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Million Dollar American Princesses:

How to Dress a Million Dollar American Princess

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How to Dress a Million Dollar American Princess

Short | 02:07

Imagine being in charge of finding original period-appropriate outfits for up to 70 television characters spanning 50 years of British and American history. Graham Hunter, costume designer for Million Dollar American Princesses, shows us how it's done.


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

    Mary Leiter

    Read Full Bio

    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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