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a tale of Restoration intrigue by

Molly Brown

The Duke of Buckingham once referred to Charles II "as the father of his people", adding, "of a good many of them".

The acknowledged mothers of Charles II's surviving bastards:

Lucy Walter Lucy Walter (mother of James Scott, Duke of Monmouth), also had a daughter named Mary who claimed to be the child of Charles II and later became a kind of faith healer in Covent Garden under the name of Mrs. Fanshawe.

Barbara Villiers Barbara Villiers (mother of six children, five of whom were acknowledged by Charles: three boys and two girls; the identity of the father of her youngest child - another daughter - is uncertain, but may have been John Churchill). She became Charle's mistress whilst married to Roger Palmer. She later became Duchess of Cleveland and then Duchess of Castlemaine.

Nell Gwyn Nell Gwyn (mother of two: Charles and James)

Moll Davis Moll Davis (mother of Mary Tudor)

Louise de Keroualle Louise de Kéroualle, mother of one son.

Elizabeth Killigrew (mother of Charlotte Jemima)

Catherine Pegge (mother of Charles, Earl of Plymouth, known as "Don Carlo")

No less than four of the King's sons were named Charles. Two of them were James. One was christened Henry and nicknamed Harry.

His daugthers were either Charlotte, Anne, or Mary (the names of Stuart princesses).

Surnames employed were either Fitzcharles, Fitzroy, or Tudor, though Monmouth took the name Crofts in the days of his father's exile before the Restoration, when a royal connection was not necessarily an advantage. (On Monmouth's marriage, he took his wife's surname of Scott.)

Some other mistresses of Charles II:

Frances Stuart Frances Stuart, with helmet and trident, was engraved as Britannia, to preside over British coinage for three centuries.

Of all Charles II's loves, she is the only one believed to have consistently refused his advances. Like Hortense Mancini who would capture the king's interest nearly ten years later, Frances Stuart indulged in the Restoration fasion of dressing in men's clothing.

At the time of Charles's infatuation with her, Barbara Palmer, who was pregnant with the king's child, made a great effort to befriend her potential rival. They even went through a mock marriage ceremony with Frances as bride, Barbara as groom, and the two of them bedded in the traditional post-wedding ceremony. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this odd lovers' triangle was that Barbara would offer to share her bed with Frances, then invite the king into the room to watch the other woman sleeping.

Frances eloped with the Duke of Richmond in April 1667. The king was furious, but eventually forgave her and made her husband ambassador to Denmark. The Duke died young, but Frances never remarried. She devoted her later years to cats and cards; at her death her cats were bequeathed to various female friends, with money for their upkeep.

A poem written by Charles II, about his love for Frances Stewart:

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