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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Royal Mistress Lillie Langtree (Lilly Langtry) v Prince of Wales (AKA King Edward VII)



Lillie Langtree
Emilie Charlotte Le Breton was born on the channel island of Jersey in 1853. Her father was the Dean of Jersey and one of her distant relatives was a knight implicated in the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral.  

She always hoped of leaving the island of Jersey and wanted to live in London. She married a gentleman Irish Landowner called Edward Langtry and became known as Lillie Langtry. He was a yachtsman and with Edward Langtry she moved to mainland Britain and eventually managed to persuade her husband to move to London.

In the city she met Lady Sebright and became famous among the high society people and artists - many of whom wanted to paint her. She had a charming manner and a quick wit. Lillie made friends with many young Bohemians, including Oscar Wilde. 

She adapted herself into this high and sometimes indulgent society. She became fashionable at rich people's gatherings and became noticed by politicians and royalty. Among them King Leopold of Belgium. Soon other high ranking noblemen sort her company and in 1881 she became an actress.

Edward VII
In time she also became mistress to the Prince of Wales later to be Edward VII. It is said that on one occasion, the Prince of Wales and Lillie were arguing over money. The Prince had reason to retort that he had spent enough money on her to build an entire Battleship - an expensive undertaking as one might well imagine. Lillie was quick witted and tartly retorted that His Royal Highness had put enough seamen inside her to fill one. Ooooops!

She went on to have affairs with other notable high society and privileged gentleman and was known for her lifestyle during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. She died in Monaco in 1929 aged 75 from pneumonia and finally returned to be buried in Jersey - the place of her birth. She made the most of her life and lived it on the edge, to a degree. She travelled the world and went through many emotional trials and tribulations - breaking a few hearts and eggs along the way.    

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