Lady Mary 'Mall' Villiers

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Lady Mary Stewart (Villiers), Duchess of Richmond & Duchess of Lennox

Also Known As: "Lady Mary Villiers", "Mary Stewart", "'Mall' Villiers", "pseudonym Ephelia", "Mary Howard"
Death: November 1685 (58-67)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Katherine MacDonnell
Wife of James Stewart, 1st Duke of Richmond, 4th Duke of Lennox and Charles Lord Herbert
Mother of Esmé Stewart, 2nd Duke of Richmond, 5th Duke of Lennox and Mary Stewart (Stuart), 5th Baroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold
Sister of Charles Villiers, Marquess of Buckingham & Earl of Coventry; George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham & 2nd Earl of Coventry & 20th Baron De Ross and Francis Villiers
Half sister of Katherine Mac Donell

Occupation: Duchess Consort of Richmond; Duchess Consort of Lennox; Principal Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Henrietta Maria
Managed by: Ric Dickinson, Geni Curator
Last Updated:

About Lady Mary 'Mall' Villiers

Mary Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Duchess of Lennox (1622–1685), formerly Lady Mary Villiers,


Mary was raised at Wallingford House and later at York House with her two younger brothers, George and Francis, in a climate of sumptuous cultural privilege

When Mary’s father, the profligate George Villiers 1st Duke of Buckingham (the bi-sexual favourite of King James VI/I and King Charles I) was assassinated in 1628, Mary's mother Catherine/Katherine Manners lost no time in marrying Randal MacDonnell of Antrim.

Charles I was so incensed that such important children (Mary, George, and Francis Villiers) would be raised in a Papist household that he ordered that his "Steenie’s" three children should be handed into the care of The Court. Lady Mary Villiers was only six, and the resulting separation from her mother was traumatic.

As de facto Stuarts, the three Villiers children were the most cosseted orphan-wards of the seventeenth century, educated with the young Stuarts, under the direction of Brian Duppa, later Bishop of Salisbury.

Their adoptive parents (or guardians) were Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria; and their new adoptive siblings and playmates were the future Charles II, James II, Mary Princess of Orange, Queen Anne, Henry Duke of Gloucester, and Henriette-Anne, Duchesse d' Orléans ("Minette," the first "Madame").


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,_Duchess_of_Richmond

was the daughter of the 1st Duke of Buckingham.

On 8 January 1634, at the age of 12, she married the 15-year-old Charles, Lord Herbert, eldest son of the 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery, but was widowed in 1635 when her young husband died of smallpox.

On 3 August 1637, she married the 4th Duke of Lennox, who was created Duke of Richmond in 1641.

They had two children:

  • Esmé Stewart, 2nd Duke of Richmond and 5th Duke of Lennox (1649-1660)
  • Lady Mary Stewart, married the 1st Earl of Arran (1651-1668)

After the death of her son, sometime before 1664, Mary married Colonel Thomas Howard (d. 1678) about whom little is known.

Maureen E. Mulvihill has built a case for Mary Villiers as the author of the poems published under the pseudonym Epheia, including Female Ephelia (1679).

Depiction in art

Mary is the subject of several paintings by Anthony van Dyck as well as a portrait with her children by John Michael Wright.

Mary Villiers, later Duchess of Richmond and Lennox, with her cousin Charles Hamilton, Lord Arran, as Cupid, about 1636, by Van Dyck.

'''External links'''

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Mary Villiers, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox
"Thumbprints of Ephelia" by Maureen E. Mulvihill, Princeton Research Forum, in ReSoundings, with biography of Mary Villiers [edit] ReferencesRoyal Geneaology Database, University of Hull Gordenker, Emilie E.S.: Van Dyck and the Representation of Dress in Seventeenth-Century Portraiture, Brepols, 2001, ISBN 2-503-50880-4