Regency Woman Wednesday - Grace Elliot

Thomas Gainsborough - Portrait of Grace Dalrymple Elliott - Frick Collection.png
Grace Dalrymple Elliott
Grace Elliott was a Scottish courtesan and spy who resided in Paris at the time of the French Revolution. Elliott was an eyewitness to events which she detailed in her memoirs, Journal of My Life during the French Revolution (Ma Vie Sous La Révolution) published posthumously in 1859. During her lifetime she also served as the mistress to the Duke of Orléans, and the future George IV, by whom she is said to have born an illegitimate daughter. Elliott trafficked correspondence and hid French aristocrats wishing to escape the French Revolution. She was arrested several times but managed to avoid the guillotine and was released after the death of Robespierre.

Life in England
She met Lord Cholmondeley at the Pantheon in 1776. They began a liaison that lasted three years. Thomas Gainsborough painted her portrait in 1778, which is in the Frick Collection in New York City. In 1782, she had a quiet and short intrigue with the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), and gave birth on 30 March 1782 to a daughter who used the name Georgina Seymour (1782–1813), but was baptised at St Marylebone as Georgiana Augusta Frederica Seymour.

Grace declared that the Prince was the father of her child and The Morning Post said in January 1782 that he admitted responsibility. However, when the child, who was very dark, was first shown to the Prince he is said to have remarked, "To convince me that this is my girl they must first prove that black is white."

The Prince and many others regarded Lord Cholmondeley as the father, though the Prince's friends said that Charles William Wyndham (brother of Lord Egremont), whom she was thought to resemble, claimed paternity. Yet others thought she might have been fathered by George Selwyn. Lord Cholmondeley brought up the girl and, after her early death in 1813, looked after her only child.

Elliott, Grace Dalrymple (2011) [1859], During the reign of terror : journal of my life during the French revolution, ISBN 9781230200811

Depictions in film and literature
A dramatic portrayal of part of her life is contained in the 2001 film The Lady and the Duke. English actress Lucy Russell played Grace and Jean-Claude Dreyfus played the Duke of Orleans.

Grace Elliott also appears as a major character in Hallie Rubenhold's novel The French Lesson (Doubleday, 2016).

From her Wikipedia Page

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