Anne Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe

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Anne Spencer-Churchill
The Duchess of Roxburghe, c. 1913
Born Anne Emily Spencer-Churchill
(1854-11-14)14 November 1854
Died 20 June 1923(1923-06-20) (aged 68)
Title Duchess of Roxburghe
Spouse(s) James Innes-Ker, 7th Duke of Roxburghe
Children Lady Margaret Ewing
Henry Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe
Lady Victoria Villiers
Lady Isabel Wilson
Lord Alastair Innes-Ker
Lady Evelyn Collins
Lord Robert Innes-Ker
Parent(s) John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough
Lady Frances Vane

Anne Emily Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe VA OBE (née Spencer-Churchill; 14 November 1854 – 20 June 1923) was the daughter of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, who served in Conservative governments as Lord President of the Council and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. She served as Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria.

Family and early life

Lady Anne Spencer-Churchill was born on 14 November 1854,[1] the fourth daughter of her parents.[2] Her father was John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, who served in Conservative governments as Lord President of the Council and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Her mother was Lady Frances Vane, daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.[3] Lady Anne had two brothers and five sisters.[3] The children rarely saw their mother, as they were raised by servants.[4] Her brother Lord Randolph Churchill later became a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer. Through him, Anne was the aunt of Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill.


On 11 June 1874, Lady Anne was married to James Henry Robert Innes-Ker, Marquess of Bowmont and Cessford, eldest son of the sixth Duke of Roxburghe.[5] He succeeded his father as the seventh Duke of Roxburghe in 1879, and Anne became The Duchess of Roxburghe. He died in 1892.[6]

In 1883 she was appointed Mistress of the Robes to Queen Victoria by the Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, and served in that capacity until 1885. In 1892, when Mr Gladstone again came to power, his policy of Home Rule for Ireland had alienated many of the upper classes, and no lady of ducal rank could be found who was willing to serve as Mistress of the Robes. The post therefore remained vacant, while the Duchess of Roxburghe and the Dowager Duchess of Atholl performed the duties of the office.[citation needed] In 1906 she christened the newest and largest ship then in the world, the Cunard Line's RMS Mauretania.[7]


  • Lady Margaret Frances Susan Innes-Ker (1875–1930); married on 25 July 1898 to James Alexander Orr Ewing (22 February 1857 – 28 May 1900, South Africa)
  • Henry John Innes-Ker, 8th Duke of Roxburghe (1876–1932), from whose only son all current Innes-Ker males are descended.
  • Lady Victoria Alexandrina Innes-Ker (1877–1970) married on 17 August 1901 in London to Charles Hyde Villiers (September 1862 – 23 May 1947, London), and had issue.
  • Lady Isabel Innes-Ker, later Lady Isabel Wilson (1879–1905) married on 23 June 1904 to Hon. Guy Greville Wilson (19 May 1877 – 1 February 1943)
  • Lord Alastair Robert Innes-Ker (1880–19??) married London 10 October 1907 Anne Breese (18?? – 30 October 1959, London), an American heiress, and had issue 2 sons and 1 daughter.
  • Lady Evelyn Anne Innes-Ker, later Lady Evelyn Collins (1882–1958) married on 23 November 1907 in London to William Fellowes Collins (17 September 1865 – 15 February 1948), a grandson of Lord De Ramsay, and had issue.
  • Lord Robert Edward Innes-Ker (22 July 1885 – 19 July 1958); married first on 27 October 1920 (divorced 1935) at the Registry Office in London to Charlotte Josephine Cooney, otherwise the musical comedy actress Jose Collins (23 May 1887 – 6 December 1958), as her first husband. The couple divorced in 1935, having had no issue. He married secondly in London on 28 July 1939 to Eleanor Marie Woodhead (1887–1958); there was no issue by either marriage.


  1. Lodge 1877, p. 402.
  2. Lovell 2011, p. 20.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Quinault 2004.
  4. Lovell 2011, pp. 18–20.
  5. Lodge 1877, p. 510.
  6. Fox-Davies 1895, p. 854.
  7. Forster 2011.
Works cited
Court offices
Preceded by
The Duchess of Bedford
Mistress of the Robes
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Preceded by
The Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry
Mistress of the Robes
(pro tempore)
jointly with The Dowager Duchess of Atholl