Constance Lloyd

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Constance Holland (previously Constance Wilde)
Constance with her son Cyril in 1889
Born Constance Mary Lloyd
(1859-01-02)2 January 1859
Dublin, Ireland
Died 7 April 1898(1898-04-07) (aged 39)
Genoa, Italy
Occupation Author
Nationality Irish
Ethnicity Anglo-Irish
Citizenship British Subject
Period Victorian
Genre Children's stories
Notable works There Was Once
Spouse Oscar Wilde
Children Cyril Holland
Vyvyan Holland

Constance Wilde (2 January 1859 – 7 April 1898), born Constance Mary Lloyd, was the wife of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde and the mother of their two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan. The daughter of Horace Lloyd, an Irish barrister, and Adelaide Atkinson Lloyd, she married Wilde on 29 May 1884, and had both her sons within the next two years. In 1888 she published a book based on children's stories she had heard from her grandmother, called There Was Once. She and her husband were involved in the dress reform movement.[1]

It is unknown at what point Constance became aware of her husband's homosexual relationships. In 1891 she met his lover Lord Alfred Douglas when Wilde brought him to their home for a visit. Around this time Wilde was living more in hotels than at their home in Tite Street and since the birth of their second son they had become sexually estranged. It is claimed that on one occasion, when Wilde warned his sons about naughty boys who made their mamas cry, they asked him what happened to absent papas who made mamas cry. Nevertheless, by all accounts, she and Wilde remained on good terms.[2]

She must have known about his proclivity by 1895 when Wilde was tried and imprisoned for "gross indecency", or homosexual acts.[3]

After Wilde's imprisonment, Constance changed her and her sons' last name to Holland to dissociate themselves from Wilde's scandal. The couple never divorced and though Constance visited Oscar in prison so she could tell him the news of his mother's death,[4] she also forced him to give up his parental rights and later, after he had been released from prison, refused to send him any money unless he no longer associated with Douglas.

A fall down the stairs in the Tite Street home she had shared with Wilde caused Constance to have a form of paralysis, and she died on 7 April 1898, after spinal surgery. She is buried in Genoa, Italy.[5]



  1. ^ See Oscar Wilde On Dress, CSM Press, 2013.
  2. ^ Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellman, published in 1987
  3. ^ The Trials of Oscar Wilde
  4. ^ Ellman, Richard. Oscar Wilde. New York: Vintage Books, 1988. 497-98.
  5. ^ Oscar Wilde Biography - Poems

Further reading[edit]

Moyle, Franny (2011). Constance: the Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde. John Murray.

External links[edit]