The royal affair came close to ruining Melba’s career. To offend high society’s code of conduct at that time was box-office suicide. Queen Victoria had already rejected her for a Faust at Windsor Castle in favour of Albani. The message was clear enough. Melba bowed to the conventions, remained discreetly silent and sent the Duc away. Charles Armstrong divorced her in Texas in 1900 on the grounds of six years’ desertion. She denied this through counsel.
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