Catherine, Lady Walpole
Catherine, Lady Walpole (née Shorter; 1682 – 20 August 1737) was the first wife of British politician and Prime Minister Robert Walpole from 30 July 1700 until her death in Chelsea in 1737. She was buried on the Walpole estate at Houghton in Norfolk, England.
She was the daughter of Sir John Shorter (born 1660), a wealthy merchant from Kent, and Elizabeth Philipps (born c. 1664). She was the granddaughter of Sir John Shorter (1625–1688), Lord Mayor of London in 1687. On her marriage to Walpole in 1700 she paid a dowry of £20,000.
She was renowned for her extravagant lifestyle, frequently attending the opera and buying expensive clothes and jewellery, but the couple became estranged during his Prime Ministership, and he had a succession of mistresses. He lived with Maria Skerrett in both Richmond and Houghton Hall in Norfolk while Lady Walpole was still alive. She herself courted controversy when it was noted that the Walpoles' youngest son Horace, born 10 years after his siblings when the marriage was cool, did not share looks or character with any siblings or his father. Lady Walpole's lover at that time was reported to be Lord Hervey.
Catherine and Robert Walpole had six children.
- Robert Walpole, 2nd Earl of Orford (1701 – 31 March 1751), who married Margaret Rolle (17 January 1709 – 13 January 1781), later the 15th Baroness Clinton, on 26 March 1724 and had one son.
- Katherine Walpole, (13 May 1703 – 22 October 1722), who died unmarried at Bath, Somerset.
- Horatio Walpole (1704 – 24 July 1704)
- Mary Walpole (c. 1706 – 2 January 1732), who married the 3rd Earl of Cholmondeley on 14 September 1723 and had two sons.
- Sir Edward Walpole (c. 1706 – 12 January 1784), who had an illegitimate daughter, Maria Walpole, who later married into the British Royal Family, becoming the wife of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, King George III's brother.
- Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717–1797)
Styles from birth to death
- Miss Catherine Shorter (1682–1700)
- Mrs Robert Walpole (1700–1725)
- Lady Walpole (1725–1737)
- Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 3, page 4059.
|New title||Spouse of the Prime Minister of Great Britain
Title next held byThe 2nd Lady Walpole