Freda Dudley Ward

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Freda Ward" redirects here. For information on the murder victim, see Alice Mitchell.
Freda Dudley Ward
Born Winifred May Birkin
(1894-07-28)28 July 1894
Died 16 March 1983(1983-03-16) (aged 88)
Residence St Johns Wood, London
Nationality British
Other names Freda Birkin
Known for mistress of the Prince of Wales (1918–23)
Title Marquesa de Casa Maury
Spouse(s) William Dudley Ward (1913–31)
Pedro Jose Isidro Manuel Ricardo Mones (1937–54)
Children Penelope Ann Rachel Dudley Ward
Claire Angela Louise Dudley Ward
Parents Colonel Charles Wilfred Birkin & Claire Lloyd Howe

Winifred May, Marquesa de Casa Maury (28 July 1894 – 16 March 1983), universally known by her first married name as Freda Dudley Ward, was an English socialite best known for being a mistress of the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII.


Born Winifred May Birkin, she was the second child and eldest of three daughters[1] of Colonel Charles Wilfred Birkin (fourth son of a British textile magnate or lace king of Nottinghamshire, Sir Thomas Isaac Birkin, 1st Bt.)[2] and his American wife, the former Claire Lloyd Howe. She was the mistress of the Prince of Wales from 1918 to 1923, after which she remained his close confidante until 1934 and the beginning of his relationship with Wallis Simpson.[3]

The actress Jane Birkin is also a relative, the elder daughter of a much younger first cousin.

Freda Birkin was twice married, firstly 9 July 1913 (divorced 1931) to The Right Honourable William Dudley Ward, Liberal MP for Southampton. They had two daughters. Though her first husband's family surname was Ward, the combination "Dudley Ward" eventually became their official surname, through common usage.

Her second husband was Pedro Jose Isidro Manuel Ricardo Mones, Marques de Casa Maury. They married 20 October 1937. From 1938, the Marques and Marquesa de Casa Maury took up residence in St Johns Wood, north-west London, at 58 Hamilton Terrace, a house commissioned from the architects Burnet, Tait & Lorne.[4] They were divorced in 1954.

Issue (by first husband):

  • Penelope Ann Rachel Dudley Ward (1914–1982), the actress Penelope Dudley-Ward, later Lady Reed, known as Pempie,[1] who married firstly in 1939 (divorced 1944) Anthony Pelissier, by whom she had a daughter, and secondly in 1948 film director Sir Carol Reed, by whom she had a son.[5]
  • Claire Angela Louise Dudley Ward (1916–1999) later Lady Laycock, or Angie,[6] who married in 1935 the commando leader Major-General Sir Robert Laycock,[7] by whom she had two sons and three daughters.[8] Of her five children, her son
    • Joseph William Peter Laycock (Joe Laycock) (1938–1980) was married to the actress Lucy Fleming, née Eve Lucinda Fleming, niece of the writer Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond; they have issue.


  1. ^ a b Anonymous. Obituary for her cousin Bindy Lambton, or the former Countess of Durham, published in The Daily Telegraph on 18 February 2003. [1]
  2. ^ Lundy, Darryl (15 March 2005). "Colonel Charles Wilfred Birkin and his wife". The Peerage. [unreliable source?]
  3. ^ Philip Ziegler King Edward VIII: The Official Biography (Collins, London, 1990) pp. 94–100.
  4. ^ "House for Marques and Marquesa de Casa Maury". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 20 November 2008. 
  5. ^ Lundy, Darryl (11 September 2006). "Penelope Ann Rachel Ward.". The Peerage. [unreliable source?]
  6. ^ Ibid.
  7. ^ Information on death date from Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage database". The Peerage. [unreliable source?], retrieved 14 December 2007.
  8. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Lady Clare Angela Louise Ward". The Peerage. [unreliable source?], mistitled because she was Lady Laycock, but not Lady Clare Angela Louise Ward as daughter of an earl. Last edited 21 January 2006.


External links[edit]