Saturday, April 18, 2020

William III of England----

File:Willem III (1650-1702), prins van Oranje. Stadhouder, sedert 1689 tevens koning van Engeland Rijksmuseum SK-A-1228.jpeg
William III of England
King of England.

Son of Willem II, Prince of Orange & Mary of England, Princess Royal.

Wife of Mary II of England, mar 1677.

Physical appearance & personal qualities.

"Of course there were differences between William II and his son. The father seems to have been a handsome fellow, but William III was anything but an Adonis. His legs were much too short in proportion to the rest of his body, and he had a long, narrow, hooked and rather crooked nose. William was an open, affable man; his son on the other hand was formal and aloof. And in the sexual field there was a world of difference between the Oranges." (William III the Stadholder-king: A Political Biography: 24)

His lovers were:

Elizabeth Hamilton
 Countess of Orkney
Elizabeth Hamilton (1657–1733)
Countess of Orkney
Lover in 1677.

British aristocrat, courtier & royal mistress

" . . . Elizabeth, a Maid of Honor to Princess Mary, became mistress to William of Orange soon after his marriage to Mary. On November 25, 1695, she married a distant cousin, Lord George Hamilton (1666-1737) fifth son of William, Duke of Hamilton; on January 3, 1696, Lord George was created Earl of Orkney." (Court Satires of the Restoration: 291) 

" . . . King William though did not remarry after Queen Mary's death.; yet he did take to himself a mistress, Elizabeth Villiers, who had been one of his late wife's ladies-in-waiting." (The British Chronicles, Vol. 1: 353)

". . . . was one of the ladies-in-waiting to Princess (afterwards Queen) Mary at the time of her marriage with William of Orange. She became the prince's mistress, for although 'destitute of personal attractions and disfigured by a hideous squint,' she was a woman of considerable talents, and 'to the end of her life great politicians sought her advice.' In 1693 William employed her in vain to try and induce the Duke of Shrewsbury to accept office. . . . " (The Dictionary of English History: 1038)

Physical appearance & personal qualities.

" . . . All that is known regarding the personal qualifications of the rival of Mary II is left by the graphic pen of lady Mary Wortley Montagu:---'Mrs. Villiers had no beauty, but she contrived to thaw the phlegmatic heart of William III, and make him very bountiful, by granting her the private estates in Ireland belonging to his uncle, James II. After the death of her royal lover she became a high tory, if not a Jacobite, and was very busy with Harley and Swift in expelling the whigs.' Swift calls her 'the wisest woman he ever knew,' and leaves her portrait as a legacy in his will. We presume it not exactly correspond with that sketched by lady Mary, whose wit was equalled, if possible by her malice. She describes her walking at George II's coronation:---'She that drew the greatest number of eyes was indisputably lady Orkney; she displayed a mixture of fat and wrinkles, and no little corpulence. Add to this the inimitable roll of her eyes, and her gray hairs, which by good fortune stood directly upright, and it is impossible to imagine a more delightful spectacle. She had embellished all this with considerable magnificence, which made her look as big again as usual.' . . . ." (Strickland. Lives of the Queens of England: , Vol. 8: 10)

Personal & family background.
"Villiers, Elizabeth – (1657 – 1733), British courtier. Elizabeth Villiers was the daughter of Colonel Sir Edward Villiers, of Richmond in Surrey, and his wife Lady Frances Howard, the daughter of Theophilus Howard, second Earl of Suffolk. Elizabeth was cousin to Barbara Villiers the mistress of Charles II, whilst her mother was governess to Mary and Anne, the daughters of James II. Elizabeth and her sister Anne accompanied Mary Stuart to the Dutch court at The Hague, after her marriage with William II (1677). Nimble-minded and witty, but considered no beauty she became the mistress of King William III (1688 – 1702) though their relationship produced no children. She accompanied the queen to England (1689) where her liaison with William continued. This was the cause of much distress to Queen Mary, and because of a cast in her eye, Elizabeth was popularly referred to as ‘Squint-eyed Betty.’

Affair's benefits.
"William granted considerable estates in Ireland to Elizabeth which had formerly belonged to James II, though these grants were later revoked by the parliament (1699). With the queen’s death (1694) William arranged for Elizabeth to be married (1695) to George Hamilton (1666 – 1737), who was created earl of Orkney (1696) in recognition of Elizabeth’s services to the crown. Jonathon Swift was impressed by her mental capacities, though not by her looks, and she was consulted by Sir Robert Harley during the later government crisis (1709 – 1710) during the reign of Queen Anne. She attended the coronation of George II (1728) where Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu left a cuttingly unkind description of her appearance at this event. Elizabeth Villiers died (April 19, 1733) aged seventy-five, in London. Her three surviving daughters by Hamilton were: Lady Anne Hamilton (1701 – 1756). She succeeded her father as second Countess of Orkney (1737 – 1756) and was married to William O’Brien (c1693 – 1777), fourth Earl of Inchiquin and left issue; Lady Frances Hamilton (1702 – 1772). She became the wife of Thomas Lumley (died 1752), third Earl of Scarborough, and left issue; and Lady Henrietta Hamilton (1704 – 1732). She became the first wife of John Boyle (1707 – 1762), fifth Earl of Cork and Orrery, and left issue." (Women of History - V)

". . . She married George Hamilton, afterwards Earl of Orkney. William bestowed on her a grant of part of the old crown property in Ireland (estimated at £24,000, though really only about £4,000 a year), and this grant became very unpopular when grossly exaggerated in value by the commission sent to inquire into the Irish forfeitures (1699). It was against Lady Orkney, Woodstock, and Keppel that the Resumption Bill of 1700 was chiefly directed." (Pulling. 
The Dictionary of English History1038).

" . . . The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was Maid of Honour to Mary of Orange, and married Lord George Hamilton (third son of William, Duke of Hamilton), who was created Earl of Orkney. She became the mistress of William III, and as such obtained immense grants of land, which caused great scandal and public invective. She is said, however, not in other respects to have abused her influence with the King, and she founded an English school at Middleton, Cork. . . ." (The Great Governing Families of England, Vol. 2: 115)

Effects on lovers' family, other people and society.
" . . . More problematic was the role of Elizabeth Villiers, sister of Bentinck's wife and William's mistress. Though not known for her beauty,she was intelligent, cunning and wit y and clearly appealed to William more than did Mary. Bentinck often secretly ushered Elizabeth through his own apartments to those of William. However,a strong dislike of his sister-in-law and a sense of loyalty to Mary -- who clearly suffered emotionally from the liaison-- led him into perhaps the only outright conflict with his master. When Mary confronted her husband with her knowledge of his amorous affair, both Bentinck and his wife Anne sided with the Princess. William was furious and temporarily banished his confidant from court. . . ." (Onnekink. The Anglo-Dutch Favourite: The Career of Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland23)
Arnold van Keppel
1st Earl of Albemarle
Arnold van Keppel (1670-1718)
1st Earl of Albermarle 1697
Lover in 1686.

Dutch courtier, army officer & royal favourite.

Page of Honour to William III 1685
Groom of the Bedchamber 1695
Master of the Robes 1695
Commander of the First Life Guards 1699
Major-General 1697

Son of Oswald van Keppel & Anna Geertruid van Lintelo.

Husband of Geertruid Johanna Quirina.

Young, handsome, lively, a keen womanizer.
" . . . Then in 1692 a young Dutchman named Arnold Joost van Keppel attracted William's attention. Keppel was twenty-three, handsome, and in every way Bentinck's opposite, being lively and amusing and a keen womanizer. Soon Keppel had more access to the king than the older man, and Bentinck's apartments in Kensington Palace with their private door into William's were reassigned to Keppel. . . ." (Crompton. Homosexuality and Civilization: 405)

Handsome, lively, remarkable grace & sprightly manners.
"Of all the King's followers, Albemarle possessed the strongest hold on his affections. This nobleman had few of the characteristics usually attributed to the Dutch. He was neither portly of person nor grave in demeanour, nor, it must be added, of thrifty habits; but his very handsome features were animated by a lively disposition, and accompanied by remarkable grace and sprightliness of manners. Perhaps it was the contrast between his natural gaiety and William's constitutional phlegm that rendered him so acceptable to that monarch." (Keppel. The Life of Augustus, Viscount Keppel, Vol 1: 3)

Arnold the womaniser & seducer.
" . . . The Keppels were, of course, descended from Arnold Joost van Keppel, the protege and favourite of William III, whose youth and good looks made such an impression on the Dutchman that many believed they were lovers. But Keppel was a notorious womaniser and nearly caused one international scandal 'by trying to seduce the mistress of the Elector of Bavaria and who did cause another by having a child by Mme de Richelieu, the latter, a daughter of Hortense Mancini was renowned for her beauty and later went on to become the mistress of Henri Jules, Prince de Conde, son of 'La Grande' Conde." (Royal Sex)

Personal and family background.
" . . . Arnold Joost van Keppel, Lord of Voorst, was a younger son of Bernard van Pallant, Lord of Keppel, the representative of a noble house in Gelderland. Like his rival the Earl of Portland, Arnold Van Keppel rose to eminence from being a Page to William III. He came to England with that monarch at the Revolution, and his manners and person being prepossessing, he soon rose high in favour with his master through the aid of Lord Sunderland and Mrs. Villiers, who wished to destroy the influence of Lord Portland. . . ." (Northon. Court Magazine, and Monthly Critic: 129)

Physical appearance & personality
"The advantages for which the Earl of Albemarle was principally distinguished, were his lively and ingratiating manners, his open and handsome countenance, his invariable good humour and kindness of heart, and the very free manner in which he spent his money and entertained his friends. John Macky says of him,---'He was King William's constant companion in all his diversions and pleasures . . . is beautiful in his person; open and free in his conversation; very expensive in his manner of living; about thirty years old.' . . ." (Jesse. Memoirs of the Court of England, Vol. 1: 238)

Keppel's distinct advantages.
"The advantages for which the Earl of Albemarle was principally distinguished, were his lively and ingratiating manners, his open and handsome countenance, his invariable good-humour and kindness of heart, and the very free manner in which he spent his money, and entertained his friends. . . ." (Memoirs of the Court of England from the Revolution in 1688 to the Death of George II: 238)

Character or persona.
" . . . He was a cheerful young man, that had the art to please, but was so much given up to his own pleasures, that he could scarce submit to the attendance and drudgery that was necessary to maintain his post... He was not cold nor dry... [T]he Earl of Albemarle had all the arts of a court, was civil to all, and procured many favours. . . ." (Jesse. Memoirs of the Court of England, Vol. 1: 237)

Affair's benefits.
" . . . On the 10th of February, 1696, he was created Baron Ashford, of Ashford in Kent, Viscount Bury in Lancashire, and Earl of Albemarle, in Normandy. . . [T]he new peer was enriched as well as ennobled, having been promoted to the rank of general in the army, and entrusted with the command of the Horse Guards, and the Swiss in Holland, together with a legacy of 200,000 guilders. . . [H]e held places of great profit and dignity under Queen Anne and George I. . . ." (Northon. Court Magazine: 129)

"...Arnold Joost van Keppel, the sixteen-year-old lover of King William III, came over with William from Holland in 1688 and was rewarded for his affections with the earldom of Albemarle and a clutch of other titles." (Lacey. 
Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II: 52)

" . . . King William awarded him...108, 634 acres of confiscated land in Ireland, even though he was a lad barely of age who not rendered his adopted country any service.  This grant was not upheld by Parliament. . . ." (The Peerage: 1684)

"The affection of King William for Lord Albemarle continued unabated to the end of his life, and his was the last name he ever uttered.  In 1699, the King had given him his fine seat of Loo in Holland, and at his death bequeathed him the lordship of Beevoorst and 200,000 guelders, the only legacy he gave away from the Prince of Nassau, whom he made his heir. . . ."  (Keppel. The Life of Augustus, Viscount Keppel: 7)

Favoured by other VIPs, too.
" . . . Lord Albemarle, however, was not the mere idle courtier the bishop's sketch of him would lead us to infer. He bore a distinguished part in King William's campaigns, and after the decease of his royal master, served with much credit under the Duke of Marlborough and the Prince Eugene, with both of whom he lived on terms of much intimacy and friendship. . . Lord Albemarle's pleasing manners seem to have procured him many complimentary embassies. At the death of Queen Anne, he was sent by the States General to congratulate her successor, George the First, upon his accession to the throne. The same year he attended Caroline, Princess of Wales, from Hanover to Rotterdam; and in 1717 he was nominated by the nobles of Holland to compliment the Czar Peter on his arrival in Amsterdam.  He died the following year." (Keppel. The Life of Augustus, Viscount Keppel: 5)

Spouse & children.
He " . . . married in 1701, Gertrude, daughter of Adam Vander Duin, lord of St. Gravemear, in Holland, and had two children, William Anne his successor. . . , and Sophia, who married to John Thomas, Esq., brother of Sir Edward Thomas, Baronet, of Wenvoc Castle. . . ." (Northon. Court Magazine: 129)

Achievements & Honours: Baron van Keppel; Page of Honour to the Prince of Orange (1688); Groom of the Bedchamber to King William III (1691-1695); Knight of Zutphen (1692); Herr van der Voorst in Gelderland (1692); Knight of Holland & West Friesland (after 1692); Master of the Robes (1695-1697); Major-General (1697); 1st Earle of Albemarle (1696/97); 1st Baron Ashford (1696/97); 1st Viscount Bury (1696/97); Colonel, 1st Horse Guards (1698); Knight, Order of the Garter (1700); Sat in the Nobles of the States General (1702); Lord of Breevost and 200,000 guilders (1701/02); Doctor of Laws (Hon.), Cambridge University (1705); Commander of Dutch Forces in Battle of Ramilles (1706); Commander of Dutch Forces, Battle of Oudenarde (1708); Battle of Denain (1712).

". . . His [William III] new fascination was one of his page-boys, a rakish fop named Arnold Joost van Keppel. Keppel had captured the king's attention when he suffered a riding accident in 1691, an eerie echo of the James I-Robert Carr affair. But it was not until after Mary's death---when she, and by her directive, Elizabeth, were both out of his picture---that William fixated on Keppel. . . ." (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 247)

"William's second love was another young Dutchman, Arnold Joost Keppel, who consoled him in his final years. When Madame heard that Keppel had almost 'died of grief' at the king's death in 1702, she remarked sadly, reflecting on the self-seeking greed of Monsieur's lovers, 'We have hardly seen any similar friendship here in my husband's circle.'. . . ." (Homosexuality and Civilization: 348)

"Despite the rumors about his relationship with William, if the king had been homosexual, the world would have heard about it long before they decided to gossip about Keppel. Servants could be bought for a song, and foreign ambassadors were always eager to send damaging information back to their homelands. Certainly Bentinck, the straight arrow in every way who knew William better than anyone, would have raised the issue of the king's proclivities years before the Keppel kerfuffle. Although the scandal reached international proportions as the gossip spread from drawing rooms to military camps to foreign courts, what is most likely that the middle-aged William saw the young flamboyant Keppel as the son he never had. Or not. In any event, the king's outsized indulgence toward his protege sparked jealousy from others---particularly his oldest and dearest friend, the man who had risked his own life to save his sovereign's." (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 248)
Arnold van Keppel
1st Earl of Albemarle

Arnold van Keppel's other lovers were:
1) Hortense ManciniDuchesse de Mazarin.
"Keppel was a ladies' man as well. Toward the beginning of William's reign, when Keppel was a mere colonel in the Horse Guards, he commenced a torrid affair with a sultry older woman, Hortense Mancini, who had been one of Charles II's mistresses. . . ." (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 247)

"Her current inamorato was the Earl of Albermarle, Arnold Joost van Keppel, rumoured love interest of none other than King William III of England. Van Keppel, however, was adept at this apparent balancing act (as, it appears, was the Duchesse herself) and certainly went on to leap to the heterosexual side of the fence with a vengeance. Hortense was more than twenty years older than the Earl so that the entrance upon the stage of a younger woman creates for us a familiar scenario. Adding stridency to the plot is the fact that this young woman was Hortense's own daughter, Marie-Charlotte, Marquise de Richelieu, who had carried on the family tradition by vaulting a convent wall, having been put behind it by her husband and father to seek her fortune in freedom. . . ." (Shadow on Earth: Hortense Duchess Mazarin)

2) Marie-Charlotte de La Porte Mazarin (1662-1729)

Daughter of: Armand-Charles de La Porte, Duc de Meilleraye & Hortense Mancini, Duchesse de Mazarin.

Wife of: Louis-Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, Duc d'Aiguillon. (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 247)

" . . . Then he dumped Hortense for her daughter, Marie-Charlotte, but that relationship did not last long." (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 247)

Hans Willem Bentinck

William Bentinck (1649-1709)
1st Earl of Portland

Dutch nobleman & royal favourite.

Page to William III of Orange 1664.

Husband of:
1. Anne Villiers (d.1688) mar 1678

2. Jane Martha Temple (1672-1751) Baroness Berkeley 1700.

" . . . But William's strongest and most enduring bonds throughout his lifetime were with men. Of these, the most important was William Bentinck, a Dutch aristocrat a year older than William who had entered his household as a page at the age of sixteen. Like William, he was serious, capable, and conscientious; he soon became his closest friend, advisor, and trusted political intimate, a role he was to play for three decades. When at age twenty-five the prince's life was threatened by smallpox, his doctors, following a custom of the day, decreed that a young man of his own age should share his bed 'to draw off the fever.' Bentinck, who had faithfully attended William in the sick room, volunteered. The prince recovered; Bentinck himself contracted the disease but survived." (Crompton. Homosexuality and Civilization: 405)

Physical appearance & personal qualities.
"Unlike William, Hans Willem was a healthy boy with a strong constitution. As a young man he once took the field as officer immediately after having recovered from a near-fatal smallpox. According to the anonymous chronicler 'Monsieur de B.', describing him as a grown-up, Hans Willem 'was quite tall, a bit stiff, blond-haired tending to red . . . the face, though not irregular, had nothing attractive'. He had little inclination for intellectual pursuits; Gilbert Burnet later spoke of the 'defects of his education'. As a younger son, Hans Willem was probably trained and prepared for service in the army. . . ." (The Anglo-Dutch Favourite: 9)

The pageboy who saved his sovereign's life
"Meanwhile, rumors that William was gay surfaced from time to time over the years as well, although given the chance to cat around, he had numerous heterosexual liaisons, most of which were kept under wraps. It is possible that when William was fourteen years old he developed a crush on Hans Willem Bentinck, who that year entered his household as a pageboy. Ten years later, when William was felled by smallpox, he was certain that Bentinck had save his life by sharing his bed, as it was commonly believed that a healthy person sleeping beside a smallpox patient would draw some of the illness into themselves. Bentinck would go on to become William's closest and most trusted adviser. In 1689, after the Glorious Revolution, William naturalized Bentinck a British subject and created him Earl of Portland and made him a Knight of the Garter in 1697." (Royal Affairs: 240)

Affair's beneficiaries.
"Although due to the lack of relevant source material it is not feasible to get a clear picture of Bentinck's client network, evidence suggests that his power was mainly concentrated at Court. He managed to allot significant posts to his relatives and dependants (sic). In 1680 for instance, he had his cousin Van Voorst appointed steward. . . . " 
(Onnekink. The Anglo-Dutch Favourite22)
Hans Bentinck
1st Earl of Portland
" . . . The perception that she and others shared of William's homosexuality was based largely on his attachment to a Dutch nobleman, William Bentinck, who had become his page at fifteen and a life-long valued friend and adviser. Apparently Bentinck (whom William had made earl of Portland after he assumed the English throne) felt less constrained in Paris than in Holland and Britain, for when he was sent to France as ambassador in 1697, Madame remarked, no doubt with some exaggeration, that 'all those who came with my lord Portland' were openly involved in same-sex relations." (Crompton. Homosexuality and Civilization: 348)

Effects on lovers' families, other people & society.
". . . Early in their marriage, she (that is, Queen Mary) had come to adore William, ever (sic) after fearing she would lose half of herself every time he went off to war. His long affair with Elizabeth Villiers, even if it had grown platonic over time, had broken her heart. . . . " (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 246)

Bentinck's other lovers were:
1) Susannah Willis

"...In 1675 Bentinck had a remarkable opportunity of shewing (sic) his affection for his master, and securing his attachment.  The prince falling ill of the smallpox, it was thought necessary by the physicians that he should receive the natural warmth of a young person lying in the same bed with him.  Bentinck, though he never had the disease, offered himself for this purpose; and during sixteen days and nights never quitted him.  He caught the distemper in a dangerous manner; but he had unchangeably fixed the prince's kindness for his whole future life...."  (A'Beckett. A Universal Biography, Vol. 1: 411)

James II of England----

James II of England
King of England
Ireland & Scotland

Son of Charles I of England & Henrietta Maria of France.

Husband of:
1. Anne Hyde, mar 1660
2. Maria di Modena, mar 1673

He liked 'em young & plain.
"But James had many mistresses, in fact he was as big of a rake as his brother Charles II. He was taller, handsomer, if somewhat dimmer than his brother. While Charles was swarthy, favoring his Bourbon ancestors, James was fair. Perhaps we don't hear as much about his mistresses, because for the most part, they didn't dazzle the court the way that Charles II's did. Not for James II, a Nell Gwyn, or a Barbara Castlemaine. No James liked them young and plain for the most part, most of his mistresses were in their teens, at least at the start of the relationship. His taste in woman was catholic, if they were willing, then he was able. His brother Charles II once remarked on both the quality and quantity of his brother's conquests, encouraging the joke that James was given his mistresses by his priests as a penance! Although some of James's mistresses were known for being beautiful, such as the Countess of Chesterfield, and Susan, Lady Belasyse, it was the uglier ones that seemed to last the longest." (Scandalous Woman)

An equal record and a busy decade of philandering.

" . . . James had fewer [compared to his brother Charles II] yet certainly as many mistresses, and had a busy decade in the 1660s in particular. Some were able to resist James's advances, including in 1662 and 1663 Elizabeth Hamilton, 'La Belle Hamilton', sister of Anthony Hamilton, author of the memoirs of Grammont; and most notoriously, Frances Stuart, 'la belle Stuart', later duchess of Lennox and Richmond, who from 1663 to 1667 held back both James's and Charles's best efforts. But if we exclude his early relationship with Anne Hyde, James's affairs followed thing and fast from the Restoration -- Goditha Price (1660-1), one of the first four maids of honour to the duchess Anne; Anne Carnegie, countess of Southesk (1660-1), daughter of William, second duke of Hamilton; Elizabeth Stanhope, countess of Chesterfield (1662-3), Ormonde's daughter; Arabella (1665-78), sister of Sir John Churchill, and Margaret Brooke, Lady Denham (1666), wife of Sir John Denham, the poet and MP, came in quick and sometimes overlapping succession. Other than a brief infatuation with the widowed Susan, Lady Bellasyse (1671), who James viewed as a potential second wife after Anne's death before Charles gave his veto, and a scandalous relationship with a 'commoner' in Mary (Moll) Kirke, daughter of George Kirke, groom of the bedchamber to Charles -- she was sent from the court in 1675 having acted simultaneously as mistress to various courtiers while being married herself -- Arabella became James's regular mistress. With this slender an somewhat plain companion, considering the voluptuous taste of the day, he had four natural children from 1667 to 1674, all given the Fitzjames surname, including most famously James Fitzjames, duke of Berwick, the great soldier who would become a marshal of France. Anne was initially furious at her husband's activities and then became resigned, taking solace in heavy eating. In fact James continued his relationship with Arabella until she was replaced by Catherine Sedley in 1678. James had several children by Catherine but only their daughter Lady Catherine Darnley reached maturity. By the time James travelled to Scotland in 1679, with Catherine in tow, their affair had begun. It was a typical development in the sexual dynamics of the Restoration court -- the majority of the mistresses of James and Charles were either already or would become maids of honour to their respective wives. Their royal households were the recruiting grounds for promiscuous sisterhood." (James VII: Duke and King of Scots: 1633)

Mistresses as Penance.

". . . Indeed, Charles II once taunted his Catholic younger brother by suggesting that his mistresses generally were so ugly they must have been imposed upon him by his confessor, Anthony Hamilton. . . . " (Frey & Frey. The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession: 104)

Anne Hyde's other lovers:
Henry Sidney, 1st Earl of Romney (1641-1704)
British politician, army officer & diplomat.

Henry Sidney's spouse & children: ". . . A handsome man who has renowned for being unscrupulous in his sexual relations, he never married, though he was said to have fathered many children." (Royal Irish Academy)

James II's lovers were.
Anne, Duchess of York
@Peter Mould Ltd.

Anne Hyde 
Lover in 1659-1660.

Daughter of Edward Hyde1st Earl of Clarendon & Frances Aylesbury

Wife of James, Duke of York, future James II of England, mar 1660.

"The most significant liaison established by James when in exile was with Anne Hyde, the eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hyde, Charles's chief minister. Anne left England with her mother and siblings in 1649, when she was twelve years old, and from then until at least 1653 they lived mostly in Antwerp, with occasional visits to Brussels. In 1652 Anne visited for the first time the court of Mary at The Hague and, making an impression, two years later became at the age of eighteen one of her maids of honour. A year later [1655], when Mary visited her mother in Paris, Anne met James for the first time. His unwillingness to join Charles in the Spanish Netherlands may in part have been due to his early fascination with Anne. But when James moved to the royal court in Bruges and Brussels he was able to make regular visits to court Anne, and in November 1659 at Breda, they had contracted with each other to marry. While the secret contract remained just that, Henrietta Maria had already, out of her hatred of Anne's father, pressed Princess Mary to dismiss Anne. In this she was unsuccessful as she was in one of her missions in England after the Restoration intended to break the relationship between Anne and her son. . . As it was, by the spring of 1660 Anne discovered she was pregnant through James before she embarked with the royal party for London. When there, pressure grew on James to make a decision on whether to marry her formally and declare her his wife, or to label her a mistress, which perhaps his duty to his family dictated. Hyde himself was appalled and would have preferred the status of 'mistress' to, from his of his own perspective the politically dangerous 'royal wife'. Therefore, at midnight on 3 September 1660, a mere six weeks before their child was born, they were married secretly by James's Anglican chaplain James Crowther with as witnesses Thomas Butler, sixth earl of Ossory, son of Ormonde, and Ellen Stroude, one of Anne's maids. . . ." (James VII: Duke and King of Scots: 1592-93)

Courtship by seduction and impregnating.
"James II was a prolific philanderer, even rivaling his brother Charles II, with most reports putting the number at around eleven official mistresses. James had unusual tastes in women: while other men of his time followed the baroque model of heavy-set, voluptuous women, James was attracted to young slim teens. In 1659, James seduced Anne Hyde who was Maid of Honor to his sister, Princess Mary, while they were living in exile in Europe after the English civil war. Charles II forced James to marry Anne, despite her unattractiveness, after she was found to be pregnant by James. So his first mistress became his wife. Anne and James went on to have 8 children, 6 of whom died in infancy, with only two surviving: Mary, 1662 and Anne, 1665. . . ." (Top 10 Philandering English Monarchs)
L. Claefsens, Anna Hamilton, Countess of Southesk, d. 1695. Wife of R. Carnegie, 3rd Earl of Southesk
Anne Hamilton
Countess of Southesk

Anne Hamilton (1639/49-1695)
Lover in 1660-1661.

Daughter of: William Hamilton, 2nd Duke of Hamilton & Lady Elizabeth Maxwell.

Wife of: Robert Carnegie, 3rd Earl of Southesk, mar 1664, sep 1671.

"Ann, daughter of William, second duke of Hamilton, married Robert Carnegie, third earl of Southesk, a nobleman of some talents, and who was noticed in the courts of Charles II and Lewis XIV. She is represented by count Grammont as being very free of her favours to a numerous train of admirers. James, then duke of York, deeply enamoured often paid her visits;but equally fearful of giving offence to lord Southesk and the duchess of York; he was always accompanied by a second person; but however guarded this method might appear, it so happened that the earl was informed, when in Scotland,that the duke paid his lady very particular attention. . . ." (Noble. A Biographical History of England: 362)

Lady Anne's personal & family background.

"Lady Anne Hamilton was the eldest daughter of William, second Duke of Hamilton, who, like all his family, was distinguished in the civil wars for his devoted and chivalrous loyalty. He lost his life at the battle of Rochester, fighting for an ungrateful and worthless King; and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Maxwell (the daughter of the Earl of Dirletown) whom he had married very young in 1638, was left a widow, with four daughters, the eldest, Lady Anne, being then about eleven years old." (Jameson. Memoirs of the Beauties of the Court of Charles the Second: 224)

Free favours to a train of admirers.

" . . . She is represented by count Grammont as being free of her favours to a numerous train of admirers. James, then duke of York, deeply enamoured, often paid her visits; but equally fearful of giving offence to lord Southesk and the duchess of York, he was always accompanied by a second person; but however guarded this method might appear, it so happened that the earl was informed, when in Scotland, that the duke paid his lady very particular attention. The cautious Southesk, dissembling his uneasiness, determined to watch the parties closely, till he could ascertain whether the duke had transgressed beyond the bounds of common gallantry. . . ." (Jameson. Memoirs of the Beauties of the Court of Charles the Second: 364)

"Only one among them was an aristocratic by birth, and that was 'the innately dissipated and unrestrainable' Anne Southesk, who was the daughter of the Duke of Hamilton... Lady Southesk had been the Duke of York's mistress at the Restoration until her indignant husband returned from Scotland (according to Pepys she gave the Duke 'a clap [i.e. the pox] upon his first coming over'). . . ." (Beauclerk. Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King: 210)

Lady Anne's other lover was.

Lord Chesterfield.
" . . . The very first notice we have of Lady Anne Hamilton, when she could not be more than eighteen, exhibits her as the friend and companion of Lady Castlemaine (then Mrs. Palmer) and not only involved, as her confidante, in her intrigue with Lord Chesterfield, but most probably at the same time the object of his attentions.  She was then apparently a beautiful giddy flirt, prepared by the lessons and example of Lady Castlemaine for every species of mischief; and there is too much reason to believe, that when she attracted the notice of Lord Carnegie, the eldest son of the Earl of Southesk, she had ceased to be worthy of the hand or name of any man delicate on the score of female propriety, or jealous of his own honour." (Memoirs of the Beauties of the Court of Charels the Second: 80)

Goditha Price.

Lover in 1660-1661.
Maid-of-Honour to the Duchess of York.

"Miss Price's history is unknown except in a few details. Granger mentions a Lady Price, a fine woman, who was daughter of Sir Edmond Warcup. Her father had the vanity to thing that Charles II would marry her, and there is a letter of his in which he mentions that 'his daughter was one night and t'other with the King, and very graciously received by him.' Miss Prince was fond of fun and frolic, and especially of amorous adventure. It was believed that she had lost her virginity even before she came to Court. In love and passion she was unscrupulous. There was one Dongan who was attached to Miss Blagge, whom Miss Price seduced from his allegiance. Elizabeth Hamilton gave each of these girls a pair of gloves for a masquerade, and Miss Prince, who called to thank her, said she would certainly wear them on that occasion. 'You will oblige me if you do,' said the donor, 'but if you mention such a trifle as this comes from me, I shall never forgive you; but do not go and rob poor Miss Blagge of the Marquis Brisacier, as you already have of Dongan. I know very well that it is in your power; you have wit; you speak French, and were he once to converse with you ever so little, the other could have no pretensions to him.' This appeal was, of course, well-intentioned, but surely unwise to deliver to a lady already confident enough in her prowess of attraction. As Grammont put it, 'Miss Blagge was only ridiculous and coquettish; Miss Price was ridiculous, coquettish, and something more besides.' The ball took place, and Grammont is the authority for what took place there." (The Windsor Beauties: Ladies of the Court of Charles II: 91)

" . . . James was also known to have had an affair with Goditha Price, daughter of the 1st Baronet of the Priory. . . ." (Derrick)

Goditha's other lover was:
1. Robert Dongan

" . . . One of her lovers was Robert Dongan of whom we have already heard. Gramont, who calls him 'Duncan,' relates with gay malice the struggle for him between Miss Price and Miss Blague, and the victory of the former. But Dongan died, leaving Miss Price, 'plunged in a gulf of despair,' and bequeathing to her a sealed box. . . ." (Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot: 166)

Elizabeth Stanhope.

Countess of Chesterfield.
Lover in 1662-1663.

" . . . During 1662, Elizabeth Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield, was said to have been caught 'in flagrante' with James. This lead (sic) to some speculation as to whom the father of her daughter Lady Elizabeth Stanhope, born 1663, was. . . ." (Derrick. Top 10 Philandering English Monarchs)
Arabella Churchill
Duchess of Marlborough
Arabella Churchill (1648-1730)
Duchess of Marlborough
Lover in 1665.

Lady in waiting to the Duchess of York 1665

Daughter of: Sir Winston Churchill & Elizabeth Drake.

Wife of: Charles Godfrey (1646-1714), Captain in the Life Guards, Clerk Comptroller of the Green Cloth & Master of the Jewel Office, mar 1680.

Arabella's physical appearance & personal qualities.
"(I)t is said that she was not particularly handsome, but tat a fall from her horse revealed hidden charms that inflamed the Duke's ardour...." (Hartley, 2003, p, 101).

Statuesque but not pretty.
". . . By all contemporary accounts, Arabella was statuesque but not pretty; nevertheless, as the modern historian Sir Charles Petri once noted, the duke was not particular in this regard. . . . James's . . . confessor, Anthony Hamilton---who seems to have had a special grudge against Arabella and her family---described her uncharitably as 'a tall creature, pale-faced and nothing but skin and bone.'" (The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession; 104)

Low-key lover.
"Arabella Churchill's personality does not appear to have been striking, and perhaps one of the reasons she remained close to James for such a long period of time was, in the words of one historian, that she was 'domesticated'---that is, that she was content to remain in the background and not interfere in her princely lover's affairs, as so many mistresses of the period were wont to do. . . . " (The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession; 104)

First encounter & affair's progress.
"Arabella and the duke of York met initially in 1665 when her father, Winston Churchill, managed to secure her appointment as maid of honor to Anne Hyde, duchess of York, James's first wife. Not long afterward Arabella became the duke's mistress, though under what circumstances is difficult to say. . . As a member of the duke's household, Arabella went with him to York. But because she was an inexpert equestrian, James rode close beside her 'to chide her [it was said] for sitting so ill on horseback.' Suddenly her mount bolted, throwing Arabella to the ground. The duke dismounted to help her, and apparently was so 'influenced by this spectacle of beauty in distress and also in disarray,' that he took her as his mistress not long afterward. . . . "(Treaties of the War of Spanish Succession: 103)

Longest-lasting mistress.
" . . . James’s longest-lasting mistress was Arabella Churchill, an ancestor of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Their affair began in 1665, when she was 17, around the time that Arabella became Queen Anne’s lady-in-waiting. . . ." (Top 10 Philandering English Monarchs)

"(T)he fact remains that Arabella and James became lovers sometime before 1660, though the attraction between them probably was not based on her looks.(Treaties of the War of Spanish Succession: 103).

James II & Arabella's natural offspring.

a. James Fitzjames, 1st Duke of Berwick
c. Henrietta Fitzjames mar Sir Henry Waldegrave of Churton
d. Arabella Fitzjames, a nun.

Arabella's royal progeny.
". . . Arabella for many years occupied an important place in the duke's life; altogether they had four children, the most famous of whom was the future duke of Berwick, who would cross swords on the battlefield with his brilliant uncle, Marlborough, on more than one occasion. . . ." (Treaties of the War of Spanish Succession: 103).

" . . . She bore him two sons (dukes of Berwick and Albermarle) and two daughters before being pensioned off and marrying a civil servant." (A Historical Dictionary of British Women: 101)

Arabella's spouse & children.
She married Colonel Charles Godfrey, Captain in the Life Guards, who was given the offices of Clerk Comptroller of the Green Cloth and Master of the Jewel Office.Their children were: Charlotte, a Maid of Honour to Queen Anne; and Elizabeth who married Edmund Dunch.

Affair's benefits to Arabella.
" . . . During her liaison with James she received a yearly allowance of 1,000 pounds and a freehold house in St. James's Square, which she later sold for 8,000 pounds." (Royal Bastards)

Beneficiaries and patronages.
". . . (S)he had used her position as James's mistress to secure the early military advancement of her gifted brother John, who also entered the duke's household as a page in 1665. His first commission as ensign in the King's Regiment of Foot Guards (today the Grenadier Guards), dated 1667, was attributed to this cause. But in later years, this charge was refuted strenuously by Sarah, duchess of Marlborough, who denied that Arabella had been in any position to aid her brother at that time or subsequently. Nor is there any firm evidence to support this accusation." (The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession: 104)

Affair's end & aftermath.
" . . . Eventually James tired of Arabella, whom he replaced with Catherine Sedley, though not before arrangements had been made to secure the futures of their bastard children. Their liaison now ended, Arabella 'returned to respectability,' and in 1677 she married Colonel Charles Godfrey, a professional soldier by whom she had two daughters."  (The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession: 104)
Margaret Brooke
Margaret Brooke (1642-1667)
Lover in 1666.

Daughter of: Sir William Brooke, 7th Baron Cobham (1597-1643) & Penelope Hill.

Wife of: Sir John Denham (1615-1669), English Poet, Knight of the Order of Bath & Governor of Farnham Castle in 1642, mar 1665.

"She was the eldest daughter of Sir William Brooke, and niece of Digby, Earl of Bristol, who, as we have seen, introduced her and her sister at court to captivate Charles. The Duke of York, however, took to her instead, and this not serving the aim of her relations, she was married off at eighteen to old Sir John Denham the poet, a widower of seventy-nine, and described as 'ancient and limping.' This state of things brought the Duke of York again to the fore, and Lady Denham not only compliantly admitted him as he lover, but had the somewhat unusual effrontery to insist upon being publicly avowed by him as his mistress. This James complied with, and he was about to compel his duchess to appoint her one of her ladies of the bedchamber, when she suddenly fell ill and died a month or two afterwards. She was supposed, but on inadequate grounds, to have been poisoned by 'ce vieux scelerat Denham.'" (A Historical Catalogue of the Pictures in the royal Collection at Hampton: 66)

"He married as his second wife Margaret Brooke in 1665, she being then about 18. Very soon afterwards she became mistress to the Duke of York, and her very early death in 1667 gave rise to the unfounded) suspicion that the jealous Duchess had poisoned her." (Pepys)

"The intrigue between the Duke of York and Lady Denham, was at its height in 1666, when she was openly acknowledged by him as his mistress. Lady Denham died on January 6th, 1667. . . ." (Memoirs of the Comte de Grammont: 373)

"Not long after this Henry Sidney intrigue, Prince James publicly took a mistress, Lady Margareat Denham (-1667), and insisted that his wife allow Lady Denham to be a lady of her bedchamber. Anne, of course, objected, but her views were ignored and Margaret Denham was installed in the royal household. This arrangement was of very short duration. Lady Denham died under mysterious circumstances in January 1667. Some suspected that Anne had poisoned her husband's newest mistress. This suggestion lacks credibility, particularly because a far more plausible explanation exists. If Lady Denham wer poisone (and this is not certain), it is likely that her husband administered the lethal dose. That husband was Sir John Denham (1615-1669), a poet, who suffered insanity for a short period of as a result of Margaret's infidelity with Prince James. During this period of insanity, Sir John Denham visited the court of Prince James and engaged in wild and sacriligious talk. On that occasion Sir Denham claimed to represent the Holy Ghost of Christianity's Trinity." (The English Royal Family of America, from Jamestown to the American Revolution: 72)

"Before a year could be counted from the marriage-day, Lady Denham appeared before the public as the mistress of her old lover, the Duke of York. On June 10, 1666, Pepys was informed by Pierce, the king's serjeant surgeon, and, it may be added, court newsmonger, 'that the Duke of York is wholly given up to his new mistress, my Lady Denham, going at noon-day, with all his gentlemen with him, to visit her in Scotland-yard; she declaring that she will not be his mistress, as Mrs. Prince, to go up and down the privy-stairs, but will be owned publicly; and so she is.' This connection, the diarist was informed, was arranged through the Hon. Henry Brouncker, one of the Duke's grooms of the bed-chamber, and Lady Castlemaine. . . In the noon of September 26, Pepys saw Lady Denham at Whitehall, and again at night in the drawing-room there, with the Lady Castlemaine and several other fine ladies, 'the Duke of York taking her aside and talking to her in the sight of all the world.' Present also was 'good Mr. Evelyn, who cries out against it,and calls it bickering; for the Duke of York talks a little to her, and then she goes away, and then he follows her again like a dog.' On October 9 the Duke was 'wholly given up to his Lady Denham,' and on the 13th of the same month his pleasures were presided over by Diana as well as Venus, for 'his woman, my Lady Denham,' shared his company with the stag, he' hunting three times a-week.' On the 15th, Mr. Colvill, the goldsmith, informed Pepys that the Duke had become a slave to her,' that Sir W. Coventry is in the caball with the Duke of York and [Lord] Brouncker, with this Lady Denham,' and 'that Sir. W. Coventry do with her visit.' Scarcely a month after this, on November 10, Pepys hears 'that my Lady Denham is exceedingly sick, even to death, and that she says, and every body hand, though else discourses, that she is poisoned.' Two days later he was informed that she was 'upon the mending though the town says she is dead this morning.' On December 12, when dining at Captain Cocke's, he heard 'that the Duke of York do not haunt my Lady Denham so much, that she troubles him with matters of state, being of my Lord of Bristoll's faction, and that he avoids, that she is ill still.

 She does not appear at any time to have recovered from her illness, and on Sunday, January 6, 1666-7, the poor lady died. On the 7th Pepys mentions her for the last time: 'Lord Brouncker tells me that my Lady Denham is at last dead. Some suspect her poisoned, but it will be best known when her body is opened to-day, she dying yesterday morning. The Duke of York is troubled for her, but hath declared he will never have another public mistress again. The surgeon only followed her own instruction in the application of his knife. 'My Lady Denham's body,' writes the Earl of Orrery to the Duke of Ormonde from Charleville, January 25, 1666-7, 'at her own desire, was opened, but no sign of poison found." (Althorp Memoirs: 9)

Jane Needham (1645-1692)

Lover in 1667?.

Daughter of Sir Robert Needham & Jane Cockayne.

Wife of Charles Myddelton of Ruabon, mar 1660.

" . . . On 23 June 1667 Pepys heard from another authority that the Duke of York's advances were not encouraged by Mrs. Myddelton. . . ." (Wikisource)

Mary Kirke (1646-1711)

Baroness Hodnet
Lover in 1673?.

Maid of Honour to Marie Beatrice, Duchess of York c1673-1675

Daughter of: George Kirke (d.1675), Groom of the Bedchamber King Charles I, Housekeeper of Whitehall Palace, & Mary Townshend.

"Besides the obvious rivalry, there were specific instances of conflict that incensed uncle’s hatred for nephew and increased his steadfast determination to exclude him from the throne. And like many rivalries this story involves a girl. As noted, Monmouth was well liked by the ladies and Moll (or Mary) Kirke was no exception. However, Moll became a maid of honor to Mary of Modena, the Duke of York’s second wife and it was not long before she also became his mistress. Both uncle and nephew were oblivious to her deceit until Moll made the mistake of taking a third lover, John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave. One night after Monmouth discovered Mulgrave’s visit to his mistress, he had him arrested and kept in jail over night, and subsequently had the command of his regiments taken away. In retaliation, Mulgrave relayed Monmouth’s relations with Moll to the Duke of York, which further deteriorated their relationship." (The Glorious Revolution)

"George Kirke's second daughter, Mary ('Mall') Kirke, was a Maid of Honor to Marie Beatrice, Duchess of York, c. 1673-75. She seems to have been mistress (1) to the Duke of York, (2) to the Duke of Monmouth), and (3) to the Earl of Mulgrave. Apparently she tried to juggle all three at once. . . ." (Court Satires of the Restoration: 259)

"Monmouth also had an intrigue with Mary Kirke, a Maid of Honour to the Duchess of York (Mary of Modena) but appears to have shared her favours with the Duke of York and Lord Mulgrave. Warned of Mulgrave's interest in his mistress, Monmouth had him placed under house arrest in the palace guard house. Mulgrave retaliated by challenging one of the Duke's adherents, Mr. Felton, to a duel, Lord Middleton and Mr. Buckley being seconds. Nine months later, in May/June 1675, the unfortunate maid 'had the ill fortune to become the mother of a boy, which however, died within 3 or 4 hours'. 'It was not said yet to which father it belongs'. After the child was born, her brother Capt Percy Kirke challenged Mulgrave to a duel 'for having debauched and abused his sister' despite the fact that 'ye Earle purged himself before hand of any injury he had done of ye nature & though she herself does not accuse him either of getting ye child or any other act that we hear of'. Again Lord Middleton acted as Mulgrave's second and Kirke was seconded by Capt Charles Godfrey, who latter married James II's ex-mistress Arabella Churchill. Mulgrave was severely wounded but Mrs. Kirke 'persists to protest that she does not know whether he be man or woman'. Mrs. Kirke, who was aunt to the 1st Duchess of St. Albans, subsequently married, as his second wife, Sir Thomas Vernon, Bt, and by him had several children. However, the greatest love of Monmouth's lofe was Henrietta, Lady Wentworth, whom he tool as his mistress in 1680. There were no children of the union, but the relationship was very strong and lasted until his death." (Dewar & Powell. Royal Bastards: Illegitimate Children of the British Royal Family)

"Maid of Honour to Mary of Modena, Duchess of York (1673-75) and mistress of the Duke of Monmouth. Her father George Kirke, an impoverished royalist, was Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles II and Housekeeper of Whitehall Palace. Mary Kirke and her sister Diana (later Countess of Oxford) both conducted notorious affairs at court. In 1675 she took refuge in a convent in France but subsequently became the mistress of Sir Thomas Vernon, 2nd Bt., of Hodnet, whom she married in May 1677. She died at Greenwich in 1711." (National Portrait Gallery)

" . . . On October 1, 1674. a gossip reported that 'The Duke of Monmouth, being jealous of Lord Mulgrave's courting his newest mistress, Mall Kirke, watched his coming thence late four or five nights ago, and made the Guards keep him amongst them all night' (Rutland MS, II, 27).

Physical appearance & personal qualities: "According to the same authority [Count Hamilton], Miss Kirk was a person of indifferent figure, with beautiful eyes, and very tempting looks. . . ." (Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts, Volume 2: 250-251)

" . . . After Lady Chesterfield was Mary 'Moll' Kirke, daughter of George Kirke and later Lady Vernon, wife of the 2nd Baron of Hodnet. She was another of the Queen's maids of honor and another of James's mistresses. . . ." (Top 10 Philandering English Monarchs)

Mary Kirke other lovers were:
4) Thomas Vernon, Baronet Vernon (1654-1721)

British law reporter & politician.
" . . . Finally Mall became mistress of Sir Thomas Vernon, of Hodnet, Salop (1637-84), a man at least twice her age, who finally married her at Paris in May 1677 . . . Mall gave Sir Thomas, a Teller of the Exchequer, three children; according to the Court gossips, she was still promiscuous. . . ." (Wilson. Court Satires of the Restoration: 259)

"Miss Kirk's former lover, Sir Thomas Vernon, had continued so absurdly disconsolate, after his rejection, that, in order to cure him of his folly, his relation Killegrew hastened to him after the affair had transpired, and bluntly detailed to him the circumstances of his idol's disgrace. Instead, however, of being shamed out of his attachment, the honest simpleton exhibited the most ridiculous symptoms of joy; renewed his former honourable overtures; and Miss Kirk, under existing circumstances, consented to become his wife. The description which Count Hamilton gives of their married life is pleasing enough:---'His passion,' he says, ' even increased after marriage, and the generous fair one, attached to him at first from gratitude, soon became so through inclination, and never brought him a child which he was not the father; and though there has been many a happy couple in England, this certainly was the happiest.' . . ." (Jesse. Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts, Vol. 2: 250)

" . . . Finally Mall became mistress of Sir Thomas Vernon, of Hodnet, Salop (1637-84), a man at least twice her age, who finally married her at Paris in May 1677 . . . Mall gave Sir Thomas, a Teller of the Exchequer, three children; according to the Court gossips, she was still promiscuous. . . ." (Wilson. Court Satires of the Restoration: 259)

Lady Vernon's personal & family background: Mary was the daughter of George Kirk, Esq., Groom of the Bed-chamber to Charles the Second. . . ." (Jesse. Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts, Vol. 2: 401)

Susan Armine 

Baroness Belasyse of Osgodby
Lover in 1670-1674.

Lady of the Bedchamber to Marie Beatrice, Duchess of York.

Daughter of Sir William Armine of Osgodby, 2nd Baronet &Anne Crane.

Wife of:

1. Sir Henry Bellasyse (d.1667) mar 1662
2. James Fortrey of Chequers, King's Grooms, mar before 1684.

"Of Lady Bellasys, married so young, and so early left a widow, we do not hear at this time. She was the mother of one son, an infant; and it appears that she lived in retirement for some years after the death of her husband. It was about the year 1670 that she was first distinguished at Court, not so much for her beauty, as for her wit, her vivacity, her high spirit and uncommon powers of mind. These qualities fascinated the Duke of York. It was said of him, that he was as indifferent to beauty as Charles was to virtue and intellect in a woman. Some of the ladies the Duke most admired were so homely, that the King used to aver, that the priests had inflicted his brother's mistresses on him by way of penance. . . Lady Bellasys, who had virtue and spirit, as well as wit and bright eyes, gained a strong influence over his mind without compromising her own honour; and after the heath of the first Duchess of York , in 1672, he actually placed in her hands a written contract of marriage, only requiring secrecy, at least for a time. This affair coming to the knowledge of the King, some months afterwards, he sent for his brother, and rebuked him very severely, telling him that 'At his age it was intolerable the he should think to play the fool over again,' alluding to his former marriage with Anne Hyde. But neither the threats of the King, nor the arguments and persuasions of Lord Bellasys, who thought himself obliged, in honour and duty, to interfere, could, for a long time, induce Lady Bellasys to give up this contract of marriage, and brand herself with dishonour. She yielded, at length, when the safety and welfare of the Duke and the peace of the nation was urged as depending on her compliance; but even then, only on condition that she should be allowed to keep an attested copy in her own possession; to which they were obliged, though most reluctantly, to consent. In return for this concession, Lady Bellasys was created, in 1674, a peeress for life, by the title of Baroness Bellasys of Osgodby, having succeeded, on the death of her father and mother, to the family estates." (Beauties of the Court of King Charles the Second: 143)

" . . . Following his first wife's death, James proposed to his mistress, the 17-year-old widow Lady Susanna Baroness Belasyse, daughter of the 2nd Baron of Armine. James was forced to choose a more suitable wife, but Susanna was given a life peerage and made a baroness. . . ." (Top 10 Philandering English Monarchs)

"Susan Armine was the daughter of Sir William Armine, of Osgodby, in Lincolnshire. Her mother, Mary Talbot, was a niece of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and a lady distinguished in her time for her various learning, as well as for her gentle and feminine virtues and extensive charities. It appears the Susan Armine was their only child and heiress, and that she was married very young, according to the fashion of those times, to Henry Bellasys, the son and heir of Lord Bellasys, and nephew of Lord Fauconberg. Lord Bellasys, who had greatly signalized himself in the royal cause, became, after the Restoration, the friend and favorite of the Duke of York; and his son Henry was created a knight of the Bath, in recompense for his own gallantry and his father's loyalty." (Memoirs of Count Grammont: 373)

" . . . Susan (Armine), widow of Sir Henry Belasyse, was once mistress to the Duke of York. In 1674 Susan was created Baroness Belasyse of Osgodby. Her second husband, before 1684, was James Fortrey, a Groom of the Bedchamber. Lady Belasyse died January 6, 1713." (Court Satires of the Restoration: 61)
Catherine Sedley

Catherine Sedley 
Countess of Dorchester
Lover in 1678-1688.

Maid of Honour to the Duchess of York 1678

Daughter of: Sir Charles Sedley, the favorite of Charles II, & Catharine Savage.

Wife of: Sir David Colyear, 1st Earl of Portmore (1665-1730), Scottish general & Governor of Gibraltar, mar 1696.

" . . . When James made his first visit to Scotland in November 1679 he could afford to transport to Edinburgh by coach more than a hundred members of his court. . . Along with this mixture of soldiers and Irishmen, of faithful servants so reliant on James's patronage, came as one of the duchess's maids of honour the twenty-two year old Catherine Sedley. This plain but witty girl supplanted Arabella as James's mistress in 1678/9 and would remain his sexual diversion for the next decade. Her reward was elevation to countess of Dorchester in 1686. Searching, therefore, for a mistress during James's time in Scotland need go no further. As long as the faithful duchess travelled with her husband she, at first unwittingly, connived in his continued infidelity." (James VII: Duke and King of Scots: 1607)

" . . . Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, was the mistress of King James II before he came to the throne. Following pressure from the church and catholic officials, after he was crowned James 'retired' Catherine. He moved her out of Whitehall but doubled her allowance as compensation, with the year James had changed his mind and they were meeting again. . . ." (Derrick)

[She was the] " . . . daughter of Sir Charles Sedley, [who] became the mistress of James duke of York, who raised her to the peerage, and continued to visit her after he had succeeded to the throne as James III. This gave great uneasiness to the queen, who employed her friends, and especially the priests, to persuade him to break off his amorous correspondence. These counsels at last induced him to forsake her. She died at Bath 26 Oct., 1717." (Cooper, p. 504)

Profile of a mistress.
The daughter of Sir Charles Sedley, and mistress of James II., by whom, in 1686, she was made Countess of Dorchester. She was more celebrated for her wit and vivacity than for her beauty; and notwithstanding her ridicule of the Romish priests who thronged his court, seems to have maintained her ascendancy over James. After his exile she was married to the Earl of Portmore. It was with reference to her disgrace, and to the part he himself took in the Revolution of 1688, that Sir Charles Sedley said of James II.: 'He has made my daughter a countess, I will make his daughter a queen.'" (The Dictionary of English History: 380)

Natural offspring.

" . . . Katherine Sedley (1657-1717), daughter of Sir Charles Sedley 'little Sid', became about 1678 a Maid of Honor to Marie Beatrice, Duchess of York, and mistress to the Duke, to whom she gave a daughter, Lady Katherine Darnley. born in March, 1679, and a son who was born in August, 1684, and died on April 26, 1685. On January 19, 1686, King James created Katherine Sedley Countess of Dorchester, and, at the behest of his priests, banished her from Court. On August 20, 1696, she married Sir David Colyear, who became Earl of Portmore. Mrs. Sedley, no beauty, was famed for her caustic wit." (Wilson. Court Satires of the Restoration: 61)

Catherine's physical appearance & personal qualities.
" . . . By some accounts she was tall, plain, thin, angular, but had a pair of fine eyes. Her portrait, however, is by no means unprepossessing; and she already inherited her father's caustic wit. She exerted her attractions in her own way, and, though not admired, was both liked and feared...." (Churchill. Marlborough: His Life and Times, Book One: 115)

Affair's effects on lovers' family, other people and society.
" . . . [She] was the favourite mistress of James II... Lean and ugly, and ridiculously fond of gaudy dress, she attracted the admiration of James while Duke of York and long had an extraordinary influence over him... After the Revolution she married the Earl of Portmore. . . ." (Cates. A Dictionary of General Biography: 1014)

Affair's benefits to the mistress.
"Catherine Sidley, (only daughter of Sir Charles Sidley, Bart. . . . mistress of King James II, was created by that monarch, 1686, Baroness of Darlington . . . and Countess of Dorchester, for life. By his majesty, her ladyship had an only surviving, Lady Catherine Darnley. . . ." (A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerages: 485)

James II's other lovers were:

Winifred Gosnell (1662-1697)
English stage actress.
Anne Hyde
Duchess of York
Maid of Honour to Mary, the Princess Royal

"The prodigiously buxom and flirtatious Anne Hyde was the daughter of Edward Hyde, a Wiltshire lawyer who turned to politics, becoming Charles II's chancellor. Her contemporaries noted her intelligence, though they admitted she was not very pretty; in fact, Anne was most often described as a cow. . . ." (Carroll. Royal Affairs: 230)

Anne, Duchess of York's lovers were:
Henry Jermyn
1st Baron Dover
Lover in 1666.

"There was at one time a rumour coupling the name of the Duchess of York with Henry Savile, another of the Duke's grooms of the bedchamber, and in reference to this report, Pepys piously ejaculates; 'God knows what will be the end of it!' "However, as in the case of Sidney, there is no positive evidence beyond rumour, and rumour was not likely to spare anyone who had so many enemies as Anne Hyde. Therefore here, too, a plea of innocence may be admitted on her behalf . . . ." (Anne Hyde, Duchess of York: 187)
Henry Sydney
1st Earl of Romney
". . . The hero of the romance, Henry Sidney, 'the handsomest youth of his time,' was destined to a brilliant career in after days. The short-lived disgrace which was the immediate consequence of his passion for the Duchess, did him no harm. Much later, it is true, he was dismissed from office, but he was made envoy to the States of Holland, and remained there two years, having declined the embassy in Paris. It is said that he voted for the exclusion of the Duke of York from the succession, in Parliament which met in 1680, when member form Bramber, and perhaps the recollection of that early, ill-starred love had more than a little to do with his action then.

4) Sir Spenser Compton.
Son of Earl of Northampton

"From contemporary memoirs it would certainly seem that she had her lovers. Of course, appearances may have been against her; but, on the other hand, that was not the age of harmless philandering. According to Evelyn, she was suspected in 1665 of a liaison with Sir Spenser Compton. Anyhow, Charles II said to his intimate friend, Sir Henry Bennet, afterwards Earl of Arlington" 'I will try whether Sir Spenser Compton be so much in love as you say, for I will name Mrs. Hyde before him by chance, that except he be very much smitten it shall not at all move him.'" (The Windsor Beauties: 25)