Blue Plaques are rarely found on hotel walls, but Lillie Langtry is honoured in this way at The Cadogan Hotel, 22 Pont Street. London SW1. She lived at number 22 before it became a hotel in 1895, and she retained her own original bedroom.The hotel`s restaurant, Langtry`s is named after her.
Lillie Langtry lived a full and colourful life, worshipped by the Prince of Wales, adored by nobility, and her astonishing beauty was immortalised by Burne-Jones, Frank Miles and John Everett Millais. The latter called one of his portraits of her," The Jersey Lily", and this became her nick name. It was exhibited at The Royal Academy.
Lillie was born Emilie Charlotte Le Breton in Jersey. She was the only daughter of Rev. William Corbet Le Breton. He and her mother, Emilie, also a beauty, were married in Chelsea. Her fater was in the habit of having frequent affairs, and the marriage ended in divorce.Lillie was vivacious, dynamic child, beyond the control of her Governess, so she was educated by her brothers` tutor This meant she had more knowledge than most ladies of her time, and she was a witty, gifted conversationalist
She married the Irish Landowner,Edward Langtry, in 1874. She liked his yacht! They came to live in Belgravia, London where they rented a home. Her great beauty was never going to be unnoticed and through a contact Lord Ranleigh, and the painter Frank Miles, she entered English Society. She was thus inundated with invitations. Her friends,Oscar Wilde and Sarah Bernhadt encouraged her to go on the stage. The public adored her.
The high point of her life came at a Dinner Party in 1877, when The Prince of wales arranged to be seated by her. Her husband was much further down the table!She became The Prince`s semi official royal mistress for three years. Protocol forbad her husband doing anything about it ! The Prince had a house built for her at East Cliff, Bournemouth. It was called The Red House, and she designed the interior in a wonderful way.
When love grew cold, she switched her affection to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Thereafter, her next paramour was Prince Louis Battenburg. When she became pregnant he was named as the putative father.( Earl Mountbatten, his son supported this theory). Prince Louis was ordered away to a warship, HMS Inconstant. - appropriately named!
The Prince of Wales ,however, remained a constant friend, giving her financial support. She was able to go to Paris with Arthur Jones, where her daughter, Jeanne Marie was born in 1881.
Lillie Langtry was as ever dynamic and indomitable. She became envolved with Frederic gebhard, and they entered the world of thoroughbred horse racing and imported American race horses to UK. Her horse, Merman, won the Gold Cup at Ascot.
In 1899 Lillie married Hugo Gerald de Bath. He was important in the horse racing world. He inherited a Baronetcy which would please her!
Lillie was asuccessful business woman and marketed cosmetic products. Pears Soap being a well known one. She made advertising respectable. A gilded life was hers, with periods of poverty. Whether she found happiness remains a mystery, but the trail of broken hearts she left was probably a reality.
Lillie Langtry died in Monaco and is buried at St. Saviour`s Church in Jersey, the land that gave birth to The Jersey Lily.
Frank Auerbach could easily have used more oil paint in one landscape than Rembrandt van Rijn used in his entire life. His paint is piled on with a confectioner’s abandon, like a come-bake-with-me contestant with Tourettes. Slowly building up to a ...