Possible children by the Prince::Maria Fitzherbert


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Possible children by the Prince

Maria Fitzherbert lived at Steine House from 1804 until her death

Some scholars have suggested that Maria Fitzherbert had one, possibly two, children by her marriage to the future king. "In 1833, after the King's death, one of [his] executors, Lord Stourton, asked her to sign a declaration he had written on the back of her marriage certificate. It read: 'I Mary Fitzherbert ... testify that my Union with George P. of Wales was without issue.' According to Stourton, she, smiling, objected, on the score of delicacy."<ref>Saul David, The Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency (Grove Press, 2000), page 75</ref> Indeed, during her early days in Brighton with the Prince of Wales, his uncle the Duke of Gloucester and other friends believed Mrs. Fitzherbert to be pregnant.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Members of the Wyatt family claim to being descendants of George IV by her. On Fitzherbert's death it is stated that her children were adopted by a Scottish family, named Wyatt, whose name they assumed. Afterwards they came south settling in Erith, Kent. The Wyatt family, in the person of J.G. Wyatt, a former Erith man who later moved to Moose Fair, Saskatchewan, Canada and Isabella Annie Wyatt claimed title to a portion of the Fitzherbert estate in 1937.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

One suggested child of the Prince and his longtime paramour was James Ord (born 1786), whose curious history of assisted relocations and encouragement has been chronicled;<ref name="Saul David 2000 pages 76-78">Saul David, The Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency (Grove Press, 2000), pages 76–78.</ref> Ord eventually moved to the United States and became a Jesuit priest (but appears later to have married, see article on American Civil War General Edward Ord).{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

In addition to James Ord, the longterm relationship between Fitzherbert and George, as prince and king, appears to have led to more than a dozen claims of children conceived out of wedlock.<ref name="A.J. Camp 2007">, accessed 11 September 2011; see also: A.J. Camp, 2007, Royal Mistresses and Bastards: Fact and Fiction, 1714–1936, self-published by author, ISBN 978-0-9503308-2-2.</ref><ref name="Royal mistresses and bastards">Royal mistresses and bastards</ref> These join the many additional catalogued cases of George's liaisons,<ref name="A.J. Camp ibid. page 75">Royal mistresses and bastards</ref> some of which have received further discussion vis-a-vis largely inexplicable financial care given the immediate purported descendant by King George IV or his peers.<ref name="Saul David 2000 pages 76-78"/><ref>There is an apparent current lack of available financial or personal support for the Lowe history; however, see the Hannah Harrison Lowe article and footnotes regarding interpretation of such lack of evidence.</ref> These lineages include the Herveys (from 1786 liaison with Lady Anne Lindsay, subsequently Barnard), the Croles (from 1798 liaison Eliza Crole, which the generally sceptical A.J. Camp considers "fact"), and the Hampshires (from 15-year mistress Sarah Brown).{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

The second codicil to Maria Fitzherbert's will<ref>Will of Maria Fitzherbert, approved for probate 20 Apr 1837, The National Archives (UK), record PROB 1–86</ref> outlines her two principal beneficiaries, and includes a personal note, "...this paper is addressed to my two dear children... I have loved them both with the [unclear] affection any mother could do, and I have done the utmost in my power for their interests and comfort..."

Commemorative plaque at Maria Fitzherbert's burial place in Brighton

Their married names were Mary Ann Stafford-Jerningham and Mary Georgina Emma Dawson-Damer. Stafford-Jerningham was nominally Fitzherbert's 'niece', and was raised as Mary Ann Smythe. Dawson-Damer was nominally the daughter of Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and Lady Anna Horatia Waldegrave. Seymour had been a close associate of George IV since their youth, and Seymour's son George was an executor and minor beneficiary of Fitzherbert's will. There is no evidence that either of these women were the natural children of Maria Fitzherbert – indeed the reference to 'the affection any mother could do' (with stress on mother) could indicate she only saw herself as a mother-figure to them, and no more. The will makes no reference to any sons, though this observation must be seen its historic context; of the ten illegitimate children of Dorothea Jordan, Irish actress and mistress of 20 years to the Duke of Clarence, care for the five boys was initially assumed by their father and his households, and custody and care for the girls given to Jordan.

Notably, any such historical claim of descent is accompanied by controversy, and many of the preceding have been challenged.<ref name="A.J. Camp 2007"/><ref name="Royal mistresses and bastards"/> Given the death<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> of Princess Charlotte without surviving children, should the Ord or Lowe links be substantiated, the line descended through them would join a large number of claimed surviving descendants of King George IV.

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