Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick

Daisy Greville
Countess of Warwick
Daisy Greville, 1899
Spouse(s) Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick
Issue
Leopold Greville, 6th Earl of Warwick
Full name
Frances Evelyn "Daisy"
Father The Hon. Charles Maynard
Mother Blanche Fitzroy
Born 10 December 1861(1861-12-10)
Easton Lodge
Died 26 July 1938(1938-07-26) (aged 76)

Frances Evelyn "Daisy" Greville, Countess of Warwick (10 December 1861–26 July 1938)[1] was a society beauty, and mistress to King Edward VII.

Contents

Family

Born Frances Evelyn Maynard at Easton Lodge near Great Dunmow, she was one of three children of the Hon. Charles Maynard and Blanche Fitzroy. Charles Maynard was the eldest son and heir of Henry Maynard, 3rd Viscount Maynard, whose estates Daisy inherited in 1865 upon the Viscount's death, her father having died 3 months before. Blanche Fitzroy was a descendant of Charles II through his mistresses Nell Gwyn and Barbara Villiers. Two years after her father's death, her mother married thirty-three-year-old Lord Rosslyn, a favourite courtier of Queen Victoria. They had five children, Daisy's half-sisters including Sybil Fane, Countess of Westmorland; Millicent Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland; and Lady Angela Forbes.

Marriage

At one stage Daisy was considered as a possible wife for Prince Leopold (later Duke of Albany), a younger son of Queen Victoria. The Queen approved, but the Prince was in love with someone else.

Instead, she married Francis Greville, Lord Brooke, the eldest son and heir of George Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick, in 1881.[2] The couple had three children in the first four years of their marriage.[1][2] Her fourth child, a son, was born in 1898, and a daughter was born in 1904. Lord Brooke succeeded to the Earldom in 1893, and the family moved into Warwick Castle.

Affairs

Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, Lafayette Studio 1899
Daisy, Countess of Warwick, from Bystander magazine, October 1905
Daisy Greville and one of her children

Following her marriage and the birth of her children, she became a socialite, often attending lavish parties and gatherings. She and her husband were members of the Marlborough House Set, headed by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Beginning in 1886, she became involved in affairs with several powerful men, most notably Edward VII.

Lady Warwick's affair with Edward VII, which lasted until 1898, is thought to have been mainly a cover for her actual heart-felt relationship with Lord Charles Beresford (after 1916, 1st Baron Beresford), for whom she actually had genuine feelings. However, this was without the knowledge of Edward VII, and when he discovered that she also was involved with Lord Charles, Edward VII tried to recover an alleged compromising letter that Lady Brooke (Daisy Greville) had written to Beresford, and which was supposedly in the hands of Lady Charles. The quarrel lasted until Prime Minister Lord Salisbury interfered and both parties reached an agreement. Nevertheless, the relations between Edward VII and Lord Charles remained weak for the remainder of their lives.[citation needed]

Her main flaw when acting as a courtesan for powerful men was that she lacked the ability to keep her affairs private, and when involved with a man of wealth and power, she had a distinct habit of divulging it to others. Often, a courtesan could have a prolonged career simply based on that one characteristic. For her indiscretions and this habit, she earned the nickname "The Babbling Brooke", and she was the inspiration for the popular music hall song "Daisy, Daisy".[citation needed]

Following the death of Edward VII, and having large debts, she tried to blackmail his son, the new King George V. She threatened to make public a series of love letters written by Edward VII. It was the cunning expertise of Lord Stamfordham that managed to stop publication by arguing that copyright belonged to the King.[citation needed]

Politics and philanthropy

Robert Blatchford wrote a critique of Warwick's lifestyle in the 1890s, and this led her to seek him out to discuss socialism. His argument had a lasting impact on her, and she joined the Social Democratic Federation in 1904. She donated large amounts of money to the organisation and in particular supported its campaign for free meals for schoolchildren. As a patron of several parishes, she appointed socialist clergy such as Conrad Noel to their livings. She opposed World War I and supported the October Revolution. After the war, she joined the Labour Party.[3]

She also founded a needlework school at Easton in Essex and Studley Agricultural College for Women and hosted meetings of trade unionists at Easton Lodge, which she retained as a private residence after moving to Warwick Castle. She created lavish gardens at Easton Lodge, and also kept a small private zoo. The novelist H. G. Wells was a resident of her Easton estate, letting Easton Glebe from 1910 to 1928.

She threw parties to raise funds to provide the chapel now a part of Warwick Boys' School with a pulpit, known as "Daisy's Pulpit".

During the 1890s, Lady Warwick became acquainted with the novelist Elinor Glyn, whom she introduced into British society.

References

  1. ^ a b thepeerage.com: Frances Evelyn Maynard
  2. ^ a b University of Hull, Directory of Royal Genealogical Data: Frances Evelyn Maynard
  3. ^ Martin Crick, The history of the Social-Democratic Federation, p.318

Bibliography

  • Aronson, Theo (1988) The King in Love: Edward VII's Mistresses, London, Guild Publishing
  • Blunden, Margaret (1967) The Countess of Warwick, London, Cassell & Co
  • Lang, Theo (1966) My Darling Daisy, London, Michael Joseph
  • Warwick, Frances, Countess of (1929) Life's Ebb and Flow, New York, William Morrow & Co
  • Warwick, Frances, Countess of (1931) Discretions, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons

External links


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