In 1683 William Russell was executed for supposed involvement in the Rye House Plot, a conspiracy to kill King Charles II and his
brother, the future James II. The evidence against him was flimsy and amounted to guilt by association. He should have been
more discreet about the company he kept. He had no interest in harming Charles or James, but he did want to keep James off the
throne. After Charles' death, James was run out of the country and William III took the throne. Because of William Russell's
sacrifice toward keeping James off the throne, King William rewarded the family with the dukedom. William Russell's father
became the 1st Duke and the title passed to William's son. Woburn Abbey became the Dukedom's seat.
In the story... Odo Russell
was a nephew of the 7th Duke of Bedford
(duke 1839-1861), with no prospects of inheriting a title or property. He first meets Diana at a ball at
in London. Later he acts as her personal host
when she and the Duke of Devonshire
are weekend guests at
Woburn Abbey. She comes to think of all the younger Russells as friends and regards her association with Odo as platonic.
Woburn Abbey is just north of London and she is a frequent guest there, staying in Queen Victoria's bedroom.