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Biographical Studies: Lady Anne Clifford’ Diary Essay

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2020

Lady Ann Clifford is one of the most remembered ladies in British history. She is the only child in a royal family having lost her brothers at a very age. Her bravery and determination are outstanding and exemplary. During her lifetime she related to various people at various levels of association and as it is always, had her side of the story.

Lady Ann is most remembered for having kept a record of events in her life in the form of a diary. She lost her father, Earl George and thus did not keep many records of him. This is because the father spent little time at home as he was both a soldier and a sports personality (Sackville-West 2009 p.36), but she kept a lot of records of her association with the mother and her marital life.

From the daily event accounts as recorded in her diary, one can easily deduce that Lady Ann drew much inspiration from her parents. Her urge to keep the family wealth in proper custody and lead a noble life makes her appreciate her parents for what she has become (Snook, 2005).

George Clifford, the father of Lady Ann spent a lot as she says, but had invested much wealth. However, before he died, he had chosen his brother Francis as the heir of his estates and property. It might be a set trap to test the daughter’s character as events unfold or a mere expression of security concern for the family property (Sackville-West 2009 p.72). This, according to the law, was not right and Lady Ann sets out at a very tender age of fifteen to reclaim the rightful ownership of the family property.

She is persuaded to drop the quest but she opts for legal procedures to have the uncle surrender the property to her. In her first attempt, the judge rules against her. The reason behind this is that she is still young, but this does not cool the urge in her. She still decides to take the matter to a higher level convinced that she is right in her pursuits.

The youthful courage and fighting spirit are brought out through the father’s action. If the father could have bestowed her with the property as her rightful inheritance, then perhaps it could have been hard for one to realize these special traits in her. It thus turns out that her father dawns a great impact on the little girl by sparking off a legal tussle between her and the uncle (Sackville-West, 2009 p.88).

Ann records that her first husband, Richard Sackville, was both a spendthrift and a gambler. He even goes to the extent of selling the family house to get money for gambling. Besides, he was against Ann’s legal engagements to inherit the family property as the law demanded. This is the worst she expects of him since she thought to be close to her, Richard would definitely be obliged to support her.

She does stay with a spouse who shares a contrary personality with her. Most people that are close to Ann are of the husband’s opinion and against her pursuit of legal justice (Sackville-West 2009 p.112). They alienate her on grounds of her course of action. Nobody is willing to associate with her for legally fighting her uncle. At one point she records in her diary that she felt like an owl in the desert just to emphasize on her loneliness and desperation.

It is at this time that parental impact is once more felt in her life. Her mother, unlike other people, does not forsake her but stands by her side and encourages her to push on. Her mother is the only person on Ann’s side. When she feels dejected that the whole society is viewing her negatively, her mother reaffirms her support and this rejuvenates her initial determination. She might have contemplated giving up and resolve to the status quo.

Marital misconceptions and qualms are evident in both of Ann’s marriages. In their first marriage, she is uncomfortable with the husband’s lifestyle. In the second marriage, just like the first husband, the second spouse does not support her fight to get back the family property. At some point, the second husband dreads Ann for her daughter and this really leaves her in a dilemma as she is to choose between the two. It thus takes her hard time to make ends meet in both marriages.

Thus, it takes much perseverance and patience to survive in such marital circumstances. The mother takes the responsibility to cushion the financial constraints in the first marriage when the husband proves to be a spendthrift. She comes at Ann’s rescue when the husband sells the Knole house (Sackville-West, 2009 p.124).

This further implies how much the parents were only concerned with their daughter and the extremes they went to ensure a happy life for her. Apart from hiring Samuel Daniel as a tutor for their daughter to try and mold a future for her, they extend the same care and concern even in her marital life. Ann indeed had the best parents when it comes to care and provision. She is able to develop resistance against most traumatizing situations in her marriage due to her parents’ presence.

The son of Francis finally dies and Ann wins the battle and reclaims her inheritance. In showing appreciation to her now dead parents, she paints a ‘’Great picture” in their tribute. This in itself implies the intensity of her parental mentorship. She then embarks on her accomplishing her heart desires which is charity work. Ann recalls building several churches and almshouses for the poor (Sackville-West 2009 p.156).

She purportedly intends to dedicate her victory to the less fortunate in the society. One wonders why she was not in a position to do the same before taking over the inheritance. It is definitely evident that she had no resources to partake of the same. Her parents’ effort in accumulating massive wealth helps her accomplish her passionate endeavors for humankind. More so, were it not for the inheritance, she could have perhaps died without doing all these. Once more the impact of her parents in Ann’s life stands out.

Parental influence and mentorship had an influence that molded Ann’s character. She gets inspiration to fight for her inheritance without compromise. Through the legal involvements, she surprises many with her unrelenting spirit and unwavering determination as she confronts judges in both their chambers and private offices (Sackville-West 2009 p.188).

Though she records little of her father, she appreciates his effort in investing in the family. She finally settles do leave her to wish for others using the family property; another reason to appreciate her parents. In conclusion, this leads us to conclude that it is her parents who had a great impact on her life than any other person; not either her children or husband.

Works Cited

Sackville-West, Lady Anne Clifford. The Diary of the Lady Anne Clifford with an Introductory Notes. Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2009. Print.

Snook, Edith. Women, Reading, and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England. London, UK: Ashgate, 2005.

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