Gloria Vanderbilt and her mother

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt was only 10 when she became an unwilling tabloid sensation. It was 1934, and she was the subject of a nasty custody battle between her widowed mother and her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Depression-era Americans eagerly read about the acrimonious trial, which was open to the press until the day a maid accused Gloria’s mother of having an affair with a relative of the British Royal Family in court. Newspapers dubbed Gloria “the poor little rich girl,” kicking off a wave of media attention that followed her until her death on June 17, 2019.

Gloria, a society heiress who later launched a fashion empire built on designer jeans, was born on February 20, 1924 to Gloria Morgan and Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, great-grandson of the famous railroad tycoon. Reginald was a heavy drinker and gambler who was 24 years older than the teenage Gloria Morgan. By the time Reginald died from cirrhosis of the liver, he had blown through his money and racked up lots of debt. His 18-month-old daughter Gloria stood to inherit part of a family trust fund when she reached age 21, but until then, she and her mother would live on interest payments.

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Over the next several years, Gloria Morgan lived in opulent style on those payments. The Swiss-born socialite went back to Europe, where her twin sister was mistress to Edward, Prince of Wales. Gloria Morgan moved in the same royal circles and briefly became engaged to the German prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. When her daughter got tonsillitis, she took Gloria back to the U.S. for an operation, then left the girl to recover with her aunt Gertrude on Long Island while she went back to Europe for several months.

Source – Becky Little. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com).