The Death of Two 17th Century Women of Pleasure

The 14th November sees the anniversary of the death of not 1 but 2 of Charles II mistresses, Nell Gwenn and her Catholic French rival “Fubbs” Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth; in 1687 and 1734 respectively. 

Both women bore Charles children. Both women were mentioned on Charles deathbed; royal etiquette was strict over who could be near a dying monarch. 

Both women had sad tragic endings. Nell was to die of stroke less than 3 years after Charles died, also of stroke at the young age of 37.

The Duchess of Portsmouth returned to her native France where she died very old (85 years of age) and very poor in Paris. 

The two women were openly refered to as the Protestant Whore (Nell) and the Catholic Whore (Louise). 

Both women have their portraits hanging in London’s National Portrait Gallery and are indeed very beautiful women. 

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