The Glamorous Wedding Of Cornelia Vanderbilt & John Cecil (1924)

Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (1900-1976) was born at the famous Biltmore Estate, a large (8,000 acre) private estate  in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main house on the estate, is a Châteauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2)  of floor space (135,280 square feet (12,568 m2) of living area).

Cornelia was the only child of George Washington Vanderbilt and Edith Dresser Vanderbilt. Upon George Vanderbilt’s death in 1914, Cornelia, then aged 25, inherited the Biltmore Estate.

Cornelia was married first to Hon John Francis Amherst Cecil in 1924. About 1932, Cornelia found life at Biltmore too dull to endure and moved to New York briefly to study art. After a few months she moved to Paris, divorced Cecil in 1934, changed her name to Nilcha and dyed her hair bright pink. That phase passed, and while living quietly and modestly in London, she met and married Vivian Francis Bulkely-Johnson about 1950.

At some point she adopted the name Mary. Her last marriage was in 1972 to William Goodsir, 26 years her junior. They lived very quietly; Cornelia never spoke of her past.
Her sons with Cecil, George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil (b. 1925) and William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil (b. 1928), eventually inherited the Biltmore Estate and land (source).

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Cornelia Vanderbilt in her official wedding portrait 1924.

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Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and her aunt Edith Stuyvesant Dresser Vanderbilt (Mrs. George W. Vanderbilt II), at Cornelia’s 30 Apr 1924 wedding to British Diplomat John Cecil (All Souls Church, Biltmore Village, Asheville, NC).

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Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and her aunt Edith Stuyvesant Dresser Vanderbilt (Mrs. George W. Vanderbilt II), at Cornelia’s 30 Apr 1924 wedding to British Diplomat John Cecil (All Souls Church, Biltmore Village, Asheville, NC).

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Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and John Francis Amherst Cecil (1924)

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Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and John Francis Amherst Cecil (1924)

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Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt and John Francis Amherst Cecil (1924)

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