Lady Astor (1879 - 1964)

From humble beginnings to international renown - that is the story of Nancy Langhorne Shaw Astor.

The famous woman whom many know only as Lady Astor was born in Danville in what is now the Langhorne House. Nancy grew up in Richmond and at "Mirador," the family estate near Charlottesville. After a childhood of poverty, teen years of plenty, and early womanhood in an unhappy marriage, it seemed to her that her life had ended, with little hope for a fulfilling future. But in 1905 she met Waldorf Astor. With her marriage to Waldorf in 1906, she moved to England and into a world of love, luxury, and opportunity.

In 1910 Waldorf was elected to represent Plymouth in the House of Commons. However, when his father, who was by then a viscount, died in 1919, Waldorf had to leave the Commons and take his father's seat in the House of Lords. Nancy ran for Waldorf's seat, pledging to be an advocate for the people - for women, children, and families. Nancy was elected and became the first woman to be seated in the British Parliament, where she fulfilled her promises.

She held the seat for 25 years.