Duchess of Westminster

duchess of westminsterAfter graduating college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Professional chocolate taster isn’t plausible and full-time world-traveler doesn’t pay the bills so I joined the Air Force. Coming from a long line of military men, it wasn’t a huge leap for me. Getting used to the uniform was something else entirely. Combat boots, camouflage, hair yanked back into a bun, very little makeup. Not exactly my dream come true as a girly girl, but you do what you have to because unlike others, I was unable to break the rules.

Like the Duchess of Westminster. Born Constance Edwina “Shelagh” Cornwallis-West, she was Constance_Edwina_Grosvenor,_Duchess_of_Westminsterthe first wife of the 2nd Duke of Westminster. When WWI broke out, Shelagh took up the cause as a Red Cross nurse and ran a military hospital in Le Touquet, housed in a local casino. A time of war is no place for expensive furs, glittering jewels, and fancy titles, but as the wounded men poured in her open doors, the Duchess and her friends would often meet them dressed to the 9’s in full evening attire. Tiaras and all. It was probably the last thing these mud-caked boys were expecting, but I’m sure it served as a powerful reminder of the beautiful things left in the world.

Most of all, it should remind everyone that status means nothing when it comes to helping those in need. So, a tip of the tiara to all the ladies (and not just the titled ones) who cast aside their rubies and working girl aprons to scrub bed pans without complaint.

By the way, after four years I hung up my combat boots in favor of much more stylish ones. Still holding out for the tiara though.


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.


  1. Karla Akins

    I truly admire people who have served time in the military. Thank you for your service. The military was never something I considered because I am about as athletic as a snail and I knew I’d fail boot camp. So I tip my tiara to YOU.

    And another tip of the tiara to you for writing about royalty. I love reading about titled people. In fact, when I watched Kate and William marry, I wore a tiara. LOL. Yup. Color me royals-obsessed!

    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I love royalty too! And yes, Wills and Kate are my favorite. I always love seeing your pictures of them on pinterest

  2. D.L. Diener

    I think I could handle a professional chocolate-tasting gig, maybe we should start a company. I’m sure we’ll have enough for tiaras in no time. 🙂

    I like the idea of the decked-out dames doing their part, but the germaphobe in me isn’t as impressed. I’m sure it made one heck of an impression though.

    1. J'nell (Post author)

      We could call our shop The Chocolate Dames. What do you think?! Hmm, yes, I didn’t think about the unsanitary conditions through which their ballgowns were trapezing. It’s the thought that counts.

  3. Susan F. Craft

    This reminds me of the Proverbs verse – A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. The sacrifices those women (and women like you, J’nell) made for others make each of you more precious than jewels.

    1. J'nell (Post author)

      Aw, shucks. I certainly didn’t mention my service as a pat on my own back. But yes, any and all women who serve (not just military) are precious in the eyes of God.


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