LILLIE LANGTRY (usually spelled LILY LANGTRY in the United States), born EMILIE CHARLOTTE LE BRETON (October 13, 1853 – February 12, 1929), was celebrated as a young woman of beauty and charm, who later established a reputation as an actress and producer. Her looks and personality attracted interest, commentary, and invitations from artists and society hostesses .
By 1881, she had become an actress and starred in many plays,
She Stoops to Conquer
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 From
* 2 Personal life
* 2.1 Royal mistress * 2.2 Daughter
* 8 Final days
* 8.1 Bequests
* 9 Cultural influence and portrayals
* 10 Places connected with
Born in 1853 as EMILIE CHARLOTTE LE BRETON, Langtry was the only
daughter of Rev. William Corbet Le Breton and his wife Emilie Davis
(née Martin), who was known for her beauty. They eloped to Gretna
Green and, in 1842, married at Chelsea. Emilie Charlotte was born in
the rectory of St Saviour 's
Emilie, the daughter, was the sixth of seven children and the only
female child. Her brothers were Francis Corbet Le Breton (1843–72),
William Inglis Le Breton (1846–1931), Trevor Alexander Le Breton
(1847–70), Maurice Vavasour Le Breton (1849–1881), Clement Martin
Le Breton (10 January 1851–1 July 1927), and Reginald Le Breton
(1855–76). When she died, William was her last surviving brother.
Purportedly, one of their ancestors was
Richard le Breton , allegedly
one of the assassins in 1170 of
Her French governess was unable to manage her, so Lillie was educated
by her brothers' tutor. This enabled her to gain a better education
than did most women of her day. Their father was the Dean of
FROM JERSEY TO LONDON
On March 6, 1874, 20-year-old Lillie married 30-year-old Irish
landowner Edward Langtry, a widower, who had been married to Jane
Frances Price. She was the sister of Elizabeth Frances Price, who had
married Lillie's brother William. They held their wedding reception
at The Royal Yacht Hotel in
St. Helier , Jersey. Langtry was wealthy
enough to own a yacht, and Lillie insisted that he take her away from
In an interview published in several newspapers (including the
Brisbane Herald) in 1882,
“It was through Lord Raneleigh and the painter Frank Miles that I was first introduced to London society... I went to London and was brought out by my friends. Among the most enthusiastic of these was Mr Frank Miles, the artist. I learned afterwards that he saw me one evening at the theatre, and tried in vain to discover who I was. He went to his clubs and among his artist friends declaring he had seen a beauty, and he described me to everybody he knew, until one day one of his friends met me and he was duly introduced. Then Mr Miles came and begged me to sit for my portrait. I consented, and when the portrait was finished he sold it to Prince Leopold. From that time I was invited everywhere and made a great deal of by many members of the royal family and nobility. After Frank Miles I sat for portraits to Millais and Burne-Jones and now Frith is putting my face in one of his great pictures."
In 1877 Lillie's brother Clement Le Breton had married Alice an
illegitimate daughter of
Thomas Heron Jones, 7th Viscount Ranelagh , a
friend of their father, and Ranelagh invited
Before the end of the evening,
Frank Miles had completed several
sketches of her that became very popular on postcards. Another guest,
John Everett Millais
August 1885 by William Downey
Prince of Wales
The affair lasted from late 1877 to June 1880. Although remaining friends with the Prince, Lillie Langtry's physical relationship with him ended when she became pregnant, probably by her old friend Arthur Jones with whom she went to Paris for the birth of the child, Jeanne Marie, in March 1881.
In July 1879, Langtry began an affair with the Earl of Shrewsbury ; in January 1880, Langtry and the earl were planning to run away together. In the autumn of 1879, rumours were published in Town Talk that her husband would divorce her and cite, among others, the Prince of Wales as co-respondent . Adolphus Rosenberg was the journalist. He wrote separately about Mrs Cornwallis-West, which resulted in her husband suing him for libel. At this point, the Prince of Wales instructed his solicitor George Lewis to sue. Rosenburg pleaded guilty to both of the charges brought against him and was sentenced to 2 years in prison.
For some time, the Prince saw little of Langtry. He remained fond of her and spoke well of her in her later career as a theatre actress; he used his power to help and encourage her. With the withdrawal of royal favour, creditors closed in. The Langtrys' finances were not equal to their lifestyle. In October 1880, Langtry sold many of her possessions to meet her debts, allowing Edward Langtry to avoid a declaration of bankruptcy.
Langtry as Lady de Bathe, circa 1915
In April 1879, Langtry had a short affair with Prince Louis of
Battenberg , but also had a longer relationship with Arthur Clarence
Jones (1854–1930), the brother of her sister-in-law and another
illegitimate child of Lord Ranelagh. In June 1880, she became
pregnant. Her husband was not the father; she led Prince Louis to
believe that he was. When the prince told his parents, they had him
assigned to the warship HMS Inconstant . The
Prince of Wales
The discovery in 1978 of Langtry's passionate letters to Arthur Jones and their publication by Laura Beatty in 1999 support the idea that Jones was the father of her daughter. Prince Louis' son, Earl Mountbatten of Burma , had always maintained that his father was the father of Jeanne Marie.
In 1902, Jeanne Marie married the Scottish politician Sir Ian Malcolm
at St Margaret\'s, Westminster . They had four children, three sons
and a daughter. Lady Malcolm died in 1964. Her daughter Mary Malcolm
was one of the first two female announcers on the BBC Television
Service (now BBC One) from 1948 to 1956. She died on 13 October 2010,
aged 92. Jeanne Marie's second son, Victor Neill Malcolm, married
ACTING CAREER AND MANAGER
In 1881, Lillie was in need of money. Her close friend Oscar Wilde
suggested she try the stage, and Lillie embarked upon a theatre
career. She first tried out for an amateur production in the
Twickenham Town Hall on 19 November 1881. It was a comedy two-hander
called A Fair Encounter, with Henrietta Labouchère taking the other
role and coaching Langtry in her acting. Labouchère had been a
professional actress (
Henrietta Hodson ) before she met and married
Henry Labouchère . Following favorable reviews of this
first attempt at the stage, and with further coaching, Langtry made
her debut before the London public, playing Kate Hardcastle in She
Stoops to Conquer at the
Early in 1882, Langtry quit the production team at the Haymarket and started her own company, touring the UK with various plays. She was still under the tutelage of Henrietta Labouchère.
American impresario Henry Abbey arranged a tour in the United States
for Langtry. She arrived by ship in October 1882 to be met by the
Her first tour of the United States (accompanied by Gebhard) was an enormous success, which she repeated in subsequent years. While the critics generally condemned her interpretations of roles such as Pauline in The Lady of Lyons or Rosalind in As You Like It , the public loved her. After her return from New York in 1883, Langtry registered at the Conservatoire in Paris for six weeks' intensive training to improve her acting technique.
In 1889, she took on the part of
From 1900 to 1903, with financial support from
Edgar Israel Cohen ,
She became the lessee and manager of London's Imperial Theatre ,
opening on April 21, 1901, following an extensive refurbishment. On
the site of the theatre is now the
Westminster Central Hall
For nearly a decade, from 1882 to 1891, Langtry had a relationship with an American, Frederick Gebhard, described as a young clubman, sportsman, horse owner, and admirer of feminine beauty, both on and off the stage. Gebhard's wealth was inherited; his maternal grandfather Thomas E. Davis was one of the wealthiest New York real estate owners of the period. His paternal grandfather, Dutchman Frederick Gebhard, came to New York in 1800 and developed a mercantile business that expanded into banking and railroad stocks. Langtry buys Regal Lodge from Baird's estate
Gebhard's father died when he was 5 years old and his mother died when he was about 10. He and his sister, Isabelle, were raised by a guardian, paternal uncle William H Gebhard. When Gebhard began his relationship with Langtry, he was 22 and she was 29.
With Gebhard, Langtry became involved in the sport of Thoroughbred
horse racing . In 1885, she and Gebhard brought a stable of American
horses to race in England. On August 13, 1888, Langtry and Gebhard
traveled in her private car attached to an
Despite speculation, Langtry and Gebhard never married. In 1895, he married Lulu Morris of Baltimore; they divorced in 1901. In 1905 he married Marie Wilson; he died in 1910. Sale of Regal Lodge 1919
In 1889, Langtry met “an eccentric young bachelor, with vast estates in Scotland, a large breeding stud, a racing stable, and more money than he knew what to do with”: he was George Alexander Baird or Squire Abington, as he came to be known. He inherited wealth from his grandfather, who with seven of his sons, had developed and prospered from coal and iron workings. Baird’s father had died when he was a young boy, leaving him a fortune in trust. In addition, he inherited the estates of two equally wealthy uncles who had died childless.
Langtry and Baird met at a race course when he gave her a betting tip and the stake money to place on the horse. The horse won and, at a later luncheon party, Baird also offered her the gift of a horse named Milford. She at first demurred, but others at the table advised her to accept, as this horse was a very fine prospect. The horse won several races under Langtry’s colours; he was registered to “Mr Jersey” (women were excluded from registering horses at this time). Langtry became involved in a relationship with Baird, from 1891 until his death in March 1893.
When Baird died, Langtry purchased two of his horses, Lady Rosebery and Studley Royal, at the estate dispersal sale. She moved her training to Sam Pickering’s stables at Kentford House and took Regal Lodge as a residence in the village of Kentford , near Newmarket. The building is a short distance from Baird's original race horse breeding establishment, which has since been renamed Meddler Stud .
Langtry found mentors in Captain
James Octavius Machell and Joe
Thompson, who provided guidance on all matters related to the turf.
When her trainer Pickering failed to deliver results, she moved her
expanded string of 20 horses to Fred Webb at
Told of a good horse for sale in Australia called Merman , she
purchased it and had it shipped to England; such shipments were risky
and she had a previous bad experience with a horse arriving injured
(Maluma). Merman was regarded as one of the best “stayers”; he
eventually went on to win the Lewes Handicap, the Cesarewitch , Jockey
Club Cup , Goodwood Stakes,
Goodwood Cup , and
Ascot Gold Cup
Other trainers used by Langtry were Jack Robinson, who trained at Foxhill in Wiltshire, and a very young Fred Darling whose first big success was Yentoi's 1908 Caesarwitch.
Langtry owned a stud at Gazely, Newmarket. This venture was not a
success. After a few years, she gave up attempts to breed blood-stock.
Langtry sold Regal Lodge and all her horse-racing interests in 1919
before she moved to
WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE
During her stage career, she became friendly with William Ewart
Gladstone (1809–1898), who was the British
In 1925, Captain Peter Emmanuel Wright published a book called Portraits and Criticisms. In it, he claimed that Gladstone had numerous extramarital affairs, including one with Langtry. Gladstone’s son Herbert Gladstone wrote a letter calling Wright a liar, a coward and a fool; Wright sued him. During the trial a telegram, sent by Langtry from Monte Carlo, was read out in court saying, "I strongly repudiate the slanderous accusations of Peter Wright." The jury found against Wright, saying that the "gist of the defendant's letter of 27 July was true" and that the evidence vindicated the high moral standards of the late Gladstone.
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP AND DIVORCE
Lillie Langtry's grave in Saint Saviour,
In 1888, Langtry became a property owner in the United States when she and Frederick Gebhard purchased adjoining ranches, hers with an area of 4,200 acres (17 km2) in Guenoc Valley , Lake County, California , on which she established a winery producing red wine. She sold it in 1906. Bearing the Langtry Farms name, the winery and vineyard are still in operation in Middletown, California .
During her travels in the United States, Langtry became an American citizen and on May 13, 1897, divorced her husband, Edward Langtry, in Lakeport, California . Her ownership of land in America was introduced in evidence at her divorce to help demonstrate to the judge that she was a citizen of the country. In June of that year Edward Langtry issued a statement giving his side of the story, which was published in the New York Journal.
He died a few months later in an asylum, after being found in a demented condition at a railway station. Cause of death was probably due to a brain haemorrhage after a fall during on a steamer crossing from Belfast to Liverpool. A verdict of accidental death was returned at the inquest. A letter of condolence later written by Langtry to another widow reads in part, "I too have lost a husband, but alas! it was no great loss."
Langtry continued to have involvement with her husband's Irish
properties after his death. These were compulsorily purchased from her
in 1928 under the Northern Ireland Land Act , 1925. This was passed
Partition of Ireland
HUGO GERALD DE BATHE
After the divorce from her husband, Langtry was linked in the popular press to Prince Louis Esterhazy; they shared time together and both had an interest in horse racing. However, in 1899, she married 28-year-old Hugo Gerald de Bathe (1871-1940), son of Sir Henry de Bathe, 4th Baronet and Charlotte Clare. Hugo's parents had initially not married, due to objections from the de Bathe family. They lived together and seven of their children were born out of wedlock. They married after the death of Sir Henry's father in 1870, and Hugo was their first son born in wedlock – making him heir to the baronetcy.
The wedding between Langtry and de Bathe took place in St Saviour’s Church, Jersey, on July 27, 1899, with Jeanne Marie Langtry being the only other person present, apart from the officials. This was the same day that Langtry's horse, Merman , won the Goodwood Cup . In December 1899, de Bathe volunteered to join the British forces in the Boer War . He was assigned to the Robert’s Horse mounted brigade as a lieutenant. In 1907, Hugo's father died; he became the 5th Baronet, and Langtry became Lady de Bathe.
When Hugo de Bathe became the 5th Baronet, he inherited properties in Sussex, Devon and Ireland; those in Sussex were in the hamlet of West Stoke near Chichester. These were: Woodend, 17 bedrooms set in 71 acres; Hollandsfield, 10 bedrooms set in 52 acres and Balsom’s Farm of 206 acres. Woodend was retained as the de Bathe residence whilst the smaller Hollandsfield was let.
Today the buildings retain their period appearance, but modifications and additions have been made, and the complex is now multi-occupancy. One of the houses on the site is named Langtry and another Hardy. The de Bathe properties were all sold in 1919, the same year Lady de Bathe sold Regal Lodge.
De Bathe property sale 1919 - Sussex properties *
De Bathe property sale 1919 Woodend details *
De Bathe property sale 1919 Woodend photograph *
De Bathe property sale 1919 Hollandsfield details *
De Bathe property sale 1919 Hollandsfield photograph
During her final years, Langtry, as Lady de Bathe, resided in Monaco
whilst her husband, Sir Hugo de Bathe, lived in
Langtry's closest companion during her time in
Langtry died in
In her will, Langtry left £2,000 to a young man that she had become fond of in later life named Charles Louis D'Albani; the son of a Newmarket solicitor, he was born in about 1891. She also left £1,000 to Dr A. T. Bulkeley Gavin of 5 Berkeley Square, London, a physician and surgeon who treated wealthy patients. In 1911 he had been engaged to author Katherine Cecil Thurston , who died before they could marry; she had already changed her will in favour of Bulkeley Gavin.
CULTURAL INFLUENCE AND PORTRAYALS
Langtry used her high public profile to endorse commercial products such as cosmetics and soap, an early example of celebrity endorsement. She used her famous ivory complexion to generate income, being the first woman to endorse a commercial product when she advertised Pears Soap . Caricature of Langtry, from Punch , Christmas 1890: The soap box on which she sits reflects her endorsements of cosmetics and soaps.
In the 1944 Universal film The Scarlet Claw , Lillian Gentry, the initial murder victim, wife of Lord William Penrose and former actress, is an oblique reference to Langtry.
Langtry's life story has been portrayed in film numerous times.
Lillian Bond played her in The Westerner (1940), and
In 1978, Langtry's story was dramatised by London Weekend Television
and produced as Lillie , starring
Langtry is a featured character in the fictional The Flashman Papers
novels of acclaimed writer
George Macdonald Fraser , in which she is
noted as a former lover of arch cad
Langtry is used as a touchstone for old-fashioned manners in Preston
Sturges's comedy The Lady Eve (1941), in a scene where a corpulent
woman drops a handkerchief on the floor and the hero ignores it. Jean
Langtry is a featured character in the play Sherlock Holmes and the
Case of the
PLACES CONNECTED WITH LILLIE LANGTRY
When first married (1874), Edward and
Langtry lived at 21 Pont Street , London from 1890 to 1897, and had with her eight servants in 1891. Although from 1895 the building was operated as the Cadogan Hotel , she would stay in her former bedroom there. A blue plaque (which erroneously states that she was born in 1852) on the hotel commemorates this, and the hotel's restaurant is named 'Langtry's' in her honour.
A short walk from Pont Street was a house at number 2 Cadogan Place where she lived in 1899.
From 1886 to 1894, she owned a house in Manhattan at 362 West 23rd Street, a gift from Frederick Gebhard.
Langtry had a dwelling in Alexandra Road called Leighton House, possibly demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Alexandra Road Estate . She is remembered in the area in the name of Langtry Walk and a local pub.
Her London address in 1916 through till at least 1920 was Cornwall Lodge, Allsop Place, Regents Park. She gave this address when sailing on the liner St Paul across the Atlantic in August 1916, and the 1920 London electoral register has de Bathe, Emilie Charlotte (Lady), listed at the same address. A letter sold at auction in 2014 from Langtry to Dr. Harvey dated 1918 is also headed with this address.
Langtry was a cousin of local politician Philip Le Breton, pioneer for the preservation of Hampstead Heath.
There are two bars in New York City devoted to the memory of Lillie Langtry, operating under the title Lillie's Victorian Establishment.
STEAM YACHT WHITE LADYE
Langtry owned a luxury steam auxiliary yacht called White Ladye from 1891 to 1897. The yacht was built in 1891 for Lord Asburton by Ramage she was broken up in 1935.
Lloyd's yacht register Lord Asburton *
Lloyd's yacht register
* Langtry, Lillie, The Days I Knew, 1925. (autobiography)
* Academy of Music/Riviera Theatre * English royal mistress
* ^ "Lillie Langtry". jaynesjersey.com. Archived from the original
on February 15, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
* ^ A B C Camp, Anthony. Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and
Fiction: 1714–1936 (2007), p. 366.
* ^ "The life of lillie langtry" (PDF). langtryfarms. Archived from
the original (PDF) on July 10, 2012.
* ^ Langtry, Lillie (1989). The Days I Knew - An Autobiography. St.
John: Redberry Press. p. Chapter 1 - Call Me Lillie.
* ^ Anthony Camp, Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction
1714–1936 (London, 2007) 365. ISBN 9780950330822
* ^ Dudley, Ernest (1958). The Gilded Lily. London: Odhams Press
Limited. pp. 34–35.
* ^ Aronson, Theo (1989). The King in Love. London: Corgi Books. p.
* ^ "Interview with the Jersy Lillie". Daily Telegraph, Issue 3507,
October 3, 1882, page 4. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
* ^ Beatty, Laura (1999). Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and
Morals. Chatto & Windus. p. Chapter 3.
* ^ Langtry, Lillie (2000). The Days I Knew. Panoply Publications.
p. Chapter 2.
* ^ "
Frank Miles Drawing". lillielangtry.com. Retrieved May 30,
* ^ Leslie, Anita (1973). The Marlborough House Set. New York:
Doubleday & Company. pp. 68–70.
* ^ Camp, Anthony. Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction:
1714–1936 (2007), p. 364.
* ^ "The Girl from Jersey". lillielangtry.com. Retrieved May 30,
* ^ Beatty (1999), p. 173.
* ^ Camp, Anthony. Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction:
1714–1936 (2007), pp. 364–67.
Laura Beatty , Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals
(London, 1999), pp. 164–65. ISBN 9781856195133
* ^ Juxon, John (1983). Lewis & Lewis. London: Collins. p. 179.
* ^ Magnus, Philip (1964). King Edward the Seventh. John Murray. p.
* ^ "Changing fortunes". jaynesjersey.com. Archived from the
original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2008.
* ^ Camp, Anthony.Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction:
1714-1936 (2007), pp. 364-67
* ^ Camp, Anthony. Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction:
1714–1936 (2007), pp. 364–67
* ^ Beatty, op. cit.
* ^ Daily Telegraph, September 27, 1978; Evening News, October 23,
* ^ "MISS LANGTRY\'S WEDDING".
* ^ "Mrs Langtry sold the theatre to Wesleyan Methodists. They later sold to the company owning the Royal Albert Music Hall, Canning Town. They reconstructed the theatre stone by stone as the Music Hall of Dockland". Templeman Library, University of Kent at Canterbury * ^ Barrett, Walter (1863). The old merchants of New York City. New York: Carleton. p. 132. * ^ "Disposing of Two Million". The New York Times. June 28, 1878. Retrieved February 9, 2014. * ^ "Mrs Langtry\'s Private Car". The Decorator and Furnisher. Retrieved March 25, 2013. * ^ "Wreck on the Erie Road". The Sun. August 14, 1888. p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2013. * ^ The New York Times, August 14, 1888, p. 33 * ^ The New York Times, August 15, 1888, p. 20 * ^ "Mr Frederick Gebhard to Pay His Divorced Wife a Fortune.....". The San Francisco Call. October 30, 1901. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
* ^ "Fred Gebhard Near Death". New York Times. April 22, 1910.
Retrieved March 7, 2014.
* ^ "Baird, George Alexander (1861- 93)". Copyright © 2003 All
rights reserved worldwide The National Horseracing Museum. Retrieved
March 25, 2013.
* ^ Bulloch, John Malcolm (1934). The Last Baird of Auchmedden and
Strichen. Aberdeen: Privately Printed. p. 2.
* ^ Bulloch, John Malcolm (1934). The Last Baird of Auchmedden and
Strichen. Aberdeen: Privately Printed. p. 2. ISBN 9780806305431 .
* ^ "
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