As the daughter of ambitious socialite Alva Vanderbilt, Consuelo Vanderbilt had a lot on her shoulders as her family's ticket into New York society. It was a match made in societal heaven for Consuelo and Charles Spencer-Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, when they married in 1895. It was also an example of the era's popular marriages for money, not love. When the arrangement was made, 18-year-old Alva was even secretly engaged to Winthrop Rutherfurd and had made plans to elope before finally giving in to her mother's wishes.
But there was a sort-of happy ending, as Consuelo had the marriage annulled in 1926 with the support of her mother, who finally admitted her wrongdoing. Alva testified, "I forced my daughter to marry the Duke. I have always had absolute power over my daughter."