You may remember that Eliza Harper Pierce, the next sister to gain her hero in this series, is a widow. One member of Sabrina’s Dames and Dukes asked what privileges widows had that unmarried ladies didn’t, so I thought I’d answer that. For one thing, Society looked the other way when a widow took a lover, as long as she was discreet. Nothing illustrates that more than a biographical sketch in the February 1810 La Belle Assemblee (page 59; read it for yourself here). It touted the Duke of Devonshire’s new wife, Lady Elizabeth Foster. What it didn’t mention was that Devonshire had made an honest woman of Lady Elizabeth after she’d been his mistress, living in his household as his wife’s closest friend, for decades. The first half of that time she was separated from her husband, and the second half, she was widowed. La Belle Assemblee mentions her only living son by her first husband, but doesn’t mention her two additional illegitimate children by the duke. She must have been discreet enough. Or perhaps the fact that her new husband was a duke was the deciding factor!