Arabella Churchill (royal mistress)
|Born||23 February 1648|
|Died||30 May 1730(aged 82)|
|Known for||mistress of James II of England|
Arabella Churchill (23 February 1648 – 30 May 1730) was the mistress of King James II, and the mother of four of his children (surnamed FitzJames Stuart, that is "son of James Stuart").
Arabella was the child of Sir Winston Churchill, an ancestor of the Prime Minister of the same name, and Elizabeth Drake. She was the sister of the first Duke of Marlborough; her other brothers were George and Charles. The Churchills' loyalty to the royal household was ardent; their only feeling about Arabella's seduction by King James II seems to have been a joyful surprise that a so plain girl had attained such high preferment.
She began her relationship with James, then Duke of York, around 1665, while he was still married to Anne Hyde. Arabella became the duchess's lady-in-waiting in that year, and gave birth to two children during Anne's lifetime. Churchill was described as a "tall creature, pale-faced, and nothing but skin and bone." She often displayed the quick wit and lively intelligence which bound James to her through ten years and four children. Some time after 1674, she married Charles Godfrey and had three more children. They lived happily together for 40 years. Godfrey died in 1714, at the age of 67.
Children with James II of England
- Henrietta FitzJames, (1667 – 3 April 1730)
- James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick, (1670–1734)
- Henry FitzJames, 1st Duke of Albemarle, (1673–1702)
- Arabella FitzJames, (1674 – 7 November 1704), became a nun.
From her children Henrietta, Countess of Newcastle and James, Duke of Berwick, she is the ancestor of the Earls Spencer and Diana, Princess of Wales as well as of the Dukes of Berwick, the later Dukes of Alba and of Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba, the person with the most noble titles in the world.
Children with Charles Godfrey
- Francis Godfrey.
- Charlotte Godfrey, b. bef. 1685, married Hugh Boscawen, 1st Viscount Falmouth.
- Elizabeth Godfrey, married Edmund Dunch, son of Hungerford Dunch.
- Macaulay Macaulay, Baron Thomas Babington (1898). The history of England, from the accession of James II, Volume 1. p. 347.
- Herman, Eleanor (2005). Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. Enchanting Ugliness: William Morrow. p. 52. ISBN 0060585439.
- Herman, Eleanor (2005). Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. The Business of Life: William Morrow. p. 219. ISBN 0060585439.
- Fea, Allan (1908). James II. and his wives. University of California Libraries. p. 303.
- Herman, Eleanor (2005). Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. Pushed into War, Sold into Marriage: William Morrow. p. 190. ISBN 0060585439.
- Shuckburgh, Evelyn Shirley (1887). "Churchill, Arabella". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co.