Mistresses of King Charles II: Nell Gwyn

Charles Stuart loved women…even before he became King of England. We’re going to take a look at the women who Charles bedded, had children with but didn’t wed during his lifetime (that I’m aware of). This week we’re learning about Nell Gwyn.

Nell Gwyn

Eleanor “Nell” Gwyn (Gwynn/Gwynne): 2 February 1650 – 14 November 1687

Nell met Charles and became his mistress in 1668/69.  She was called “pretty, witty Nell.” by Samuel Pepys

She was completely committed to Charles and it appears that he never tired of her. It has been said that Nell was the least greedy of all of Charles’ mistresses as well. The website, Historic UK reports that when Charles II was dying he begged his heir, the Duke of York “not to let poor Nellie starve.”

Nell had two sons by Charles: Charles Beauclerk (Duke of St. Alban) and James Beauclerk.

It was quoted of Nell saying “come here you little bastard” to her son Charles in front of the King, who was mortified at her words. She proclaimed that he was a bastard, so what else should she call him? Charles II in turn made him Duke of St. Albans.

Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans

Children: Charles Beauclerk: 8 May 1670 – 10 May 1726 and James Beauclerk: Died in infancy

Nells outlived Charles II by only two years – she was only in her thirties.



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