from David Stockman
Maria Fitzherbert (1756-1837), a Roman Catholic, was considered by many to be the wife of King George IV of England. After the death of her second husband Thomas Fitzherbert in 1781, she became a well connected socialite in London social circles. Mrs. Fitzherbert became romantically involved with the Prince of Wales, soon to be King George IV. On December 15, 1785, the two were married in a secret ceremony by Reverend R. Burt of the Church of England. The marriage was not recognized by some who pointed to the Act of Settlement of 1689 which prohibited marriage by an English royal to a Roman Catholic and the Royal Marriage Act of 1772 which required the king’s sanction on any royal marriage. The couple allegedly had two daughters and a son. The son was thought to have been sent to Spain and then to America in the care of the Ord family. That son was reputed to be James Ord. The two daughters were thought to be Mrs. Fitzherbert’s “adopted” daughters: Minney Seymour and Maryanne Smythe. George IV (1762-1830) served as regent from 1811 to 1820 and as king from 1820 to 1830.