A Look Back in Time: A Custody Battle – Part Three the End

Written by Mary Lou Floyd, CCLS

The Battle:

Testifying on behalf of the aunt was the nanny who had cared for the young girl for many years.  She testified, in open court in front of hungry reporters, about the neglect and the young mother’s unseemly lifestyle. The nanny revealed that the young mother carelessly left pornographic magazines around the house, was cruel, was uncaring, had an affair with a German prince, and claimed the young mother was a lesbian!

Others testifying on behalf of the aunt included the young widow’s own mother, adding the neglect she had witnessed firsthand.

The most scandalous testimony came from the young widow’s French maid. While on the stand, the French maid was asked if she had ever seen anything “improper.” After hesitating to answer, and then being pressed by the aunt’s attorney to answer, the French maid revealed she had witnessed a kiss between the young widow and her best friend, the Marchioness, daughter of a Russian grand duke, married to a Mountbatten, cousin to the King of England. And the description of the kiss didn’t stop there. The French maid further divulged the kissing she witnessed was like that between lovers. The claim of a lesbian relationship that was intertwined with the British royal family was staggering and further fueled the media circus and the chaos that already surrounded this case. The judge ordered the press out of the courtroom and not allowed back in.

The little girl was allowed to testify in private. Her testimony included statements that she wanted to live with her aunt, and that she hated and feared her mother.

Custody was awarded to the aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, with limited visitation to the mother.

The heiress child: Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, Anderson Cooper’s mother.


We hope you enjoyed this series.  If you missed the first two parts of this story, here are the links so you can get caught up.

Part One

Part Two

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