Well, February is over, this is it – the final love affair!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as I’ve enjoyed researching and writing them!
Thanks for your comments and for reading them each day.
“The Lady Was A Tramp”
There was a time when London society deb Frances Maynard was on the short list to marry one of Queen Victoria’s younger sons. She wasn’t interested in a second place royal so married Francis Greville, Lord Brooke, the eldest son and heir of George Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick instead.
(Parenthetically speaking, for all you Downton Abbey fans, this is the same Lady Warwick of whom “poor Edith” was speaking when she told the late Michael Gregson how Lady Warwick would have the stable bell rung at six in the morning so that her guests could go back to the right beds.)
Yes, Daisy, as she was called, was a real prize.
In the first four years of her marriage from 1881-1885, she had three children. Two more would follow in 1898 and 1904. Her husband, then Lord Brooke, became Lord Warwick when his father, the 4th earl died in 1893, and they all moved into Warwick Castle.
Life was just dandy!
Having married well, produced the heir and the spare, and a few others, she moved into the role of socialite rather smoothly.
She was the hit of lavish parties, held a few of her own, and became a member of the Marlborough House Set headed UP by The Prince of Wales and his beautiful wife, Alexandra.
This Prince of Wales would eventually become King Edward VII, not to be confused with King Edward VIII of whom I spoke twice this month.
Bink, you said you wanted a score card, mmmk?
Her first affair was with Lord Charles Beresford who was part of the Marlborough Set and a career Navy Man. Lady Warwick was a jealous lover, and became “outraged” when she found that her lover’s wife was pregnant. Dispatching a violent letter to Lord Charles chastising him for knocking UP his own wife created a brouhaha of epic proportion when said wife intercepted it! Lady Charles, as she was called, shared the letter with Sir George Lewis, the upper-crust’s solicitor for safe keeping.
The Prince of Wales, always a sucker for a pretty face, was roped in by the lovely Countess’ tears and pleas for help. Hoping to convince Lady Charles to relinquish the missive, his plan backfired when Lady Charles not only said no, but issued an ultimatum to Daisy – stay out of London for a season and the letter will be returned, show UP and it goes public.
Daisy, who would eventually become one of the Prince of Wales’ 55 mistresses, refused. The POW made things worse by not so subtly implying that Lady Charles was jeopardizing her husband’s Naval career and their position in society.
Lord Charles got so pissed, he actually pushed the future king down onto a sofa, an act which 100 years before would have resulted in a trip to the scaffold.
The scandal left their former friendship “diminished” and their relations were strained for the rest of their lives.
Daisy quickly moved from the arms of Lord Beresford into the arms of the Prince. That affair lasted until 1898 when she fell in love with…wait for it…Sir Joseph Laycock – I am not making this UP – a hero of the Boer War. Laycock was a millionaire bachelor and the father of Daisy’s last two children.
Laycock was also having an affair with the lovely Marchioness of Downshire, whose husband, the Marquess of Downshire threatened to divorce and or kill if the menage-a-trois didn’t end.
London society erupted when the Marquess did divorce the Marchioness and Laycock gave UP his bachelor days and married the new divorcee.
Poor, and I do mean poor, Lady Warwick was heartbroken, and broke.
Putting her heartache aside, she had to address her near poverty after years of lavish entertaining and social climbing.
Her downfall came from the fact that she was not only a courtesan, but loved gossip. So much so, she gossiped about herself and spilled the beans on her own affairs. As she’d been Lady Brooke at the time of her marriage, she was called the Babbling Brooke in time.
When her former lover, the old King died, Daisy found herself in tremendous debt and facing prison. Rather than sending a card, she tried to blackmail his son, King George V. Her threats to publish the old King’s letters would prove his adultery – like no one knew. Lord Stamfordham, another of the set, stopped the publication when he successfully argued the copyright belonged to the late King and not Lady Warwick. The high court ruled in favor of the King.
But, there’s always someone out there willing to pay. Arthur Du Cros, an industrialist and politician offered to pay a portion of her debts in exchange for the letters. Her debts in 2016’s currency would tote UP to nearly $12 million.
And so was the king, Du Cros was created a Baronet in 1916.
In 1928, Lady Warwick was still facing prison due to her debts! She was released on the condition that she publish her memoirs and submit them “to a literary man.”
Lady Warwick lived to the age of 76, dying in 1938. Her later years were spent in philanthropy after she adopted Socialism.
The memoir was eventually published as “Life’s Ebb and Flow”, her daughter said it was so vulgar it could only be described as muck! Today it is considered a resource on Edwardian Society.