Beauclerk, Charles 1965–
Beauclerk, Charles 1965–
(Charles Beauclerk, Earl of Burford, Charles Francis Topham de Vere Beauclerk)
PERSONAL: Born February 22, 1965; father's name Murray de Vere Beauclerk, 14th Duke of St. Albans; married Louise Robey (a singer and actress), 1994 (divorced, 2001); children: James Malcolm Aubrey Edward de Vere Beauclerk, Lord Vere of Hanworth. Education: Sherborne and Hertford College, Oxford.
ADDRESSES: Agent—A.P. Watt, Ltd., 20 John St., London WC1N 2DR, England.
CAREER: Lecturer, librarian, and writer.
MEMBER: De Vere Society (president), Royal Stuart Society (vice president).
SIDELIGHTS: Charles Beauclerk, a lecturer and librarian by profession and the Earl of Burford by title, made use of his genealogical ties to nobility and access to unpublished family papers in writing his first book, Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King. Beauclerk is a descendant both of Gwyn, an actress and celebrity personality of her day, which was the latter half of the seventeenth century, and King Charles II, who was the father of Gwyn's sons, Charles and James Beauclerk. Though in some circles Gwyn was called a "Protestant whore" because of her lowly status, Beauclerk considers her "the original 'people's princess,'" because of the way she won the hearts of the people with her well-known sense of comedy and wit. In addition to recounting Gwyn's Cinderella-like rise from pauper to the king's most popular mistress, Beauclerk takes time to consider her well-regarded acting career, which began after she was "discovered" selling oranges at the Royal Drury Lane Theater, as well as the more than 300 years of political and social fallout besetting the Beauclerk family due to their unconventional genesis. B. Allison Gray, reviewing the book in Library Journal, called Nell Gwyn "thoroughly engaging," although a writer for Kirkus Reviews considered the book "uneven." Most reviewers commended Beauclerk's conversational tone, if not his declaration that Gywn's relationship with King Charles II was one of the great love stories of history, with a writer for Publishers Weekly appreciating that "Beauclerk's historical insights have a personal flair." In a review for the Guardian, Sarah Burton concluded that Beauclerk "succeeds in capturing Nell Gwyn's vivacity, originality and essential sweetness."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Guardian (Manchester, England), August 27, 2005, Sarah Burton, review of Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of Nell Gwyn, p. 890.
Library Journal, September 15, 2005, B. Allison Gray, review of Nell Gwyn, p. 72.
Publishers Weekly, July 11, 2005, review of Nell Gwyn, p. 69.
Spectator, June 25, 2005, Hugh Massingberd, review of Nell Gwyn, p. 48.