s elder daughter, husband unknown, was Milonia Caesonia (c2 – 41 AD) the wife of the Emperor Gaius Caligula (37 – 41 AD). Her other children included Suillius Caesoninus, Publius Suillius Rufus, consul (46 AD) and proconsul of Asia, and Servilius Cornelius Scipio Orfitus, consul (51 AD).

Vistilia (2) – (fl. 19 AD)
Roman patrician
Born in a praetor family from Iguvium in Umbria, Vistilia was probably the sister of Sextus Vistilius and was the niece of the elder Vistilia, the wife of Glitius and the mother of Caesonia, wife of Emperor Caligula. The historian Tacitus records in his Annales that Vistilia was registered as a prostitute in order to escape the penalty for adultery. Her fraud was exposed (19 AD) and she was tried by the Senate for immorality. She was found guilty of prostitution and was exiled to the island of Seriphos.

Vitale, Milly – (1932 – 2006)
Italian film actress
Milly (Camilla) Vitale was born in Rome (May 6, 1932), the daughter of the noted conductor, Riccardo Vitale. Her mother was the prominent choreographer, Natasha Shidlowski. Her marriage ended in divorce, but she produced two sons. Vitale appeared in several films in Italy after WW II. She also made several appearances in American films. She travelled to Hollywood in California and established a career for herself, but never achieved star status. Her best known role was that of Madeleine Morundo Foy in The Seven Little Foys (1955) with comedian Bob Hope. She retired from acting prior to 1980. Milly Vitale died (Nov 2, 2006) aged seventy-four.

Vitelleschi, Amy Augusta Frederica Annabella Cochrane-Baillie, Marchesa – (1853 – 1923)
British writer
Hon. (Honourable) Amy Vitelleschi was born (July 29, 1853), the second daughter of Alexander Cochrane-Baillie (1816 – 1890), first Baron Lamington, and his wife Annabella Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of Andrew Robert Drummond (1795 – 1865), of Cadlands, Southampton. Amy Cochrane-Baillie became the wife (1880) of the Italian peer, Francesco Nobili, Marquis Vitelleschi, who was a member of the Italian senate. Madame Vitelleschi was particularly interested in the period of royal Stuart history, and was the author of several historical works in this field such as A Court in Exile: Charles Edward Stuart and the Romance of the Countess d’Albanie (1903) and The Romance of Savoy: Victor Amadeus II and His Stuart Bride (1905). The Marchesa died (May 14, 1913) aged fifty-nine.

Vitelli, Annie – (1837 – after 1878)
British mezzo-soprano and entertainer
Annie Day was baptised (May 7, 1837) in London, the daughter of a merchant named Day. She came to Australia with her family and was educated there in Melbourne, Victoria. Annie was married firstly (1855) to her singing teacher, Giovanni Whittle Vitelli (died 1859) to whom she bore a daughter, and secondly (1861) at Geelong, in Victoria, to the singer and lyricist, Charles Robert Thatcher, to whom she bore two daughters. Annie toured and performed with her second husband, and made three successful tours of New Zealand in (1862 – 1863), (1863 – 1865), and (1869 – 1870), being known on stage as ‘Madame Vitelli.’ She toured the goldfields of the west coast, and made popular the ballads, ‘The Colonial Servant Girl’ which had been written by her husband and ‘The Mocking Bird.’ Vitelli returned to England with her husband and children (1870), and Thatcher travelled as an antique dealer. He died in Shanghai, China (1878) and Annie survived home. Annie Vitelli’s date of death remains unknown.

Vitelli, Maria Anna Frescobaldi, Marchesa – (1702 – 1776)
Italian salonniere and patron of the arts
Maria Frescobaldi was born in Florence, and married (1720) to Niccolo Vitelli, Marchese di Bucina. With her husband’s death (1747), the marchesa moved to Rome, where she established herself as a popular literary hostess, receiving artists and authors at her palazzo. She appears in the correspondence of the British traveller and antiquarian Sir Horace Walpole, who attended her salon whilst visiting Rome.

Viti, Maria Fortunata – (1827 – 1922) 
Italian nun and saint
Born Anna Viti, she was the daughter of the gambler. When her mother died of a heart attack, Anna cared for her eight siblings. She refused a good offer of marriage in order to enter the Benedictine convent at Viroli. Despite the urgings of the sisters to become a nun, she refused and remained a lay sister. She experienced mystical visions which were recorded by her confessor, and she kept a private devotional diary. Maria Fortunata Viti died aged ninety-five, at Viroli. She was beatified by Pope John XIII (1967).

Vito, Gioconda de – (1907 – 1994)
Italian violinist
Born Maria Franca Puglia (July 26, 1907), she began to play the violin as a child. She later studied at the Conservatorio Di Musica Rossini in Pisaro. Gioconda de Vito performed her first public concert in 1921 and was awarded first prize at the International Competition in Vienna (1932). She was professor of violin at the Conservatorio Di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1935 – 1946) after which she was professor of Corso di Perfezionamento of Violin (1946 – 1961) at the same academy. Gioconda performed with Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern, and toured Australia (1960) before her retirement (1961). She was awarded the Diploma di Medaglia d’Oro del Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione (1957), for services to art, and was elected a member of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome (1976). Gioconda de Vito died (Oct 14, 1994) aged eighty-seven.

Vitre, Eleanor de – (c1162 – 1233)
Anglo-Norman noblewoman
Eleanor de Vitre was the daughter of Robert, Seigneur de Vitre in Normandy (died 1173), and his wife Emma, the daughter of Oliver II, Viscount of Dinan and Eleanor of Brittany. Eleanor was married firstly to William Paynel (died 1184) of Hambye. Her second marriage was with Gilbert Crespin, Lord of Tilliers, who died whilst on crusade in Palestine (1190). Soon afterwards Eleanor remarried to her third husband, William Fitzpatrick (c1153 – 1196), the fifth Earl of Salisbury, and Eleanor became Countess of Salisbury (1191 – 1196). This marriage produced an only daughter, Ela (1191 – 1261) who became the wife of William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, and founded Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. Her fourth and last husband was Gilbert de Malesmains, who in the reign of Richard I held her inheritance and her dower lands by right of their marriage (1198). Despite the fact that Malesmains later supported the French against King John (1205), Countess Eleanor was permitted peaceful enjoyment of her lands in England. Eleanor de Vitre was living (May 31, 1232) and had died (before Aug 12 in 1233) aged about seventy. She was interred within the Abbey of Mandaye, near Bayeux in Normandy, of which establishment she had been benefactress.

Vitre, Marquise de (Motquise) – (c1110 – c1163)
Norman medieval noblewoman and heiress
Marquise de Vitre was the daughter of Andrew I, seigneur de Vitre and his wife Agnes, the daughter of Robert de Conteville, Earl of Mortain. Her maternal grandfather was the uterine half-brother of William I, King of England (1066 – 1087) and Marquise was cousin to kings William II and Henry I. Marquise was married firstly (c1125) to Hugh de Craon, to whom she bore three children, including Maurice II (c1130 – 1196), seigneur de Craon, and Marquise de Craon, the wife of Hugh de la Guerche. With Hugh’s death (c1135), Marquise was remarried secondly to Hugh de Mathfelon, and thirdly to Payen de Vaiges. Her son Fulk de Mathfelon died young (c1150) whilst her daughter, Adelaide de Mathfelon (died after 1163), became a nun and was Abbess of Rennes in Brittany.

Vittoria of Savoy – (1740 – 1742)
Italian princess
Born Maria Vittoria Margherita (June 22, 1740) at Turin, Piedmont, she was the only daughter of Carlo Emanuele III, King of Sardinia (1730 – 1773) and his third wife Elisabetta Teresa, the daughter of Leopold Joseph, Duke of Lorraine. Princess Vittoria was the half-sister of King Vittorio Amadeo III (1773 – 1796) and was the maternal niece of the Emperor Franz I, husband of Maria Theresa. This made her first cousin to the emperors Joseph II and Leopold II, and of Marie Antoinette of France. Princess Vittoria died (July 14, 1742) aged two years, in Turin. She was buried firstly in Turin Cathedral, but her remains were later transferred to the Cathedral of Superga (1790).

Vittoria Feltria della Rovere – (1621 – 1694)
Grand duchess consort of Tuscany
Vittoria Feltria della Rovere was born (Feb 7, 1621), the granddaughter of Francesco II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino. She was raised and educated at the convent of Crocetta in Florence. Vittoria was the sole heiress of the duchy of Urbio, but was cheated of her inheritance by Pope Urban VIII, who took advantage of the investiture which excluded women, and persuaded her grandfather to cede his possessions to the church prior to his death (1631). Despite legal contestation by the Medici family, the only concession permitted by the papacy was that Vittoria should inherit all the loveable property of her late grandfather.
Vittoria was married (1634) to Ferdinando II de Medici (1610 – 1670), Grand Duke of Tuscany. Their elder surviving son was the future grand duke, Cosimo III. With the birth of her second son Francesco (1643) the couple lived apart in private, but maintained all appearances of respect in public. The cause of their estrangement was duke’s preference for his attractive page boy, Conte Bruto della Molava. The couple were later reconciled (1660) after which the grand duchess became increasingly involved with Tuscan politics, so much son, that eventually sessions of the privy council were held in her private apartments. Pious to the point of bigotry, bad-tempered, and foolish, Grand Duchess Vittoria was despised by the common people, who attributed all the evils of the reign of Cosimo III (1642 – 1723), to the baneful influence of his mother. Of several known portraits of her in various characterisations, the portrait of her as a Vestal Virgin by Justus Sustermans is preserved in the Pitti Gallery in Florence. Grand Duchess Vittoria died (March 6, 1694) aged seventy-three.

Vittoria Francesca of Savoy – (1690 – 1766)
Italian princess
Vittoria Francesca was born (Feb 9, 1690) the natural daughter of Vittorio Amadeo II, King of Sardinia (1675 – 1730) and his mistress, Jeanne Baptiste d’Albert, Comtesse de Verua. She was later legitimated by her father (1701) at the same time that her full brother, Francescp Filippo (born 1694) was created Marchese di Susa. She was then known officially as ‘Madamigella di Susa’ (Madamoiselle de Suse). She was married (1714) at Moncalieri, to her cousin, Vittorio Amadeo I (1690 – 1741), the reigning prince of Carignano (1709 – 1741) and became princess consort (1714 – 1741). Their first child was stillborn (1715) but three others followed. The princess visited the court of Louis XV of France, where she became something of a favourite in the fashionable salons of the period, and was known as the ‘Princesse de Carignane.’ Vittoria Francesca survived her husband as Princess Dowager of Carignano for over two decades (1741 – 1766). Princess Vittoria Francesca died (June 8, 1766) aged seventy-six. Her children were,

Vituriga     see    Samso

Viusia i Galli, Nuria – (1945 – 1982)
Spanish humourist and writer
Nuria Viusia was born in Terrassa, Barcelona, but was raised in France and England. She trained as a graphic artist but was later drowned in Andorra with her infant daughter during the disastrous floods (Nov, 1982). Her two known works ‘Xumet-Man’ the story of a superhero, and ‘Historia d’Andorra’ (History of Andorra) were published posthumously in Xumet-Man contre el monstre invisible. Historia d’Andorra (1983).

Vivado, Ida – (1908 – 1989)
Chilean pianist and composer
Born Ida Orsini (Aug 30, 1908) at Tacna, she studied composition under Domingo Santa Cruz. Vivado served as president of the asociacion Nacional de Compositores (1981 – 1987) and her works included Picaresca (1977) for contralto and orchestra and Tres preludios y tema con variaciones (1952) for the piano. Ida Vivado died (Oct 23, 1989) aged eighty, in Santiago.

Vivenot, Hermine Hallam-Hipwell, Baronne de – (1907 – 1992)
Anglo-French diplomat and writer
Hermine Hallam-Hipwell was born (April 23, 1907) at Buenos Aires in Argentina, the daughter of Humphrey Hallam-Hipwell. She was educated in Buenois Aires, and then attended school at Northlands in England. Hermine was married (1931) to Baron Raoul de Vivenot (died 1973), to whom she bore an only son. During WW II the baroness joined the Ministry of Information, and after the war she was attached to the Foreign Office (1946). She was appointed as vice-consul to Bordeaux (1949 – 1952) and Nantes (1952 – 1953) in France. The baroness was later appointed as first secretary of information at the British embassies in Brussels (1955 – 1959) and at The Hague (1962 – 1966). After her retirement from the diplomatic service (1967), Madame de Vivenot was employed as an external examiner in Spanish at the University of London. Her published works included the novel The Ninas of Balcarce (1935), and several works concerning art such as Younger Argentine Painters and Argentine Art Notes.

Viventia – (c627 – c680)
Carolingian nun
Viventia was the daughter of Pepin I of Landen, Duke of Austrasia and his wife Iduberga, the daughter of Grimoald, duke of Aquitaine. She assisted her mother and sister Gertrude with the foundation and establishment of the abbey of Nivelles. Viventia was revered as a saint (March 17).

Vives de Fabregas, Elisa – (b. 1909)
Spanish Catalan poet and prose writer
Elisa Vives de Fabregas was born in Barcelona, and published Vida femenina en le ochocientos (Women’s lives in the 1800’s) (1945). She also wrote the biography Paul Casals (1966), as well as several books for children.

Vivian, Violet Mary – (1878 – 1945)
British courtier
Hon. (Honourable) Violet Vivian was the elder twin daughter of Sir Hugh Crespigny Vivian, third Baron Vivian (1834 – 1893) and his wife Alice, the sister of Sir Charles Garden Assheton-Smith (1851 – 1914), first baronet of Vaynol. Violet was the elder twin sister of Dorothy Maud, Lady Haig, wife of the famous WW I Field marshal, and served as court as maid-of-honour to Queen Alexandra for over two decades (1901 – 1925), first as consort and then as queen dowager. For this service she received the MBE (Member of the British Empire). She never married.

Viviano, Catherine – (1899 – 1992)
American art dealer
Caterina Viviano was born in Italy and immigrated to the USA with her parents as an infant. She was raised in Chicago, Illinois where she attended the Art Institute School. She later worked at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, and then established and operated the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York for two decades (1950 – 1970). She specialized in works by such artists as Kay Sage, Joseph Glasco, Leonardo Cremonini and Tony Rosenthal. From 1970 she worked as a private consultant and art dealer. Catherine Viviano died (Jan 7, 1992) aged ninety-two, in Flemington, New Jersey.

Vivien, Renee – (1877 – 1909)
Anglo-French poet and novelist
Pauline Tarn was born (June 18, 1877) in London, but resided in Paris for most of her life taking the name of ‘Renee Vivien.’ She was friend to the novelist Colette and was involved in a lesbian affair with the famous Natalie Barney, and wrote lesbian love poetry. These verses were collected and published posthumously as Poemes (1923). She published a novel concerning her relationship with Barney entitled Une Femme m’apparut (A Woman Appeared to Me) (1904) and some translations of the works of the Greek poet Sappho. Renee Vivien died (Nov 18, 1909) aged thirty-two, in Nice.

Vivienne, May    see   Rayner, May Vivian

Vivonne, Catherine de    see    Rambouillet, Marquise de

Vix, Genevieve – (1879 – 1939)
French soprano
Born Genevieve Brouwere (Dec 31, 1879) in Nantes, Brittany, Genevieve Vix performed with the Chicago Opera Company (1917 – 1918). She also travelled Europe, performing in Madrid and Buenos Aires in Argentina. Genevieve Vix died (Aug 25, 1939) aged forty-nine, in Paris.

Vizzana, Lucrezia Orsina – (1590 – 1662)
Italian composer, vocalist and organist
Lucrezia Vizzana was born (July 3, 1590) in Bologna. Lucrezia became a nun (1598) at the Camaldoese convent of Santa Christina in Bologna, and received musical training from her aunt, who was the convent organist, and from the convent music master, Ottavio Vernizzi. Vizzana composed motets which were used for special feast days within the convent. She retired from music in 1720 and in later years, suffered from mental derangement. Lucrezia Vizzana died (May 7, 1662) aged seventy-one, in Bologna.

Vlachos, Helene – (1910 – 1995)
Greek newspaper publisher
Helene Vlachos was born (Dec 18, 1910) the daughter of a famous nationalist journalist, and was educated abroad. She was employed firstly as a book keeper with her father, and went on to become a journalist. From her father she inherited (1951) the running and administration of the daily newspapers, Kathimerini and Messimvrini.  However with the political takeover by the military junta (1967) her refusal to accept censorship caused the newspapers to he closed down. Vlachos was placed under house arrest, but managed to escape to England in disguise, with the assistance of her husband. With the deposition of the junta she returned to Athens (1974) and became a member of the conservative New Democracy Party. She left memoirs entitled House Arrest (1970). Helene Vlachos died (Oct 14, 1995) aged eighty-four, in Athens.

Vlahopoulou, Rena – (1923 – 2004)
Greek stage and film actress and vocalist
Rena Vlahopoulou was born on the island of Corfu, and was taught the piano by her father. She trained as a dancer and singer. Rena was married firstly (1938 – 1942) to the football hero, Kostas Vasileios, and secondly (1942 – 1946) to the prominent banker, Gianni Kostopoulos. Both marriages ended in divorce. She remarried a third time in 1967. Vlahopoulou performed in variety shows and at the World Theatre of Kostas Makedos in Athens, and by 1994 she had appeared in over one hundred theatrical productions. Her film credits included Anatolitikes Nychtes (Eastern Nights (1951), Mazi sou gia Panta (Beside You Forever) (1956), Odo Oneiron (Dream Street) (1962), I Chartopaiktria (The Gambler) (1964), Koritsia Gia Filima (Girl for Kisses) (1964), I Komissas tis Kerkyras (The Countess of Corfu) (1972) and Fantarines (1979). Rena Vlahopoulou died (July 29, 2004) in Athens.

Vlasek, June    see    Lang, June

Vodges, Ada Adams – (fl. 1868 – 1871) 
American military wife and journal writer
Ada Adams accompanied her husband, Anthony Wayne Vodges, a lieutenant with the US Army, to his postings in Fort Laramie and Fort Fetterman in Wyoming. Ada Vodges left a personal account of her years spent in the frontier region, which was published posthumously in the Montana Magazine of Western History as ‘The Journal of Ada Vodges.’

Vogt, Marthe Louise – (1903 – 2003)
German-Anglo neuroscientist
Marthe Vogt was born (Sept 8, 1903) in Berlin, the daughter of a neuro-anatomist. She studied medicine and chemistry in Berlin, where she was appointed to head the Institute for Brain Science. However, the rise of the Nazi Reich caused Vogt to immigrate to England, where she began work at the National Institute of Medical Research. At the institute Vogt worked closely with Sir Henry Dale, conducting extensive research into the pharmacology of the nerves. Vogt detailed the functional roles of chemicals within the brain, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society (1952). Marthe Vogt was attached to the Department of Pharmacology in Edinburgh, Scotland (1947 – 1960) and later returned to Cambridge University where she headed the animal physiology unit at Babraham. Marthe Vogt died (Sept 9, 2003) the day after her one hundredth birthday.

Voisin, Catherine la (La Voisin) – (1632 – 1680)
French poisoner and abortionist
Born Catherine Deshayes, her married name was Monvoisin. She performed abortions and told fortunes, and also produced poisons for ladies to rid themselves of unwanted husbands. La Voisin became the central figure in the famous ‘Affair of the Poisons’ (1679 – 1681) which incriminated many ladies connected to the royal court at Versailles, most notably the Marquise de Montespan, mistress of Louis XIV and Olympia, Comtesse de Soissons. La Voisin was found guilty and condemned to be burned to death in Paris (Feb 22, 1680)

Vojaca – (c1415 – before 1463)
Bosnian queen consort
Vojaca was the first wife of Stephen Thomas Ostoijic (c1415 – 1461), but her parentage remains unknown. She was Stephen’s queen at his accession (1443) and had borne him two sons to secure the succession, but he still divorced her (1445). She died before both the kingdom and her son fell before the Turkish invaders.

Volkonskaia, Alexandra Nikolaievna Repnina, Princess – (1766 – 1835)
Russian Imperial courtier
Princess Alexandra Repnina was the wife of Prince Grigori Volkonsky. Princess Alexandra served at the court of St Petersburg as Mistress of the Robes to the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Paul I (1796 – 1801). The princess and the empress became close personal friends during Maria’s widowhood, and Princess Volkonskaia remained with the empress until that lady’s death (1828). Her children included Prince Sergei Grigorivich Volkonsky (1788 – 1865) who was exiled to Siberia by order of Tsar Nicholas I (1825) because of his involvement with the Decembrist uprising. Her daughter, Princess Sophia Grigorievna Volkonskaia became the wife of her kinsman, General Prince Peter Volkonsky (1777 – 1853). Princess Volkonskaia died (Nov, 1835) aged sixty-nine.

Volkonskaia, Zenaida Alexandrovna Beloselsky-Beloserskaia, Princess – (1789 – 1862)
Russian Imperial courtier, salonniere and patroness of the arts
Princess Zenaida Beloselsky-Beloserskaia was the wife of Prince Nikita Grigorivitch Volkonsky, and was born in Dresden, Saxony (Dec 3, 1789). After several of her relatives were exiled for involvement in the Decembrist uprisings against Tsar Nicholas I, the princess left Russia and resided in Italy for several decades. There she owned the Villa Volkonsky, and and established her own famous literary and artistic salon. Zenaide Volkonskaia died (Feb 5, 1862) at Naples, aged seventy-two. She was interred in the church of San Vincenzo and San Anastasio in that city.

Vollmoeller, Mathilde – (1876 – 1943)
German painter
Mathilde Vollmoeller attended the Academie Matisse, and was later married to its co-founder and administrator, fellow artist Hans Purmann (1912). For almost two decades (1916 – 1935) she resided with her husband in Berlin, and afterwards in Florence (1935 – 1943).

Voltaire, Jacqueline – (1948 – 2008)
British-Mexican stage, film and television actress
Born Jacqueline Anne Walter Clisson (Nov 6, 1948) in Warwickshire, she was raised in Europe and the USA before finally settling in Mexico (1971). Voltaire worked in Paris as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge and the Casino de Paris. She made her movie debut in Mexico in Un Quijote sin macha (1971) opposite Mario Moreno. Her film credits included The Holy Mountain (1973) directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Men with Guns (1997) directed by John Sayles, Dune (1984) which was directed by David Lynch and Romancing the Bride (2005). Voltaire was especially remembered for her notable television career, especially in Salome (2002) and in the role of Flora Navarro in the television movie Palabra de mujer (2008). Jacqueline Voltaire died (April 8, 2008) aged fifty-nine, in Mexico City.

Von Arnim    see   Arnim, Bettina von

Von Bertouch, Anne Catherine – (1915 – 2003)
Australian patron of the arts and author
Born Anne Whittle in Eastwood, Sydney, New South Wales, she attended Sydney Girls’ high School and was trained as a teacher in Armidale. She was married (1939) to fellow educator, Roger Von Bertouch and the couple worked in Tasmania, where Anne studied art.Their experiences living an alternative lifestyle at Mungo Brush in the Myall Lakes was captured in her book February Dark, which won second place in The Sydney Morning Herald Literary Award. She also produced The Ride Home, which dealt with the work of the noted sculptor Guy Boyd. Von Bertouch sailed from England to Australia as a trainee crew member of the First Fleet flagship Soren Larsen (1988) and later circumnavigated the world which experience she recorded in The Voyage Out (1991). A generous patron of the arts, she established the Von Bertouch Gallery in Cooks Nill, Newcastle, which specialized in the works of Australian painters and artists such as Judy Cassab, Anne Von Bertouch was awarded the OAM (Order of Australia Medal) (1979) in recognition of her public philanthropy and conservation activities.

Von Krusenstjerna, Agnes    see    Krusenstjerna, Agnes von

Von Mises, Hilda    see   Geiringer, Hilda

Von Suttner, Baroness     see    Suttner, Baroness von

Von Trapp, Baroness    see    Trapp, Baroness von

Von Westphalen, Jenny    see    Westphalen, Jenny von

Vorhees, Nancy van – (1905 – 1988)
American athlete
Nancy Van Vorhees was the daughter of Dr James van Voorhees, the noted obstetrician, of East Hampton, Long Island. She attended the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut, New Hampshire. Nancy specialized as a highjumper and broadjumper, and competed in the Paris Olympics (1924), where her sister Louise was also a competitor. There she tied for first place in the running high jump with the British competitor, Carrie Hatt. Nancy was later married (1930) to Redington Barrett.

Vorlova, Slava – (1894 – 1973)
Czech socialist and composer
Born Miroslava Johnova (March 15, 1894) at Nachod, she studied singing at the Vienna Conservatory, and studied composition with Vitezslav Novak and the piano under Vaclav Stepan. With the end of WW II she studied composition under Jaroslav Ridky at the Prague Conservatory (1948). With the takeover by the Communist regime Vorlova turned to folk music, and produced several operas such as Zlate ptace (The Golden Bird) (1949 – 1950) and Nachodska kacace (Nachod Cassation) (1955). She became the first modern Czech composer to utilize the trumpet and bass clarinet as solo instruments in concertos. Slava Vorlova died (Aug 24, 1973) aged seventy-nine, in Prague, Bohemia.

Vorontzova, Anna Karlovna Shavronska, Countess – (1723 – 1775)
Russian Imperial courtier
Anna Shavronska was niece to the Empress Catharine I (1725 – 1727), the second wife of Peter the Great, who had been born Marfa Shavronska. Anna was the daughter of Karl Shavronski, an illiterart peasant from Lithuania, but was first cousin to the future Empress Elizabeth (1746 – 1762). Anna was married to the Grand chancellor, Count Mikhail Ilarionvich Vorontzov (1714 – 1767) whom she survived. Their only child, Anna Mikhailovna Vorontzova, became the wife of Count Alexander Stroganov. Because of her Imperial connections this marriage enhanced the career of her husband’s family at the court. Extremely attractive, but with an addiction to strong drink, the countess was the mistress of the Saxon minister Prass in St Petersburg, who used his connection to politically benefit his country.

Vorontzova, Elizaveta Romanovna – (1739 – 1792)
Russian Imperial mistress
Countess Elizaveta Vorontzova was the second daughter of Count Roman Ilarionvich Vorontzov, and his wife Martha Surmina, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Her younger sister was the famous memoirist Princess Dashkova. Ugly and sallow skinned, her face marked badly from an attack of smallpox, Elizaveta became the mistress of Tsar Peter III, the husband of Catharine the Great. Peter remained devoted to her, despite her drunken and obscene public behaviour, and he is said to have considered divorcing his wife in order to make Elizaveta his legal wife and empress. With the success of the empress, and the death of Peter, Elizaveta was treated generously by Catherine, who provided her with a house in Moscow, and stood godmother to her children after she was married to Colonel Ivan Polyanski, a chamberlain at the Imperial court. Her daughter, Anna Ivanovna Polyanska, served at the court as lady-in-waiting to the Empress, and was later married to Baron d’Hoggier, the Dutch ambassador to the Russian court.

Vorontzova, Martha Ivanovna – (1718 – 1745)
Russian countess
Martha (Marfa) Surmina was the daughter of Ivan Surmin, a wealthy merchant. Her first husband was Prince George Dolgoruky, but when her was later banished to Siberia with his family, Martha refused to accompany him into exile. The princess successfully petitioned the empress Anna Ivanovna to grant her a divorce, after which she was married to Count Roman Ilarionvich Vorontzov (1707 – 1783). She provided much needed financial assistance to the Empress Elizabeth prior to her accession to the throne, which shrewd kindness was later remembered to the advantage of the Vorotnzov family at court. She figures in the Memoires of her daughter, Princess Dashkovsa. Countess Martha Vorontzova died before the age of thirty, leaving five children,

Vorontzova, Yekaterina Alexievna    see   Sinyavina, Yekaterina Alexievna

Vorse, Mary Heaton – (1874 – 1966) 
American journalist and war correspondent
Mary Heaton was born (Oct 9, 1874) in New York City, the daughter of Hiram Heaton, and descended from old Massachusetts stock. With the early death of her husband, the yachtsman and explorer Albert White Vorse (1912), she turned to writing in order to provide an income for herself and her children. For thirty years she wrote articles on the working conditions of ordinary people all over the world. Mrs Vorse also established the Princetown Players theatrical troupe in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her published works included The Breaking In of a Yachtsman’s Wife (1908), Autobiography of an Elderly Woman (1911) and Stories of the Very Little Person (1911), comic tales written for her daughter. Her observations of the famous steel workers’ strike (1919 – 1920) led to the publication of Men and Steel (1920). Mary Heaton Vorse died (June 14, 1966) in Princetown, Massachusetts, aged ninety-one.

Voskuijl, Bep – (1919 – 1983)
Dutch war heroine
Elisabeth Voskuijl was born (July 5, 1919) in Amsterdam. Known by the nickname ‘Bep’ she was employed as a secretary by the Jewish business man Otto Frank, and was later appointed as administrator of his company, Opekta. During the Nazi occupation she assisted Miep Gies, another female employee, in concealing the Frank family from the Germans at the Frank business residence (1942 – 1944), supplying the family with food and other necessities during their time in hiding. When the group were eventually discovered by the Nazis and the place raided by the Gestapo, Bep managed to escape, but later returned to assist Miep in collecting the letters and diaries of Anne Frank. Bep was later married and had four children. She was honoured after the war for the help she gave to the Frank family, but disliked publicity, and refused to grant interviews. Bep Voskuijl died (May 6, 1983) aged sixty-three, in Amsterdam.

Voss, Julie von – (1766 – 1789)
Prussian countess and royal wife
Born Countess Elisabeth Amalie Julie von Voss (July 24, 1766) at Buch, near Berlin, she was the daughter of Count Hieronymus von Voss, and his wife Amalia Ottilia von Viereck. She was the niece of Countess Sophia von Voss, through whose offices she obtained a position at court to Queen Elisabeth Christina, the wife of King Friedrich the Great. Possessed of red-gold hair and fair skin, her beauty attracted much attention at the court, and her portrait was painted as the Greek goddess Ceres. Her aunt tried to break up her affair with Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (1786 – 1797), the heir of King Frederick, and a marriage was arranged with Count Dohna, but the prince made sure the plan came to nothing. With his accession to the throne Friedrich Wilhelm married Countess Julie morganatically, and bigamously (1787). Queen Frederica Louisa herself sanctioned the marriage if the king agreed to pay her debts whilst the clergy consented on the grounds that Martin Luther had previously approved such a marriage for Philip of Hesse in the sixteenth century. She was then created Countess von Ingenheim (1787). Julie bore the king two children, the first of which was stillborn (1787). Her second child Gustav Adolf (1789 – 1855) inherited his mother’s title as Count von Ingenheim. Julie von Voss died (March 25, 1789) aged twenty-two, in Berlin.

Voss, Sophia Maria Wilhelmina von Pannewitz, Countess von – (1729 – 1814)
German courtier and memoirist
Sophia von Pannewitz was born (March 11, 1729) and served as lady-in-waiting at the Prussian court for almost seven decades of her life. She spent her early career in the household of Queen Sophia Dorothea, the widow of Friedrich Wilhelm I. After her marriage the Countess von Voss she attended the court of Queen Elisabeth Christina, the wife of Freidrich II the Great (1740 – 1786), where she was appointed as mistress of the queen’s household at Schonhausen Castle. With the king’s death Sophia remained at court to serve Queen Frederica Louisa, the wife of Freidrich Wilhelm II (1786 – 1797) and then Queen Louise, the wife of Friedrich Wilhelm III (1797 – 1840). Countess von Voss was able to secure a place at court for her niece, Julie von Voss, but when she noticed Prince Friedrich Wilhelm paying her attentions, she became concerned, recording in her diary “ The prince admires Julie more than I quite like. He talks to her a great deal: I am afraid she is not insensible to his admiration and nothing but unhappiness can come of such an affair.” Madame von Voss remonstrated with the prince over the affair, but eventually married the girl bigamously (1787), to the countess’s horror. Sophia was widowed in 1793. The countess was the author of the volume of personal reminiscences entitled Sixty-Nine Years at the Court of Prussia: From the Recollections of the Mistress of the Household (1876), which was edited and published posthumously. Countess Sophia von Voss died (Dec 31, 1814) aged eighty-five.

Vosseler, Heidi    see   Draper, Heidi Vosseler

Votipka, Thelma – (1898 – 1972)
American soprano
Thelma Votipka was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied music there prior to further training at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. She made her stage debut as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro (1922) produced by the American Opera Company. She later joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York where she made her debut as Flora in La Traviata (1935) and performed there for almost three decades (1935 – 1963) with enormous success. During her impressive career Miss Votipka performed over seventy roles her own especial favourite being that of Marthe in Faust by Charles Gounod (1818 – 1893). Thelma Votipka died (Oct 24, 1972) aged seventy-four, in New York.

Vouillon, Madeleine Simone    see    Sologne, Madeleine de

Vourekis, Amalia    see   Fleming, Amalia Koutsouris, Lady

Vouyouklaki, Aliki – (1933 – 1996)
Greek stage and film actress
Aliki Vouyouklaki was born (July 20, 1933) in Athens, the daughter of a civil servant. She had some acting lessons, but first attracted attention in Greece as a poster model (1954). Aliki dyed her hair blonde, and then made her first movie appearance in The Little Mouse (1954). She achieved popular recognition in her own country when she appeared in Aliki in the Navy (1960), in which she co-starred with her future husband Dimitris Papamichail. Other film credits included Maddalena (1961) and The Blonde Schoolteacher (1969). Considered to be the Greek equivalent of Marilyn Monroe, she retired from movies in 1981, and then concentrated on stage work. Aliki Vouyouklaki died (July 23, 1996) aged sixty-three.

Vraba, Catherine – (fl. c1390 – 1402) 
Bohemian religious patron
Catherine Vraba was married to Conrad Kapler, Lord of Sulevice. As a widow she became a patron of the Hussite movement. It was at her insistence that their sermons were preached in the vernacular, so that the less educated members of the population could easily understand them.

Vrana, Sperantza - (1926 - 2009)
Greek actress and author
Born Elpidia Homatianou (Feb 6, 1926) at Messolonghi, she made her screen debut in the film Ela sto theio (Come to the Uncle) (1950). She adopted the professional name of Sperantza Vrana, and appeared in over fifteen other films. Vrana published the autobiography entitled Tolmo (I Dare). Her movie credits included The Beauty of Athens (1954), Melpo (1958), O skliros andras (The Hard Man) (1961) Den boroun na mas horisoun (They Can't Seperate Us) (1965), O palavos kosmos tou Thanasi (Thanasi's Mad World) (1979) and Safe Sex (1999) which was her last film. Sperantza Vrana died (Sept 29, 2009) aged eighty-three, in Athens.

Vreeland, Diana – (1903 – 1989) 
American fashion journalist, critic and magazine editor
Diana Vreeland was born in Paris, and came to New York as a child (1911). She worked as a fashion editor with Harper’s Bazaar (1939 – 1962), becoming known for her avant-garde ideas, and was later parodied as the over the top fashion designer in the film Funny Face (1956). Vreeland later served as the managing editor of Vogue (1962 – 1971) and served as a special consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where she organized exhibitions each year. She was awarded the French Order of Merit (1970) and later appointed a member of the French Legion d’Honneur (1976). She published the memoir entitled D.V. (1984).

Vroland, Anna – (1902 – 1978)
Australian feminist and writer
As a young woman Anna Vroland became a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (1919). Decades later she became a dedicated activist in the cause of rights for the indigenous aboriginal population and published the work Their music has roots (1951).

Vugteveen, Verna Norberg Aardema    see   Aardema, Verna

Vuldetrada – (c537 – 573)
Merovingian queen
Vuldetrada (Waldrada) was the daughter of Vaccho, King of Lombardy and his second wife Austrigusa, the daughter of Eliemund, King of the Gepidae. She and her sister Visigarda were named as the daughters of Vaccho in the Origis Gentis Langobardorum, and their parentage was also recorded by Paulus Diakonus (Paul the Deacon). Vuldetrada was married firstly (c553) to Theodovald, king of Austrasia, but the marriage remained unhappy and as she only bore a daughter Blithilde, her husband despised her. With the death of Theodovald (555) Vuldetrada was forced to marry his uncle, the elderly Clotaire I, king of Neustria, whose seventh wife (or perhaps concubine) she became. Clotaire quickly repudiated her. The queen then remarried to her third and last husband, Garivald I, duke of the Bavarians (c530 – 594), but died before he became king (589). The children of her last marriage included Gundoald (c563 – 612), who succeeded his father as Duke of Bavaria (594 – 612) and the famous Queen Theodelinda of Lombardy. She is mentioned in the Historia Francorum of St Gregory of Tours. Her daughter Blithilde by Theodovald, became the wife of Arnoald I, Margrave of Scheldt and left descendants.

Vulliez, Gabrielle – (1890 – 1970) 
French literary figure and letter writer
Gabrielle Vulliez was a friend of the author Andre Gide (1869 – 1951) and the poet, dramatist, and diplomat, Paul Claudel (1868 – 1955), with whom she maintained a lengthy correspondence (1923 – 1931). This was edited and published posthumously as La Tristesse d’un automne sans ete: Correspondance de Gabrielle Vulliez avec Andre Gide et Paul Claudel (1981).

Vulpius, Christine    see  Goethe, Johanna Christina Sophia von

Vultrogoda    see   Ultrogotha

Vuthbergis    see   Guitburge

Vyatcheslava Jaroslavna    see    Jaroslava Jaroslavna

Vyner, Violet – (1870 – 1945)
British stage and music-hall actress
Violet Vyner was the younger daughter of Robert Charles de Grey Vyner (1842 – 1915), of Gautby, Lincolnshire, and his wife Eleanor Margaret Duncombe Shafto, the daughter of a clergyman. After a brief, but successful career at the Gaiety Theatre in London, Violet was married (1890) in London, to James Francis Henry St Clair-Erskine (1869 – 1939), the fifth Earl of Rosslyn, as his first wife, but the marriage did not prove successful. Lord Rosslyn later brought an action against Violet for desertion in the Scottish courts (1901) and was granted a divorce in Edinburgh (1902). Lady Rosslyn then remarried (1903) to the noted racing driver, Charles Jarrett. Her son Francis, Lord Loughborough (1892 – 1915) became the father of Anthony St Clair-Erskine (born 1917), who succeeded his grandfather as sixth Earl of Rosslyn (1939). Her daughter, Lady Rosabelle Millicent St Clair-Erskine (1891 – 1956), was married twice, firstly to Lieutenant David Cecil Bingham (1887 – 1914), who was killed in action during WW I, and secondly to Lieutenant-Colonel John Brand (1885 – 1929), and left issue from both marriages. Violet Vyner died (Feb 17, 1945).

Vynne, Nora – (c1840 – 1914)
British editor, drama critic, journalist and writer
Nora Vynne was the daughter of Charles Vynne, of Norfolk, and was educated at home by a governess. She studied art in Kensington. Vynne wrote a number of popular one-act plays for the stage such as The Story of a Fool and his Folly, Honey of Aloes, The Young Pretender and So it is with the Damsel, and various short stories. Her political publications included Women under the Factory Acts, which she co-authored with Helen Blackburn. Nora Vynne died (Feb 18, 1914) in London.

Vyroubova, Nina – (1921 – 2007)
Russian-French ballerina
Nina Vyroubova was born (June 4, 1921) in Gurzof in the Crimea, and studied at the Imperial Russian Ballet under Lubov Egorova and Olga Preobrazhenskaya. She made her stage debut as Swanhilda in Coppelia at Caen, Normandy (1937). Nina Vyroubova performed with the Ballet Russe de Paris and as a solist with the Vendredis de la Danse at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre. There she met the choreographer Roland Petit, whose muse she became. He composed many ballets with her as the star which she performed for the Les Ballet des Champs-Elysee, and Vyroubova created the roles of the sleeping beauty figure in Les Forains. She also created the title role in Victor Gsovsky’s La Sylphide. Vyroubova later worked at the Paris Opera under the direction of Serge Lifar, who created the Cigarette dance in Suite en Blanc (1949) and La Dame in Dramma Per Musica (1950) especially for Nina, who then performed the title role in his production of Giselle (1950). Vyroubova later worked with the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas (1957 – 1962), after which she taught dance in Paris and in Troyes. Vyroubova was famous for being the first ballerina to be partnered by Rudolf Nureyev after his defection to the West. This was the occasion of a great public disagreement between the two dancers, a breach that lasted for five years. Nina Vyroubova died (June 24, 2007) aged eighty-six.