SOG-UK-L Archives

Archiver > SOG-UK > 1999-07 > 0932465239

From: Roy Stockdill <>
Subject: [SOG-UK-L] Edward VII & illegitimate children
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 06:07:19 -0400

Graham Jaunay wrote...

>>Does anyone know whether Edward VII had any illegitimate children that he
acknowledged? If so where will I find the records?<<

RECORDS, no - much speculation, yes!!!

I have a book called Edward VII's Children by John Van Der Kiste, published
by Alan Sutton in 1989. This is, of course, about Edward's legitimate
children. However, a section reads as follows..."Before he ascended the
throne, it was suggested from time to time that some of the sons and
daughters of the Prince of Wales's closest friends bore a remarkable
resemblance to His Royal Highness. Sometimes this was mere coincidence,
occasionally not. For the most part he conducted his liaisons with the
greatest discretion and it is unlikely that more than a small amount of
documentary evidence indicating illegitimate children exists."

The author then goes on to cite the case of Lady Susan Pelham-Clinton, a
bridesmaid to the Princess Royal in 1858, who married the alcoholic Lord
Adolphus Vane-Tempest in 1860. Lady Susan became one of Edward's mistresses
after being widowed only 4 years after the marriage and in September 1871
one of her confidantes wrote to the Prince of Wales advising him that "the
crisis" was due within two or three months. The author adds: "Nothing is
known of the child born of this union and Lady Susan, who died in 1875,
carried the secret with her to the grave."

The art collector Edward James maintained that his mother Evie, born around
1871, was the Prince's illegitimate daughter. She left her son a bundle of
over 100 letters, mostly from Edward VII with a few from George V, and
according to James they made it clear that she was the result of a "tumble
in the heather" the Prince had with her mother in Aberdeenshire. Edward
James claimed he was shown a walking stick given to Sir Charles Forbes
(supposedly Evie's father) by the Prince and inscribed: "in token and
appreciation of his understanding." However, James's credibility was
suspect, since he claimed that through his illegitimate royal descent he
had some Jewish blood. This referred to the story that Prince Albert, Queen
Victoria's husband and consort, was the illegitimate son of a Jewish
banker, Baron von Meyern, who was supposedly his mother's lover. According
to John Van der Kiste, the story was false and based on the memoirs of
Caroline Bauer, a German actress who had been the mistress of King Leopold
I of the Belgians before he became king. Rejected after Leopold took the
throne, Bauer hated the Coburgs and invented the story about Prince
Albert's parentage in revenge.

Van Der Kiste goes on to say: "Bearing in mind the number of mistresses
whose company Bertie enjoyed during his long years as heir to the throne,
it would have been surprising if there were never any illegitimate
children. The annals of 19th century royalty in Britain are strewn
plentifully with rumours of children born out of wedlock. Only one,
Jeanne-Marie Langtry, born on 8 March 1881 to Lillie Langtry and Prince
Louis of Battenberg (by then conveniently on naval service several hundred
miles away) appears to have been authenticated."

Lillie Langtry was, of course, one of the best known mistresses of Edward
VII when he was Prince of Wales, but her child's father was apparently
Prince Louis, who married Edward's niece, Princess Victoria of Hesse.
Prince Louis of Battenberg, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven (1854-1921) and
Princess Victoria were the parents of Lord Louis Mountbatten and
grandparents of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Another of Edward's
mistresses was the actress Mrs. Alice Keppel, who was the gt-grandmother of
Camilla Parker Bowles. An article in the Daily Mail a few months back said
there were rumours that Mrs. Keppel's daughter, Sonia Rosemary Keppel,
Camilla's grandmother, was in fact the illegitimate daughter of Edward VII.
If true, this makes Camilla a 2nd cousin to the Queen and, therefore, a 2nd
cousin once removed to her lover, Prince Charles.

Eh, bah gum, there's nowt like keeping it in'th family!!!

Roy Stockdill
Editor, The Journal of One-Name Studies
The Stockdill Family History Society (Guild of One-Name Studies, FedFHS)
Web page of the Stockdill Family History Society:-
”Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does he will tell you.
If he does not, why humiliate him?" - Canon Sydney Smith (scholar and
humorist 1771-1845)

This thread: