The Royal Brotherhood
And How it All Began…
This series features three half-brothers who are fictional bastards of the Prince of Wales (for more about Prinny’s many affairs, check out the Rooted in History tab below). Bound together by the royal father who denied them, they have formed a pact to help each other achieve their every desire—including the women of their dreams. So without further ado, meet…
Note: These books are a series in the sense that they are set in a shared world and some characters make appearances in later books. They can, however, easily be standalones. Feel free to jump in wherever you like.
Miss Katherine Merivale is desperate to make a respectable match—if only her childhood sweetheart would propose! Until he does, she can’t touch the fortune she’s inherited. That’s why the last thing she needs is that notorious rogue Alec Black putting… Read more
Beautiful Lady Regina Tremaine has turned down so many suitors she’s called La Belle Dame Sans Merci. The truth: she won’t marry, because she carries a dark secret. Still she sees no reason why her brother shouldn’t court the lovely Louisa North… Read more
Lovely Christabel, the Marchioness of Haversham, is desperate to regain some personal correspondence—so desperate that she pretends to be the mistress of notorious gaming club owner Gavin Byrne, in order to attend a scandalous house party… Read more
All About Prinny & His Mistresses (1762-1830)
George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales (later George IV), defines the Regency era. Literally. The period is named after the nine years he spent as Regent of England (from 1811-1820) while his father, George III, was incapacitated with what most historians now believe was porphryia.
But good old George Augustus (nicknamed Prinny) preferred chasing skirts and living the high life to playing Regent. While he did marry two women, he had at least eight mistresses in his lifetime, and probably more.
He acknowledged only two of his byblows, but no one knows how many there really were.
Here is some of what is known about his two wives, one legitimate daughter, his known mistresses and his two acknowledged byblows. I made up three more mistresses and their sons, but two of my mistresses are loosely based on his actual ones.
Have fun guessing who is who when you read the books!
Maria Anne Fitzherbert
Prinny actually loved Maria. But she was Catholic, and he married her without the permission of his parents, so the English government found a way not to recognize the marriage under English law. Fortunately for the English secession, she bore no children to Prinny… none that anyone will admit to, anyway. She acted as his wife, however, for much of his life, throughout his many mistresses and even during his “legal” marriage to…
Caroline of Brunswick
Prinny married poor Caroline strictly for political reasons, only to discover that she was loud, dirty and crude, not at all his idea of a queen (I will say this for him—most of his known mistresses seem very elegant). He found his queen so appalling that he tried—unsuccessfully—to divorce her, on the grounds that she had cheated on him (talk about the pot calling the kettle black!). They had one child, Princess Charlotte, who died before her father did. As a result, his brother had to be the heir when Prinny died childless, and then his niece Victoria, who well-remembered the sort of life led by her wild uncles and who ushered in an age as opposite from that as possible.
Prinny only had one legitimate child—Charlotte Augusta. Born to him and the wife he hated, Charlotte was raised primarily by governesses and kept separated from her mother, except for occasional visits. She was temporarily betrothed to the Prince of Orange but ended up married to a man she fell in love with, a unprepossessing fellow named Leopold, who later became the Belgian King. They had a happy marriage for a few years. Then she died while bearing her first child.
Hot-tempered and passionate, Charlotte nonetheless caught the fancy of the English public, who grieved as one upon her death. Prinny seemed to love her (as much as he could love anyone), and he took her death pretty hard, especially since it meant that he had no heir to the throne and was unlikely to produce one (he had sworn off Princess Caroline as a bed partner years before). As a result of her death, his brothers all scurried to marry, so that they could produce the next heir if need be. William ended up as king after Prinny but bore no heirs. Although he had ten illegitimate children by his actress mistress before marrying late in life, all of his children by his wife were stillborn or died in infancy. It was one of his other brothers, Edward, the Duke of Kent, who eventually bore the woman who came to be one of the greatest queens in English history—Victoria.
MistressesPrinny’s first mistress was a young, married actress named Mary Robinson. Mrs. Robinson, a few years older than the then 18-year-old Prince of Wales, captivated him when she played Perdita on the stage. After they consummated their relationship, he promised to set her up as his mistress and pay her a bond of 20,000 pounds upon his reaching his majority. On the strength of that promise, she quit her profession as an actress (her husband was a rather easygoing chap, apparently). But the relationship only lasted two years, and when he left he reneged on his offer to give her money, so she threatened to publish his letters to her. In the end, she agreed to relinquish hope of the bond in exchange for a 500 pound annuity.
I assume that the whole debacle rather depressed her, because she turned to writing for solace, and became an accomplished poet whose works still appear in anthologies to this day. You can learn more about her, read her works and her memoirs and view several pictures of her at the Celebration of Women Writers site.
Prinny’s next mistress was Elizabeth Armistead, who became involved with Prinny while she was still the mistress of a duke’s brother, Lord George Cavendish. Lord George found them together one night and reacted rather perversely… by laughing (he was drunk at the time). That is probably what drove Liz right into Prinny’s arms. She later became well-known for being the longterm mistress and eventual wife of Charles Fox, a very famous British statesman. Apparently, once in a while a man did marry his mistress.
Not long after ditching poor Elizabeth, Prinny took up with a divorced woman, Mrs. Grace Dalrymple Eliot, whose convent education in France had apparently failed miserably to curb her appetites, for she acquired lovers the way some people acquire pets. She claimed that Prinny sired her daughter, Georgiana Frederica Augusta Seymour (hence the mouthful of a name that resembled her “father’s”), but several of Grace’s other lovers claimed the girl, too, and since there were no paternity tests back then, nobody knows for sure.
Elizabeth Milbanke Lamb, Lady Melbourne, is one of Prinny’s most fascinating mistresses. After bearing her dull but amiable husband an heir, she supposedly had two children by one lover and then her fourth child—George Lamb—by the Regent. Known for her shrewd character and keen management of her husband’s affairs, she was a confidante of Lord Byron, the mother-in-law of Caroline Lamb, and the great friend of the Duchess of Devonshire, not to mention a supporter of several famous Whig politicians. Her son William described her in his later life as “a remarkable woman, a devoted mother, an excellent wife—but not chaste, not chaste.” Talk about an understatement!
Isabella Seymour-Conway, the Marchioness of Hertford, was a viscount’s daughter who married the second Marquess of Hertford at 16 and became Prinny’s mistress at 46. Though her husband made some initial complaint, he then proceeded to look the other way for 12 years while she and Prinny carried on their affair. Prinny was chummy with the marquis, too, and frequently visited the Hertford estate in Warwickshire and their mansion in London. Later he became even better friends with their son, Francis (who was definitely not Prinny’s son, however, since the man was born when Prinny was only 15). Francis was quite the wastrel, which would explain why he and Prinny hit it off so well. In fact, the third Marquess eventually became Prinny’s vice-chamberlain. She was so instrumental in changing Prinny’s political leanings that a caricaturist depicted her as Delilah and Prinny as Sampson in one of his political cartoons.
Elizabeth, Countess Conyngham later Marchioness of Conyngham, was Prinny’s mistress from 1819 until he died. She and her husband were friends of the Hertfords, so they had known the prince for some time when she became Prinny’s mistress. Apparently, the marquis was another of those blind husbands who didn’t mind being cuckolded as long as it got him privileges with royalty. He didn’t balk, even when Prinny put him on a lower floor at Windsor Castle while his wife resided in rooms upstairs on the same floor as Prinny’s. Not that Prinny was the first one to require her husband’s blind eye. She had had a number of affairs before that, but it was the one with Prinny that really benefited her. Prinny showered her with jewels and expensive clothes, even giving her one of the crown jewels—the Stuart diamond! Fortunately, she was savvy enough to give it back after his death, if only to keep from losing the other fortune in jewels he had given her. What a woman!
Prinny is reputed to have had several. Burke’s Peerage lists only one: Major George Seymour Crole. The Peerage.com lists two more: George Milbanke [George Lamb] and Georgiana Fredrica Augusta Seymour but claims have also been made for James Ord, Charles Candy and William Hampshire. Some of these claims are more dubious than others. I suppose only DNA would tell us for sure, considering how randy Prinny was.