Master of the Robes and the Groom of the Bedchamber to the Duke of York.

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San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Lt. Col. Edward Villiers (1620–1689) was a younger son of Sir Edward Villiers, half-brother to George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham and favorite of the late King Charles, and Barbara St.John Villiers.
He was, therefore, an uncle to many Diary people, including George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham; Barbara Villiers Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine; George Villiers, 4th Viscount Grandison; and Sir Allen Apsley.

Col. Edward Villiers was one of a group of Royalists during the third Civil War who plotted for the return of Charles II. The other members of The Sealed Knot were
John Belasyse, 1st Baron Belasyse of Worlaby,
Henry Hastings, Baron Loughborough,
Sir William Compton,
Sir Richard Willys, 1st baronet,
Col. John Russell;
The women who helped them as spies and delivery agents go largely unacknowledged, but two who come to mind are Elizabeth Murray Tollemache, Countess of Dysart (who, as a widow in the Diary, has designs on Secretary for Scotland, John Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale) and Anne St.John Lee Wilmot, Countess of Rochester (John's mother).

What united the six nobles was that they were all younger sons, whose capture, sequestration, or execution, would not jeopardize their families. They worked closely with Secretary of State Edward Hyde.

In the wake of the inevitable round-up of suspects following the breaking of their plots by Cromwell's Sec. of State and intelligence chief, John Thurloe,
Willys and Col. Villiers were detained for a few months in 1654. Willys suspected Belasyse to be his betrayer, Hyde writing subsequently of ‘a fatal Quarrel’ (Clarendon, Hist. Rebellion, 2.25) among two principals of the Knot that compromised its authority still more.

In March 1659 Charles II switched his confidence to a The Great Trust, which tried to include the original members of the Sealed Knot except Col. Villiers, whose poor judgment and eccentric proposals — e.g. that Charles II should marry Cromwell's daughter — had alienated Hyde.

The Knot mostly stayed together until the Restoration, but they were not instrumental in bringing it about.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In 1646 Col. Edward married, first, Frances Howard (1633 - 1677), daughter of Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk and Lady Elizabeth Home.
Their children were:
1. Elizabeth Villiers 1657-1733 - married George Hamilton, 1st Earl of Orkney. She was rumored to be the mistress of William III from 1680 until 1695.
2. Katherine Villiers 1652-1709 - married, first, Louis-Jacques, Marquis du Puissar (died 1701) and second, William Villiers, a son of George Villiers, 4th Viscount Grandison, and thus her cousin
3. Col. Henry Villiers 1677-1707
4. Henrietta Villiers died 1720 - married John Campbell, 2nd Earl of Breadalbane and Holland
5. Mary Villiers 1670-1753 - married William O'Brien, 3rd Earl of Inchiquin
6. Anne Villiers 1651-1688 - married Hans William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland
7. Barbara Villiers 1653-1708 (another one!) - married John Berkeley, 4th Viscount Fitzhardinge
8. Edward Villiers 1656-1711 - created Earl of Jersey in 1697. A leading Tory politician opposed to the Whig Junto, he was made Southern Secretary in 1699.

Col. Edward married, secondly, Martha Love on 25 February 1684.

Which brings us to the Diary years when Col. Edward Villiers was Master of the Robes and the Groom of the Bedchamber to James, Duke of York. Frances was employed by Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, and after Anne's death, Frances became the governess of the Princesses Mary and Anne.

L&M tells us Barbara Villiers Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine went to the home of her uncle, Col. Edward Villiers, who lived in Richmond Palace, on July 15, 1662, after a fight with Charles II.
But we know he wasn’t there, as Pepys reports Col. Edward Villiers waited on James, Duke of York, the following morning. (Barbara ended up sleeping at the Queen Mother’s apartments.)

It's all in the family, and who you know.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



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