II and Worcester
Map of Charles II landmarks
Charles - the power
and the passion
Gwynne - history UK
Gwynne - biography
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1650 at Pipewell Lane, Hereford.
her early teens was an Orange seller at the Drury Lane Theatre
her debut as an actress in 1665
(one of the many) mistresses of King Charles II in 1670
mentioned in Samuel Pepys diary as "Pretty, witty Nell"
two sons by Charles - one died and the other was made Earl
of Burford and, subsequently, Duke of St. Albans
survived Charles and was given a pension by James II
She died in 1687, aged 37, and is buried in the church of
Nell Gwynne certainly knew how to live life to the full, packing a
career as an orange seller, an actress and a royal mistress into her
has always laid claim to Nell Gwynne - there's still a pub named after
her in Monkmoor street in the City.
probably born in Pipewell Lane, though naturally London has also laid
claim to Nell, saying she was born near Drury Lane, where she later
made her name as an actress.
were colourful characters.
Dad was a former soldier, ruined by the civil war, and he died in
a debtors prison in Oxford, and his daughter probably didn't know
Her mother was drowned in a pond at Chelsea in July 1679, probably
while she was drunk.
time Nell was already an actress - though she'd started work as an
orange seller at the Drury Lane theatre.
selling was a euphemism for a much older profession, though Nell was
never ashamed of this.
told a crowd surrounding her carriage "Pray good people be civil,
I am the Protestant whore."
Though barely able to sign her name Nell was a vivacious character
- Samuel Pepys was entranced by her, called her "Pretty, witty
Nell" is his famous diary.
long before Nell was the mistress of Charles Hart the actor, and was
having plays written for her. She was especially good at comic roles.
a thing about men with the name Charles - after Charles Hart she became
mistress of Charles Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, and then Charles II,
King of England. Nell called them Charles the first, Charles the second
and Charles the third!
Being a Royal mistress under the Stuarts was a very public position
- Nell was one of 13 mistresses Charles II kept.
some of Charles' other mistresses Nell was popular with the public
possibly because she wasn't a gold digger.
set her up in a nice little house 200 yards from Windsor castle and
paid her a pension out of the Secret Service budget!
him two children: The elder was born in 1670 the elder, Charles (
I wonder where that name came from?) was made Baron Heddington and
Earl of Burford and, later, Duke of St. Albans.
The younger, James, born a year later died when he was nine.
a royal mistress until Charles died, indeed some of his last words
are reputed to have been "let not poor Nelly starve."
I, who succeeded to the throne, saw that she didn't - paying off her
debts and granting her another pension - again out of the Secret Service
young, even for those times, at the age of 37, and her funeral was
a very public event, with the funeral sermon being preached by the
vicar, Thomas Tenison, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.
to imagine that happening today.
know anything about the life and times of Nell Gwynne then let us
know. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org