Thursday, 21 November 2013

Charles II – what school didn’t tell me

At school I learned the history of the Stuarts (1603 - 1714) but for some reason our teacher never went into any detail about the children of Charles II born outside of his marriage to Catherine of Braganza.  We had to be taught about the Duke of Monmouth because he featured in various aspects of English history including the Monmouth Rebellion against his uncle James II.  But our teachers totally failed to mention that Charles had a number of other mistresses besides Lucy Walters – Monmouth’s mother. 

I don’t know what the total number of mistresses was but as well as Lucy Walters they included Lady Orkney and Lady Dorchester.  

The following mistresses all gave him children –
Elizabeth Killigrew (one daughter Charlotte FitzRoy)
Katherine Pegge (one son Charles FitzCharles)
Barbara Castlemaine (two daughters, Anne FitzRoy and Charlotte FitzRoy, and three sons, Charles FitzRoy, Henry FitzRoy and George FitzRoy)  She also claimed that her daughter, Barbara was the cghild of Charles II but she was more likely to have been the daughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.  Among Lady Castlemaine’s other lovers were the Earl of Chesterfield, Ralph Montagu (the English Ambassador to France) and Jacob Hall (the rope-dancer).  Quite what her husband Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine, thought of it all is not recorded. 
Nell Gwynne - his most famous mistress – (two sons Charles Beauclerk and James Beauclerk who died at the age of nine).
Louise de Kerouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth (one son Charles Lennox).
Moll Davis (Mary Tudor).

The present Dukes of Buccleuch, Grafton, St Albans, and Richmond are all descended from these liaisons.

When the mob jostled Nell Gwynne’s coach, mistaking it for that of the unpopular Catholic Louise de Kerouaille, Nell leaned out and said “Pray, good people, be civil I am the Protestant whore.”

Charles didn’t hold the record for illegitimate children fathered by an English king – this is thought to be Henry I who had twenty or possibly twenty two by his six mistresses.


  1. Thanks for the history lesson CJ....he sure did a lot of moving around.

  2. We have a famous battle from the American Revolution...The Monmouth Battle, which I think was in New Jersey (must be named from the place in England by the same name) is the famous battle that in the extreme heat where Molly PItcher brought water to her husband and then, helped out firing the cannon! I just found out a few years ago that one of my ancestors was at this battle! (Fighting as one of the Revolutionary soldiers, of course!) From Virginia he came to Georgia around 1800 when it was still a frontier.

  3. Um. And we complain about how Prince Harry carries on -- he's not even married!

  4. Heavens! And to think that all my inlaws are commoners. However did the family escape?!

    Well, you gotta admit, at least Nell Gwynne was honest!

  5. "... and they all lived happily ever after" (so much easier to remember!)

  6. I did not learn much history from school as I hated it. Have learned more as a blogger!


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