"And after dinner Sir Jer. Smith and I were invited down to dinner with some of the Maids of Honour, namely, Mrs. Ogle, Blake, and Howard, which did me good to have the honour to dine with, and look on; and the Mother of the Maids, and Mrs. Howard, the mother of the Maid of Honour of that name, and the Duke’s housekeeper here."
My reading of this is that Mrs. Elizabeth Howard was mother to a Maid of Honour of the same name, i.e Elizabeth. But in their annotation about said Maid of Honor they name her as Dorothy.
Perhaps Pepys made a mistake? Poking around I found out more:
L&M Companion: DOROTHY HOWARD, Maid of Honour to the Duchess of York,
after 1671 to the Queen.
Daughter of William Howard, fourth son of 1st Earl of Berkshire.
AND In 1675 Dorothy Howard married Col. James Graham, MP, Keeper of the Privy Purse to the Duke of York.
Dorothy's mother was Mrs. Elizabeth Howard, housekeeper to the Duke of York at the Navy Treasurer's House at Deptford. Mother of Dorothy. She and her DAUGHTERS were friends of Evelyn's.
In his Diary, John Evelyn says he was the Trustee, presumably of William Howard's estate, but doesn't mention William in the earlier Diaries that I found.
In that capacity, in July 1675 Evelyn escorteed Elizabeth and Dorothy Howard to Oxford:
"In this journey, went part of the way Mr. James Graham (since Privy Purse to the Duke), a young gentleman exceedingly in love with Mrs. Dorothy Howard, one of the maids of honor in our company. I could not but pity them both, the mother not much favoring it. This lady [DOROTHY] was not only a great beauty, but a most virtuous and excellent creature, and worthy to have been wife to the best of men. My advice was required, and I spoke to the advantage of the young gentleman, more out of pity than that she deserved no better match; for, though he was a gentleman of good family, yet there was great inequality."
November, 1677. "I was all this week composing matters between old Mrs. [ELIZABETH[ Howard and Sir Gabriel Sylvius, upon his long and earnest addresses to Mrs. Anne, her second daughter, maid of honor to the Queen."
My guess is that Mrs. Elizabeth Howard is a gentlewoman impoverished by the untimely death of her husband during the Civil Wars, and the Stuart Brothers have provided respectable employment for at least these three family members.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.