Lady Edward FitzGerald

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Stéphanie Caroline Anne Syms, Lady Edward FitzGerald (c. 1773 – 9 November 1831) was the wife of Lord Edward FitzGerald, the radical revolutionary and leading United Irishman, and was herself an enthusiastic supporter of Irish independence, scarcely less celebrated at the time than Lord Edward himself.

She was born Stéphanie Caroline Anne Syms and known as "Pamela". Her origins are uncertain. She was described as an adopted daughter of Félicité de Genlis; it is usually assumed that she was an unacknowledged daughter of Madame de Genlis and Louis Philip II, Duke of Orléans. However, there is a tradition in Fogo, Newfoundland, that she was the illegitimate daughter of an English naval officer, was taken to England and ended up in the Genlis household.

During the French Revolution, the Genlis family fled to England. By then an attractive young woman, Pamela became engaged to Richard Sheridan, but the engagement was quickly ended. She instead married Lord Edward FitzGerald at Tournai on 27 December 1792. They settled at his home in Kildare and had four children: Edward Fox (1794–1863); Pamela, afterwards wife of General Sir Guy Campbell; Lucy Louisa, who married Captain Lyon, RN.

As the country seethed with rebellion, FitzGerald was hunted by the government and forced into hiding. He was betrayed a few days before the date set for the planned rising he was to lead and was wounded resisting arrest on 19 May 1798. Although his wound was to the shoulder and relatively minor it was left untreated and he died of his wounds on 5 June. As a "traitor" to the British crown, his estates were confiscated, and Pamela was compelled to leave the country to avoid possible charges of treason.

Pamela fled to Hamburg, where in 1800 she married Joseph Pitcairn, the American consul to Hamburg. Although she had been greatly beloved and esteemed by the whole FitzGerald family, her intimacy with them ceased after her second marriage. She remained to the last passionately devoted to the memory of her first husband and died in November 1831 in Paris, where a portrait of her hangs in the Louvre.

In 1880 her remains were brought back to England and were buried in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Thames Ditton, Surrey, with her elder daughter, Pamela (Lady Guy Campbell).[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Old Limerick Journal. French edition. See "J.P. Leonard". Retrieved 24 May 2014.