louise.jpgLouise de Kerouaille

A mistress of Charles II, she was born Louise-Renee de Penancoet de Kerouaille in Brest in September 1649. At 19 she became maid of honour to Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, the sister of King Charles. She met the king at Dover in June 1670 when she accompanied the Duchess on a journey from France to witness the signing of the Treaty of Dover. Charles became infatuated with her and came to describe her as ‘the only jewel I covet’.

She was a rival to Nell Gwynne and bore Charles a son, Charles Lennox, in 1672 (later the first Duke of Richmond whose descendants are the owners of Goodwood). Her refinement, good brain and breeding were in stark contrast to Nell Gwynne’s coarseness.

In 1673, Louise was created Duchess of Portsmouth, Countess of Fareham and Baroness of Petersfield. Samuel Pepys related that King Charles spent several nights with her in Petersfield. After the death of Charles in 1685 she returned with her son to live in France and died in Paris on 14 November 1734.