Preah Vihear, Cambodia

Preah Vihear Temple

This impressive cliff top temple was once at the center of an international custody dispute
11 Feb 2016
Costa Mesa, California

California Scenario

A small sculpture garden that provides a microcosmic representation of California
10 Feb 2016
Lexington, Virginia

Lee Chapel

This “shrine of the south” packs a controversial historical punch.
10 Feb 2016
Baltasound, Unst, Scotland

Bobby's Bus Shelter

This Shetland Islands bus shelter may be small, but it squeezes in a couch, a desk, some art, and even an old telly
10 Feb 2016
Tlell, Canada

Pesuta Shipwreck

The stunning remnants of this wreck emerge from an otherworldly backdrop of rainforests
10 Feb 2016
Portland, Oregon

The Witch's Castle

These old stone ruins in the Oregon wilderness have been the site of both murder and restrooms
10 Feb 2016

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Silent Rock

Silent Rock

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Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

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Shanghai French Concession

Shanghai French Concession

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The Insouciant Heiress Who Became the First Western Woman to Enter Palmyra

by Ailsa Ross / 10 Feb 2016


Lady Hester Stanhope on horseback. (Photo: Wellcome Images, London/WikiCommons)

Born to an aristocratic family in 1776, a young Hester Stanhope was passed from her eccentric father to her grandmother who, not knowing how to deal with the rebellious child, handed her off to her uncle. That uncle just happened to be British prime minister William Pitt the Younger, who led the country during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars after taking office at 24.

After arriving at number 10 Downing Street, Stanhope became a smart young hostess for her bachelor uncle, charming his many important visitors with her wit and intelligence. Later on, she nursed Plitt when he fell ill from ulcers and gout. When the prime minister died, in 1806, he left his niece a generous pension of £1,200 a year to live on.

Stanhope’s inheritance allowed for a comfortable life in England, but it wasn’t enough to partake in the endless socializing expected among her social circle. Aged 33 and despondent after a thwarted love affair that scandalized London society, Stanhope took her inheritance and headed east, writes Lorna Gibb in Lady Hester: Queen of the East. She would never again set foot in England.

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