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Million Dollar American Princesses:

Becoming a Million Dollar American Princess

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Becoming a Million Dollar American Princess

Short | 02:26

Actor Roanna Davidson walks us through the challenges and delights of becoming Winnaretta Singer, the provocative heir to a major sewing machine fortune and one of the bold women featured in season 2 of Million Dollar American Princesses.

More About This series

Join Elizabeth McGovern as she takes an in-depth look at the young American heiresses whose real life stories inspired the acclaimed TV drama "Downton Abbey." This series takes you from the late 1800s, when daughters of America's new industrial millionaires marry into the money-strapped British aristocracy, to the 20th century, when a new kind of American Princess wields power not through wealth, but through character, style, and wit. Through the decades, these women bring dramatic change to the European aristocracy and eventually the world.


  • Mary Leiter
  • Wallis Simpson
  • Sara Murphy
  • Gloria Swanson
  • Consuelo Yznaga
  • Peggy Guggenheim
  • Kathleen
  • Winnaretta Singer
  • Clara Ward
  • Jennie Jerome
  • Frances Work
  • Consuelo Vanderbilt
  • Grace Kelly
  • Elizabeth McGovern, Actor and Presenter
  • Mary Leiter

    Mary Leiter

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    Mary Leiter's credentials as a Dollar Princess were assured. She was born in Chicago in 1870, and her family's net worth was in excess of $220 million.

    In 1890, a chance meeting with the Prince of Wales opened the doors of London society to her. With no shortage of admirers, it was 31-year-old George Curzon, a member of the aristocracy and a rising political star in his own right, who caught her eye. They wed in 1895.

    In stark contrast to other such unions, theirs was a happy marriage, mainly because Mary was a devoted and capable partner to George in every sense. In 1898, he became Viceroy of India with Mary by his side.

    Sadly, tragedy struck when she contracted a deadly infection there and passed away soon after at the tender age of 36. Her husband, sick with grief, built a memorial tomb in her honor. An even bigger tribute to their love would follow: Their relationship was the inspiration for that of the characters of the Earl of Grantham and his wife, Cora, in the worldwide hit "Downton Abbey."

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