Eliza Emily Donnithorne could have lived a happy and peaceful life, but instead she spent more than 35 years locked up in her room and died of a heart attack all alone. Why Eliza deliberately chose to shut herself off from people and why she wore a wedding dress for 35 years, find out below.

Source: bigpicture.com

Eliza Emily Donnithorne was born into a wealthy family. Her father worked as master of the mint for the East India Company and later as a judge, and her mother took care of home. Eliza's childhood was a happy one. From a young age, the girl showed interest in science and art, was inquisitive and active. Her parents had high expectations of her.

When Eliza was 11 years old, her mother and two older sisters died during a cholera epidemic. The girl and her father couldn't get over the loss for a long time. Eliza became withdrawn, alienated, and her relationship with her father grew worse day by day. Soon James Donnithorne moved to Sydney, leaving his daughter with his son and his wife. Only a few years later the girl returned to her father. They settled in Cambridge Hall, a chic mansion in downtown Newtown near Sydney.

Source: bigpicture.com

When Eliza was 24 years old, her father started looking for a husband for her. He found eligible suitors from wealthy families. But the girl flatly refused to marry not for love. It was not long before she met her sweetheart.

Eliza's sweetheart was George Cuthbertson, a clerk with a shipping company. They met at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Newtown and immediately fell in love. Since George and Eliza belonged to different social classes, they had to hide their relationship. James Donnithorne soon realized his daughter was having an affair. And when he found out with whom, he forbade her to maintain any contact with her lover. Naturally, her father's ban only made Eliza's desire to be with George even more irresistible. Then her father came up with another idea...

Source: bigpicture.com

James Donnithorne allowed his daughter to openly maintain relations with Cuthbertson in the hope that feelings will subside and the couple will break up. However, this had the effect quite opposite of the one intended. George Cuthbertson proposed to Eliza. Of course, she accepted him.

The whole county was wondering what the wedding would be like. Some said that George only wanted money from Eliza, others said that he asked her to marry in spite of her father, who always disliked him. But one way or another, the groom never came to the wedding...

Source: bigpicture.com

Eliza waited at the altar for George until the last moment. She ordered that the table be left untouched and the gate ajar, hoping that the groom would appear at any moment and they would begin the ceremony. But he never came. The reason for his actions is still a mystery. Some historians think that the lad simply got scared, while others argue that Mr. Donnithorne may have bribed the young man and persuaded him not to marry his daughter. Some have suggested that the boy was murdered...

Source: bigpicture.com

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These events affected Eliza's mental health. The girl locked up in her room in her wedding dress and wouldn't contact the outside world. About a year later, her father passed away, and Eliza inherited her father's enormous fortune. But when Eliza became the owner of the estate, she had all the windows boarded up and no one was allowed in. She soon dismissed all her servants, leaving only one man to do the shopping. Thus, alone, Eliza Emily Donnithorne spent the next 35 years.

Source: bigpicture.com

In 1886, at the age of 65, Eliza died of a heart attack. It is even said that she was wearing the very same wedding dress at that moment. This fact became very symbolic to the people of the town, who still say, "Mr. Donnithorne's daughter died of a broken heart."

Source: bigpicture.com

The tragic story of Eliza became a famous Australian legend, which later inspired the writer Charles Dickens to create the character of Miss Havisham, the heroine of the novel Great Expectations. She was similarly left alone at the altar and never took off her wedding dress for the rest of her life. Later, a TV series of the same name was made based on the novel by Charles Dickens.

Why do you think the groom never came?

Source: bigpicture.com

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