Butler, Elizabeth (1615–1684), duchess of Ormond and Lady Dingwall , noblewoman, was the only child of Richard Preston , Lord Dingwall, one of James I's gentlemen of the bedchamber, and Elizabeth Butler, the only surviving child of Thomas Butler (qv), 10th earl of Ormond. King James adjudicated a dispute over the Ormond patrimony in a manner that led to Elizabeth's inheriting much of the Ormond estate on the death of her parents in 1628. The estate was reunited, however, on her marriage at Christmas 1629 to her cousin, James Butler (qv), heir to the title and the other part of the estate. The couple lived at Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, and in 1633 Elizabeth became countess of Ormond on her husband's succession to the earldom. Between 1632 and 1646 she bore him eight sons, five of whom died as children, and two daughters.
On the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion, Elizabeth moved to Kilkenny castle, the family seat, while her husband went to Dublin to command the king's army. She was resident at Kilkenny when that city became the capital of the Catholic Confederation; she assisted protestant refugees, giving them shelter in the castle, till she was permitted to join her husband in Dublin in 1642. There she continued to work on behalf of refugees and assisted in the reinforcement of the city's defences when it was under siege in 1646. The marchioness (as she became on her husband's promotion in 1642) followed Ormond to England in 1647 on his surrender of Dublin to the parliamentary forces, but when he decided to renew his fight for the royalist cause, she and her family moved to Caen in France. Here she was joined by the marquess in 1651, but there was no money to support the family. The next year, therefore, she returned to England with her children to plead with Cromwell for some income from the land that belonged to her. After considerable delay, she received enough support to enable her to take up residence in her house at Dunmore, Co. Kilkenny, in 1657; it was granted, however, only on condition that she have no correspondence with Ormond.
On Charles II's restoration, Elizabeth sent valuable political information to her husband from Ireland before they were reunited in England. In March 1661 Ormond was elevated to a dukedom and the following year was appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, in which capacity he served until 1669 and again (1677–85). The duchess maintained a household that befitted the family's rank and status. She spent lavishly on entertainment and on restoring and improving the family estates, but her letters also reveal a concern to reduce the debts of her husband and sons. In 1681 her health began to decline and she died 21 July 1684 in London, and was buried three days later at Westminster abbey. Her husband, who was devoted to her, was buried beside her in 1688.