This is the couple that entertained Eugene in London on his two visits there in 1850 and 1857. Henry – or ‘Fitz’ as he was known – was a lukewarm Catholic in his youth through the influence of his father who left the Catholic Church, though he was reconciled before his death. Fitz married a Protestant, ‘Minna’, the daughter of an ennobled naval commander, in 1839. It was agreed that the daughters of the marriage would be brought up in their mother’s faith. During the 1840’s, however, Fitz came under the influence of the Comte de Montalembert and Lacordaire and underwent a conversion. He became estranged from his father, the 13th Duke of Norfolk. Shortly before Eugene’s visit to London in 1850, Minna was received into the Catholic Church, together with her daughters, by Fr. Fabre of the Oratory. One of their daughters became a Carmelite, one a Sister of Charity, and one married James Hope-Scott.

At the time of Eugene’s visit in 1850 Fitz was member of the House of Commons for Arundel and so was able to give Eugene access to the House on his visit. He succeeded to his father’s tile in 1856 and became 14th Duke of Norfolk. As the premier Duke of England he was now able to give Eugene access to the House of Lords when he visited in 1857. His London house was in St. James’ Square. In 1858 the Duke fell seriously ill and died a holy death in 1860.

Michael Hughes, o.m.i.