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A Royal Marriage is for the good of the country and the Kings Privy Purse, even more so than for any of the subjects of His Majesty. It is therefore understood that both love and desire, part of human nature, have a formalized place outside of marriage.
The King is liberal with his attentions to all women, common or gentry, in England. As needs be however he can't spread those attentions equally and some rise to an official position that in the 17th century is not unknown at most courts: that of royal mistress or maitress-en-titre.
Not only that, but the current heir of the throne, James Stuart, Duke of York, conducts his household in a similar way and short from taking the throne for himself portrays himself as a King as well, being the 2nd man in the country.
Profile of a Royal Mistress
- Beauty is an asset, especially in compensating for lack in other areas, but certainly is not a requirement, and alone will result in merely a passing fancy.
- Sexual talent & creativity likewise is desirable, but lack thereof can be overlooked where other talents are present.
- Intelligence and wit, combined in a gift for lively conversation are highly prized.
- Conversely, the ability to listen and keep the strictest of confidences is a must.
- The ability to read the monarch’s moods, and perhaps his mind, in order to keep him amused and happy is most prized.
- Inner beauty, infinite patience, and complete selflessness are valued attributes.
- Ill-temperedness will only be tolerated if compensated for by great beauty and sexual prowess.
- The desire to please, under any and all circumstances, her royal lover is paramount.
List of the known King's Mistresses and Bastards
The King acknowledged most of his bastards and was said to be a loving and caring father, surpassing the standards of the time. He took care of them financially, awarded them a last name and also took it upon himself to arrange for their futures. The mistresses were either rewarded for their services or taken care of by arranging marriages for them.
Note that the King had a very strong infatuation with Frances Stuart, but that wasn't consummated or returned.
Marguerite or Margaret de Carteret
Some accounts say that she bore Charles a son named James de la Cloche in 1646. James de Carteret/de la Cloche is believed to have died sometime around the year 1667.
Lucy Walter (1630 - 1658)
This mistress was rumoured to have been his first wife. Charles denied every marrying Walters. The marriage certificate, said to be hidden in a black box, was never found.
- James Crofts, later Scott (b.1649), created Duke of Monmouth (1663) in England and Duke of Buccleuch (1663) in Scotland
- Mary Crofts (born c. 1651), not acknowledged. She married a William Sarsfield and later a William Fanshaw and became a faith healer operating in Covent Garden.
Elizabeth Killigrew (b 1622)
An actress. She bore him a daughter. Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria Boyle (Fitzcharles) (1650)
Catherine Pegge, Lady Green
- Charles Fitzcharles (1657 - 1676), known as "Don Carlos", created Earl of Plymouth (1675). Died in Tangiers in the winter of 1676.
- Catherine Fitzcharles (born 1658), became a Catholic nun in France, briefly returned in 1676 to mourn the death of her brother.
Barbara Palmer (nee Villiers) (b.1640)
One of his most famous mistresses for she practically ruled court for many long years until the King finally retired her. For the Windsor season she has retired to France with her younger children.
- Anne Lennard (nee Palmer) (b.1661)
- Charles Fitzroy (1662) - created Duke of Southhampton in 1675
- Henry Fitzroy (1663) - created Earl of Euston
- Charlotte Fitzroy (1664) - created Countess of Lichfield
- George Fitzroy (1665) - created Earl of Northumberland
- Barbara (Benedicta) Fitzroy (1672) - acknowledged by the King, but likely the daughter of John Churchill
One of the Queen's Maids of Honour
Elizabeth Bagot Sackville
The widowed Countess of Falmouth, who later married Charles Sackville, the Earl of Middlesex. It is possible the marriage was arranged by the King. This lady is currently deceased.
Daughter of a clergyman
Daughter of the Earl of Ranelagh. Court beauty. It is possible that the King might later have arranged her marriage to the Earl of Kildare.
Eleanor Gwynn (1650)
An Actress. Still a current mistress.
- Charles Beauclerk (1670), created Duke of St Albans in 1675
- James Beauclerk (1671)
French. Still a current mistress.
- Charles Lennox (1672), created Duke of Richmond (1675) in England and Duke of Lennox (1675) in Scotland.
An actress. She had one daughter by the King, Mary Tudor (1673)
Italian. No offspring. Caused a scandal by a reputed lesbian affair with the Kings daughter with Barbara Palmer: Anne Lennard, during which they both ran off to France.
Scottish. The King is said to have arranged her marriage. She has one daughter by the King, Nessia Marie MacGregor (1676)
Spring 1676. No offspring. Was known as the Secret Mistress until she was kidnapped. Brief affair that reputedly was broken off by the Countess herself. As a consequence the King struck out briefly against her other lovers, sending them away from court, but by the end of the season the two reconciled to a truce.
Spring 1676. The King is said to have arranged her marriage to a French diplomat. She is pregnant of the King.
List of the known York's Mistresses and Bastards
Arabella is lately married to Colonel Charles Godfrey, who holds the office of Master of the Jewels.
Offspring by James Stuart
- Henrietta FitzJames (8, b. 1667)
- James FitzJames (5, b. 21 Aug 1670)
- Henry FitzJames (2, b. 6 Aug 1673)
- Arabella FitzJames (infant, b. 1674)
No offspring. The affair started after the reconciliation with the King, lasting all through the Windsor season.