Patsy Cornwallis-West

Patsy Cornwallis-West
Mary Cornwallis-West.jpg
Cornwallis-West in 1878
Mary Adelaide Virginia Thomasina Eupatoria FitzPatrick

Died 21 July 1920(1920-07-21) (aged 63–64)
Known for Mistress of Edward VII
(m. 1872; died 1917)
Children Daisy, Princess of Pless
George Cornwallis-West
Constance Lewes
Parent(s) Frederick FitzPatrick
Lady Olivia FitzPatrick
Relatives Thomas Taylour, 2nd Marquess of Headfort (grandfather)

Mary Adelaide Virginia Thomasina Eupatoria "Patsy" Cornwallis-West (née FitzPatrick; 1856 – 21 July 1920) was an Irish-born aristocrat and a prominent mistress of the future King Edward VII.

Early life

Cornwallis-West was born into an upper-class Irish family as the daughter of the Rev. Frederick, a descendant of Barnaby Fitzpatrick, 1st Baron Upper Ossory and Lady Olivia FitzPatrick, daughter of Thomas Taylour, 2nd Marquess of Headfort.

Personal life

Her eldest daughter, Daisy, Princess of Pless

Her mother unsuccessfully attempted to seduce Albert, Prince Consort, and Cornwallis-West herself became mistress of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) at the age of 16.[1] The affair was discovered, and in 1872 she was married to the Lord-Lieutenant of Denbighshire William Cornwallis-West. He was more than twice her age and from 1885 to 1892 served as a MP for Denbighshire West. They lived at Ruthin Castle and had three children:

Cornwallis-West became notorious for using her influence over the Prince of Wales to arrange marriages for her children, particularly the marriage of her younger daughter to the wealthy Duke of Westminster.[2]

In 1915, she began a relationship with a much younger shell-shocked soldier, Patrick Barrett, nursed in the Duchess of Westminster's hospital in Le Touquet. Her attempts to have the soldier promoted within the army caused a scandal.[2] She was widowed in 1917 and died of stomach cancer three years later.

In popular culture

She was portrayed by actress Jennie Linden[3] in the 1978 London Weekend miniseries Lillie[4] based on the life of her friend Lillie Langtry, who was another lover of Edward VII.

See also


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