Tennessee Celeste Claflin(1845–1923)
Beguiling Youngest Sister and Partner
True clairvoyant and medium, keenly intelligent yet uneducated, the youngest sister of Victoria and constant business partner combined a unique sexual charisma with instinctual street smarts. It was said that she could stupefy any man simply by crossing his path.
At age twenty-four Tennie C. became the paramour of the Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, age seventy-four, the richest man in post-civil war America. Working together, Victoria, Tennie C., and the Agents of Vanderbilt promoted the Gold Scandal of 1869, which brought the United States economy and financial markets to the brink of total collapse.
Later in life, Tennessee married one of the wealthiest men in all of England, Francis Cook, Viscount of Montserrat, Portugal. Within months of their marriage, Queen Victoria created a Cook Baronetcy. As the wife of an English Baronet, Claflin would thereafter have been correctly styled “Lady Cook, Viscountess of Montserrat.” She lived out her days as a queen at her Moorish, arabesque style castle in Sintra, near Lisbon, Portugal, and at her several other homes throughout Europe.
During her long life, she confided to Victoria that only one man had captured her heart, the Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt.