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Emilie Charlotte Langtry known as Lillie Langtry was a British/American socialite, actress and producer as well as mistress to Prince Edward, the future King of England. She was born in 1853 and nicknamed the ‘Jersey Lilly’.
She married Edward Langtry in 1874 and moved to London where Lillie became a fixture in London society circles. The media loved her, and she was well known for her beauty, grace and her sense of style. In 1874 Edward Langtree died. Lillie, to make a living took to the stage where she performed in both America and England.
She was also known for her relationships with noblemen, including The Earl of Shrewsbury and Prince Louis of Battenberg. Most notably though, she became Prince Edwards mistress. She was the first publicly acknowledged mistress of a future King. He built a house for them called the ‘Red House’ where they spent weekends living as a couple.
She was described in her obituary as a ‘reigning beauty’ and ‘social institution’. It was also noted that she had ‘remarkable fame’.
She was well known more for this than her acting ability! As queen of London society, she was painted by Whistler, Burne-Jones and Millais. During her stage career, she became friendly with William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898), who was the British Prime Minister on four occasions during the reign of Queen Victoria. In her memoirs, Langtry says that she first met Gladstone when she was posing for her portrait at Millais’ studio. They were later friends, and he became a mentor to her. Oscar Wilde, a close friend, wrote an ode to her and according to her obituary she ‘had a township in Texas named after her by a community of admiring cowboys’.
She stated that she was the first woman in England ‘to have her nails manicured.’ As Mistress to noblemen, actress and society belle Lillie Langtree was lauded until her death as having elegance, beauty and style. Even in her later years when she was ill, she was still a society favourite.
The editors of Encyclopedia Brittanica, Lillie Langtry, Encyclopedia Brittanica.
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Lillie-Langtry. Date Accessed: December 22, 2017
Lillie Langtry. (2017, December 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia., from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lillie_Langtry&oldid=816399320. Date Accessed: December 23, 2017
From the archive: A Reigning Beauty: Death of Lily Langtry, The Guardian.
From https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2010/feb/13/lily-langtry-death
Date Accessed: December 23, 2017.