Sir Charles Mordaunt, 10th Baronet
Sir Charles Mordaunt, 10th Baronet (28 April 1836 – 15 October 1897), was a wealthy English country gentleman, a Conservative Member of Parliament for South Warwickshire (1859–1868) and High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1879. He became notorious for involving Prince Albert Edward, The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), in his divorce case.
Campaign against agricultural unionisation
Sir Charles Mordaunt was an active campaigner against the Warwickshire Agricultural Labourers Union formed by Joseph Arch. He was quick to throw any labourers who joined the union out of their cottages. On 30 March 1872, the Leamington and Warwickshire Chronicle reported that "Sir Charles Mordaunt ....has served notices upon all his union tenants to give up possession of their cottages". Sir Charles was also behind a meeting where 100 farmers agreed to discharge any labourers that so much as joined the union, reported on 13 April 1872 in the Leamington and Warwickshire Chronicle.
Marriage, scandal and divorce
Sir Charles was married on 7 December 1866 to Harriet Sarah Moncreiffe (7 February 1848 – 9 May 1906), daughter of a Scottish baronet. Sir Charles was a stolid country squire with no interests beyond hunting and shooting, and Harriet was a giddy young beauty. She had already caught the eye of the Prince. Harriet had licence, or thought she did, to carry on affairs with other men. While Sir Charles killed foxes, deer, grouse, and salmon, or sat in Parliament, Harriet entertained numerous lovers, including the Prince and several of his aristocratic friends.
In 1869, Harriet gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, and then confessed everything to Sir Charles, who was enraged. His offended servants had compiled diaries of the affairs.
He sued for divorce. The historical record shows that the Prince of Wales was never named as a co-respondent in the divorce case, but Mordaunt threatened to do so. Harriet's father, who had several other daughters to marry off, announced that she was mad. That would prevent a divorce trial and save the family reputation. She was incarcerated in various rented houses, and after some weeks either broke down or agreed to feign madness: smashing plates, eating coal, howling and crawling. The case was brought to court and the Prince of Wales was called as a witness, he admitted visiting Lady Mordaunt but nothing further was proved.
In 1875, Sir Charles sued again. Viscount Cole  (father of Harriet's child) pleaded guilty to adultery with her, so Sir Charles got his divorce. Harriet was kept in asylums for the rest of her life. However, her daughter Violet married the future Marquess of Bath.
- Lundy, Darryl. "thePeerage.com – Person Page 2411". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B. (September 2004; online edn. May 2006). "Edward VII (1841–1910)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32975. Retrieved 2007-04-27. Check date values in:
- Hattersley, Roy (2004). The Edwardians. London: Little, Brown. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-316-72537-4.
- Lundy, Darryl. "thePeerage.com – Person Page 1079". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- Lundy, Darryl. "thePeerage.com – Person Page 1197". The Peerage.[unreliable source]
- Mosley, Charles, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
- Hamilton, Elizabeth (1999), The Warwickshire Scandal[full citation needed]
- Cokayne, G.E.; et al. (2000), The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant (reprint ed.)
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Charles Mordaunt
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Evelyn Philip Shirley
Edward Bolton King
|Member of Parliament for South Warwickshire
With: Evelyn Philip Shirley to 1865
Henry Christopher Wise from 1865
Henry Christopher Wise
|Baronetage of England|
(of Massingham Parva)
Osbert L'Estrange Mordaunt