Letter surfaces telling how Queen's ancestor escaped the marriage from hell (UK)

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Mary Eleanor Bowes, the Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, became known as the 'Unhappy Countess' after being fooled into marriage by the self-styled 'Captain' Andrew Robinson Stoney in the late 18th century.

Bowes, who was said to be the richest heiress in Britain, was an attractive 37-year-old widow with five children when Stony hatched his plan to win her affection.

He arranged to have scurrilous stories about her published in the Morning Post newspaper, and then contacted his damsel offering to challenge the editor to a duel.

But unknown to Bowes, who was the Queen's great-great-great-great-grandmother, the two men were in cahoots.

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