The illegitimate Children of Charles II


Although his marriage to Catherine of Braganza was childless, Charles II had many illegitimate children by various mistresses:-

Charles eldest son, James Crofts was born on 9 April 1649 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where his 18-year-old father was living in exile following the execution of Charles I. His mother was Charles' mistress Lucy Walter, otherwise known as Mrs Barlow.

James Crofts, later Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch (1649-85)

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth

At the age of 14, he was created Duke of Monmouth with the subsidiary titles of Earl of Doncaster and Baron Scott of Tynedale. He was married to the wealthy heiress Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch on 20 April 1663 and took his wife's surname.

Monmouth barely escaped trial for his involvement several plots, including the Ryehouse Plot, a conspiracy in 1683 which aimed at the assassination of Charles II and the Duke of York on their way to Newmarket in order to secure the succession of Monmouth to the throne, when the plot was discovered Monmouth swore he did not agree to it, but Charles, with good cause, no longer trusted his son. Spared by the king during trials of his colleagues, Monmouth moved to the Continent.

After King Charles II's death and within five months of the accession of James II, in February 1685, Monmouth returned to England to gather an army, landing with three ships at Lyme Regis in Dorset in early June 1685. He was captured after the Battle of Sedgemoor and beheaded on Tower Hill on the orders of James II on 15 July 1685.

Charles FitzCharles, 1st Earl of Plymouth (1657-1680)

 Charles FitzCharles, 1st Earl of Plymouth

Charles FitzCharles was born around 1657 to Charles' mistress Catherine Pegge, the daughter of Thomas Pegge of Yeldersley in Derbyshire. Charles had the affair with Catherine whilst he was in exile, before becoming king. He was educated abroad, possibly in Spain and was known by the nickname of "Don Carlos".

Charles married Lady Bridget Osborne, daughter of Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, Lord High Treasurer. Charles FitzCharles died of dysentery at Tangier on 17 October 1680, at the age of 23, his body was returned to England and he was buried on 18 January 1681 in Westminster Abbey.

Catherine Fitzcharles

Born in 1658 to Catherine Pegge,Catherine died in infancy.

Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria Fitzcharles (1650-8 4)

Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria Fitzcharles

Born in 1650 the daughter of Elizabeth Killigrew, who had been a maid of honour to Charles II's mother, Queen Henrietta Maria, Elizabeth was the wife of Francis Boyle.

Charlotte was married firstly to James Howard, with whom she had a daughter, Stuarta Werburge Howard, who served as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary II.

In 1672 Charlotte married for a second time to William Paston, a member of the Paston family and later the second Earl of Yarmouth, by whom she had a further four children, Charles, Charlotte, Rebecca and William Paston.

Charlotte, Lady Yarmouth died on 28 July 1684 in London. She was buried at Westminster Abbey on 4 August 1684.

Anne Fitzroy (1661-1722)

Anne FitzRoy

Anne Fitzroy was the eldest daughter of the notorious Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland and mistress of Charles II and wife of Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine. At Anne's birth, both Roger Palmer and the king acknowledged Anne as their daughter and she was known by the alias Fitzroy, but she is generally believed to be the daughter of the 2nd Earl of Chesterfield, whom she was said to strongly resemble.

At the age of thirteen, Anne was married at Hampton Court to Thomas Lennard, 15th Baron Dacre on 11 August 1674 who was subsequently created Earl of Sussex. Anne indulged in a lesbian relationship with Hortense Mancini, a mistress of her father, which resulted in her husband having her removed to the country. In the summer of 1678, at the age of seventeen, Anne, Lady Sussex was abducted from a convent in Paris and seduced by Ralph Montagu He successively became the lover of both Anne and her mother.

Anne and Thomas Lennard had four children, Barbara Lennard (12 July 1676 - 1741), Charles Lennard, Lord Dacre (25 May 1682 - 13 March 1684), Henry Lennard, born about 1683, who died in infancy and Anne Lennard (17 August 1684 - 26 June 1755)

Anne separated from her husband in 1688 and was widowed in 1715. She died 16 May 1721 or 1722 and was buried at Linsted, Kent.

Charles Fitzroy, Duke of Southampton (1662-1730)

Charles FitzRoy, Duke of Southampton

The eldest son of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, Charles Fitzroy was born on 18 June 1662. His birth marked the separation of Barbara Villiers and her husband, Roger Palmer, Lord Castlemaine. Palmer a Roman Catholic, had Charles baptised into the Roman Catholic faith, but six days later the King had him re-christened into the Church of England.

He was styled Baron Limerick from birth. In 1670, at the age of eight, Charles was betrothed to Mary Wood, daughter of Sir Henry Wood, Clerk of the Green Cloth, but with the proviso that the marriage is delayed until Mary turned 16. Following the death of her father, the Duchess of Cleveland more-or-less abducted Mary, to raise her as her own child.

Charles had no children by his first marriage but had from his second marriage to Anne Pulteney, including William FitzRoy, who succeeded him as the 3rd Duke of Cleveland.

In 1675 he was created Duke of Southampton and upon the death of his mother in 1709 he became 2nd Duke of Cleveland, Charles Fitzroy died in 1730 at the age of 68.

Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton (1663-90)

Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Grafton

The second son of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Henry was born on 28 September 1663.

On 1 August 1672, he was married at the age of nine to the five-year-old Isabella, the daughter and heiress of Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington. At the time of his marriage, Henry was created Baron Sudbury, Viscount Ipswich, and Earl of Euston and in 1675 he was further created Duke of Grafton.

Henry Fitzroy and Isabella Bennett became the parents of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales Their great-grandson the 3rd Duke of Grafton became prime minister under King George III.

Grafton was Lord High Constable at the coronation of his uncle, King James II. During the rebellion of his half brother, James Duke of Monmouth commanded the royal troops in Somerset, but he later acted with John Churchill and joined William of Orange to overthrow the King in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Henry died in 1690 at the age of twenty-seven, of a wound he acquired at the storming of Cork while leading William III's forces in Ireland.

Charlotte Fitzroy, Countess of Lichfield (1664-1718)

Charlotte FitzRoy Countess of Lichfield

The daughter of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, Charlotte was born on 5 September 1664.

On 16 May 1674, before she had reached her tenth birthday, Charlotte was betrothed to Sir Edward Lee, the couple were married on 6 February 1677 when Charlotte was twelve years of age. When Charles Stewart, 6th Duke of Lennox died in 1673, Sir Edward was created Earl of Lichfield. Charlotte and Edward Lee had eighteen children, including George Henry Lee, 2nd Earl of Lichfield (12 March 1690 - 15 February 1743) and Robert Lee, 4th Earl of Lichfield (3 July 1706 - 3 November 1776).

She was the favourite niece of James, Duke of York, Charles II's younger brother, who would later succeed to the throne as James II. Charlotte was said to rival her mother in beauty, " but was far unlike her in every other respect." Charlotte was sweet-tempered one memoirist recorded that Lady Lichfield was "a very good and virtuous lady. It is said that the king had a greater value and love for this lady than he had for his other children".

Charlotte died on 17 February 1718 at the age of 53.

George Fitzroy, Duke of Northumberland (1665-1716)

George FitzRoy Duke of Northumberland

The third son of Charles II Barbara Villiers, George was born on 28 December 1665 at Merton College, Oxford and named after his mother's cousin George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.

On 1 October 1674, he was created Earl of Northumberland, Baron of Pontefract and Viscount Falmouth In the summer of 1674 he served as a volunteer on the side of the French at the Siege of Luxembourg. On 6 April 1683, he was further created Duke of Northumberland.

In March 1686, Northumberland married Catherine Wheatley, the daughter of poulterer, Robert Wheatley of Bracknell in Berkshire. Catherine was the widow of Thomas Lucy of Charlecote Park, a captain in the Royal Horse Guards. Soon after the marriage, Northumberland and his brother, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton attempted to privately convey her abroad to an English convent in Ghent, Belgium.

After the death of Catherine in 1714, George remarried to Mary Dutton, the sister of Captain Mark Dutton.

George, Duke of Northumberland died suddenly aged 50 at Epsom on 28 June 1716.

Barbara FitzRoy

Barbara FitzRoy

Barbara was born at Cleveland House in London on 16 July 1672, at around the time Barbara Villiers was losing her position as the king's chief mistress to Louise de Kérouaille.

Her mother insisted she was the king's daughter, Charles publicly acknowledged the child, while disputing being her father in private. Barbara was suspected to have been the child of either John Churchill or Lord Chesterfield. Barbara Villier's long-suffering husband, Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine, left his estate to the younger Barbara.

In March 1691, the eighteen-year-old Barbara gave birth to an illegitimate son of James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, who was named Charles Hamilton. The child was raised by Barbara Villiers, who was said to have disowned her daughter.

Barbara became a nun in the English Priory of St. Nicholas, at Pontoise in Normandy, taking the name Sister Benedicta, where she eventually became prioress. She later became Prioress of the Convent of the Hotel Dieu at Pontoise, as Sister Benedicte, and died there on May 6, 1737.

Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans (1670-1726)

Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans

The eldest son of Charles II and his mistress the actress Nell Gwynne, Charles Beauclerk was born on 8 May 1670.

On 21 December 1676, he was created Baron of Heddington and Earl of Burford and on 5 January 1684, was given the title of Duke of St Albans. Following the death of his mother on 14 November 1687, Charles inherited a large estate, including Burford House, near Windsor Castle.

On 17 April 1694, he married Lady Diana de Vere, daughter and heiress of Aubrey de Vere, 20th and last Earl of Oxford, later who became lady of the bed-chamber to Caroline of Ansbach, Princess of Wales. The couple had twelve children including Charles Beauclerk, 2nd Duke of St Albans (6 April 1696 - 27 July 1751)

Charles Beauclerk died at Bath two days after his 56th birthday and is buried in Westminster Abbey

James Beauclerk (1671-81)

The second son of Charles II and Nell Gwynne, James was born in 1671 and died young in 1680

Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1672-1723)

Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond and Lennox

Born on 29 July 1672, Charles Lennox only son of Charles II and his French mistress Louise de Kerouaille.

He was created Duke of Richmond, Earl of March and Baron Settrington in the Peerage of England on 9 August 1675 and Duke of Lennox, Earl of Darnley and Lord Torbolton in the Peerage of Scotland on 9 September 1675.

A patron of cricket, then becoming a major professional sport, Charles Lennox did much to develop the game in Sussex.

He married Anne Brudenell, daughter of Francis, Baron Brudenell on 8 January 1692; the couple had three children, Lady Louisa Lennox (24 December 1694 - 15 January 1716); married James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley Charles Lennox, Earl of March, later 2nd Duke of Richmond and 2nd Duke of Lennox and Lady Anne Lennox, later Countess of Albemarle. Diana Princess of Wales is among his descendants.

Charles Lennox died on 27 May 1723 at the age of fifty.

Mary Tudor, Countess of Derwentwater (1687-1705)

 Mary Tudor, Countess of Derwentwater

The daughter of Charles II by the actress Moll Davis, Mary Tudor was born on 16 October 1673.

On 18 August 1687, she married Edward Radclyffe, 2nd Earl of Derwentwater (9 December 1655 - 29 April 1705) by whom she had four children including the Catholic James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater (26 June 1689 - 24 February 1716) who was executed for treason on Tower Hill on 24 February 1716, for his part in the 1715 Jacobite rising of James Francis Edward Stuart, 'the Old Pretender'.

Her second son Charles Radclyffe escaped and rejoined the James Francis Edward Stuart in France. He was re-captured in November 1745 while sailing to join Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, in Scotland and was beheaded on 8 December 1746, at the age of 53.

On 23 May 1705, shortly after her first husband, Lord Derwentwater's death, Mary married Henry Graham. On 26 August 1707, after Graham's death on 7 January 1707, she married thirdly Major James Rooke (died 16 June 1773).

Mary died in Paris on 5 November 1726, soon after her fifty-third birthday.