Alice in Wonderland Wiki
Alice in Wonderland Wiki
Duchess tenniel
General Information
Gender Woman
Occupation Duchess
Family Pig Baby (child)
Employee(s) The Cook
Other Information
Interests Morals
Behind The Scenes
Portrayed by Joyce Grenfell

Anni Long

The Duchess is a fictional character from the novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.


The Duchess lives in Wonderland in a small palace just outside the Caterpillar's forest. She employs a footman (who Alice thinks resembles a frog) and a Cook, and keeps the Cheshire Cat in her house. The duchess also has a baby who constantly screams and whines. When she first meets Alice in Chapter Six, the Duchess is sitting angrily in her kitchen with a baby on her lap. The Cook is stirring up thick clouds of pepper while preparing a meal, and the Duchess explains how she must constantly beat her child to keep it from sneezing. Taking pity on the baby, Alice spirits him away, only to find that he has transformed into a pig. She lets it go, admitting that while it wasn't a very attractive baby; it makes for a handsome pig.

When the Cheshire Cat appears at the Queen of Hearts' croquet party causing the Queen to wish it executed, Alice mentions that she believes the Cat belongs to the Duchess. After Alice says this, the Queen explains that the Duchess has been imprisoned in jail, then summons her while the Cat disappears. When Alice meets the Duchess for the second time at the Queen's croquet party, the Duchess is much more genial. Even so, Alice begins to suspect that the Duchess might actually have a pleasant personality after all, and that her earlier severity was brought on by the pepper.

As Alice and the Duchess chat, the Duchess repeatedly places her chin firmly on Alice's shoulder, which Alice finds uncomfortable as the Duchess has a very sharp, pointy chin. Throughout this encounter, the Duchess attempts to create a moral teaching for every observation which she or Alice make. She also blindly agrees with everything which Alice says, as when Alice incorrectly says that mustard is the mineral, the Duchess mentions that there is a mustard-mine nearby only for Alice to go back and correct herself on it being a vegetable which the Duchess agrees with and makes a moral of. The Duchess is ultimately chased off by the Queen of Hearts who says that either she goes, or her head does.

Other appearances[]

Alice in Wonderland (1949)[]


The Duchess and her baby in Alice in Wonderland (1949)

The Duchess appears in Dallas Bower's Alice in Wonderland film as a stop-motion puppet created by Lou Bunin, voiced by Joyce Grenfell. She sings to her baby and laments how she was once close to the Queen but experienced a fall from grace. When Alice asks why her cat is grinning, the Duchess snaps that it's a Cheshire Cat. Alice hands her an invitation from the Queen to play croquet. The Duchess is so overjoyed to be back in favor that she leaps up, dropping her baby on the ground. Meanwhile, the Duchess's cook is putting too much pepper in the soup she is making. Everyone begins to sneeze and the house explodes.

Later the Duchess appears at the Queen's croquet court, but the latter is in a foul mood and shouts that either she or her head must be off. The Duchess rushes away.

American McGee's Alice[]

In American McGee's Alice, the Duchess is the first boss. She appears similar to her novel counterpart in looks, wearing greenish, stained robes and headpiece. Her face is extremely ugly and fiercely contorted. This version of the Queen is cannibalistic, gluttonous and has stolen the Mock Turtle's shell for food. Alice battles her to reclaim the Mock Turtle's shell while the Duchess' weapon is a pepper-pot which she plans to use to season Alice to eat. Once defeated, the pepper gets up her nose, as in the novel, and she sneezes so hard that her head explodes.

Alice: Madness Returns[]

The Duchess returns in this game, with her house being located in the woods and lacking several walls. The Duchess has moved past her cannibalistic tendencies and instead has moved on to consuming pig meat (a diet still somewhat cannibalistic considering her pig child).

Memorable Quotes[]

  • Be what you would seem to be -- or, if you'd like it put more simply -- never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. -Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • "Speak roughly to your little boy and beat hmm when he sneezes. He inly does it to annoy because he knows it teases." Alice in Wonderland play. Act 1 - Scene 3.


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Characters

Alice The Mad Hatter The White Rabbit The Queen of Hearts The King of Hearts The Caterpillar The March Hare The Knave of Hearts The Cheshire Cat The Dormouse The Lory The Eaglet The Duck The Dodo Bill the Lizard Mary Ann Dinah Alice's Sister The Duchess The Cook The Executioner Father William Frog Footman Fish Footman The Pig Baby The Gryphon The Mock Turtle Tortoise The Playing Cards The Puppy