Dido Elizabeth Belle: Princess Of Kenwood House

I came across a video on Twitter. It is a very interesting and moving story of a young girl who was brought up in a wealthy family. Born circa 1761 and died 1804. This is the story of her life at Kenwood House.

I visited Kenwood House in May 2008.  A very nice house and a listed building.  The surrounding manicured gardens were just great. I couldn’t help wondering what it was like growing up in England in a house like this and what were her favourite pastimes? Apparently hers was a very interesting life.

Kenwood House
Home of Dido Belle

Her father was a captain with the British Royal Navy but little is known about her mother.  Dido was sent to live with her uncle the Earl of Mansfield at Kenwood House, Hampstead, England when she was very young. Despite being brought up like one of their family and member of the household, she was never treated as an equal and would be made scarce when guests were around for dinner.

Walking down to the house...home of Dido Belle

Little is known of her later life. Her father did not leave her any money when he died however Lord Mansfield did leave her about £500 in his will when he died.

In 1793 Dido married John Davinier and had three sons. She died in July 1804 and was buried in the St George Hanover Square (off the Bayswater Road).

There are lots of places where you can read about Dido Belle which I’ll be doing. The video tells Dido’s story so well. Don’t you wish that we had video cameras, camcorders, Youtube etc at that time.

I only learnt about Dido Belle because I met a few people who make it their business to preserve these histories and to continue to honour the memories of people who through no plan or design of their own found themselves in countries like England. They benefited some, but mostly suffered all kinds of injustices and untimely deaths. May God forgive through His everlasting mercy.

I am really pleased to learn about Dido Elizabeth Belle. Such courage, such honour. RIP.

Author: IslandMeri

I am based in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. The purpose of this blog is to share my magic moments in Papua New Guinea, elsewhere in the Pacific and the world. I have many creative pursuits - singing, songwriting, amateur photography and blogging.

3 thoughts on “Dido Elizabeth Belle: Princess Of Kenwood House”

  1. Hi Sarah Thank you for your dedication and great work so far. I am a distant relative of Didos and I’m finally pleased to see much detailed attention given to putting together her life information. Dido is iconic for many of us of mixed heritage because finally this taboo is in the spotlight. There are many of us who has in our line an ancestor like Dido. Mine is my Grt Grandmother. Many of us are still struggling with the legacy of enslavement and the legacy in relation to world knowledge and attitudes. More should be taught in schools on not just the negative aspects of slavery but the contributions that were made by black people slaves and free men and women including the contributions made by our white ancestors who worked so hard to bring about the abolition of that institution. Imagine I was sitting in front of Dido’ and cousin Elizabeth’s portrait as a young girl not knowing we were related. Also I studied European history at school and poured over information pertaining to the case of Sommersett but not realising that one of my ancestors was instrumental in that ruling.

    I am now like you aiming to piece together the vital information and documents relating to her life after Kenwood.

    Thank you once more. Keep up the research, please. I will follow your results. All the best

    Rosa-Lee Arendse

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for your comments. Such a beautiful woman was Dido. I would love to read your work on Dido.

    Wishing you a wonderful festive season.

    Cheers,
    M

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s