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Portsmouth, Louise de Kéroualle, duchess of

Portsmouth, Louise de Kéroualle, duchess of (1649–1734). Of Breton lineage, Louise de Kéroualle accompanied Henrietta Anne, sister of Charles II, to England in 1670; Charles's despair at Henrietta's sudden death and obvious infatuation with Louise encouraged Louis XIV to send her back to England. Her baby-faced charms led Charles to call her ‘Fubbs’ (fubsy=chubby), though her emotional outbursts prompted ‘the weeping willow’ from Nell Gwyn, and she rapidly rose to become ‘the most absolute of the king's mistresses’. Her son by Charles (1672) was created duke of Richmond and she herself made duchess of Portsmouth in 1673. Universally unpopular as Frenchwoman and catholic, she was mercenary, recklessly extravagant, and haughty to inferiors; her Whitehall apartment, extended and altered 1672–4 (further rebuilt 1678), was so luxuriously furnished and full of silver plate as to surfeit Evelyn. James II offered reassurances of protection, but after the 1691 fire she returned to France.

A. S. Hargreaves

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Portsmouth, Louise Renée de Kéroualle, duchess of

Louise Renée de Kéroualle Portsmouth, duchess of (lwēz rənā´ də kārōōäl´), 1649–1734, French mistress of Charles II of England. She exerted a powerful influence over the king in favor of France—and to her own advantage—from 1671 until his death in 1685. She was made duchess of Portsmouth in 1673 and was the mother by the king of Charles Lennox, duke of Richmond. Hated by many English as a French-Catholic menace, she lived mostly in France after 1685.

See J. Delpech, The Life and Times of the Duchess of Portsmouth (tr. by A. Lindsay, 1953).

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