Lillie Langtry or Jersey Lilly

In mid of the 18 century Lilly Langtry was the grand dame in the London society. She was a remarkable woman, she was the first woman who sold products under her name and earned money with it.

How could this happens ?

 Lilly was born in 1854 as Emilie Charlotte Le Breton daughter of William Corbet Le Breton  and Emily Davis, whom had already six children. Her father had an infamous reputation as womanizer.

Lilly grown up  free from convention, so she could enjoy riding, swimming and sailing. As she became a teenager she felt in love to an young man, this lead to a quarrel with her father, because this young man was her half brother.

Deeply disappointed she decided to leave Jersey and goes to London by the first possibility. So saying she married in 1874 in the age of twenty  Edward Langtry and went to London with him. The marriage was a disenchantment, her husband wasn't interested in social amenities and its income wasn't such high as Lilly had expected.

 Her career started as she appeared at a reception in a black dress, because her brother died.  This set her up against the other ladies and her natural beauty conquered the London society. Artist like Milais painted Lilly and Oscar Wild admired her beautiy also, later he helped her to settle theatre career.
 

At a reception in 18877 she got acquainted with the Prince of wales, Edward III( grand grand father of Queen Elizabeth II) and became his mistress. The wife of the prince accepted the liaison, because she  knew at least where her husband was. The affair ended after 3 years, because Lilly felt in love to Louis von Battenberg, better know as Mount van Batten, cousin of the Prince of Wales. He changed his name because he loved the UK more than his homeland Germany.

Lilly got pregnant from him and  in 1881 she gave secretly birth to baby girl in Paris. The girl got the name Jeanne Marie and was grown up by Lilly's mother.  She knew Lilly as her aunt, as she found out that Lilly was her mother she broke with the family.

 After the birth Lilly had to find  away for her living, because her husband didn't support her any more and a divorce wasn't possible. That was beginning of her theatre career. The people came to see the mistress of the Prince of Wales and Lilly started to give her name for all kinds of products, like robes, soaps, hairstyles and many more. This provided her with additional money.

The grave of Lilly Lantry

 

The whole male world was devoted to Lilly. For her American tourney a millionaire built a luxurious train wagon for her, which provide her with all luxury of this time.  Lilly got her  own  race horse breeding and became the first female member of the Jockey club with a little trick, she used a male name, This enabled her horses to take part on races

In American she could divorce from her husband and was now free for new relationships. In 1907 she married Hugo de Bathe and became Lady de Bathe.

Her daughter married a Scottish aristocrat and the grand daughter of Lilly became the first female BBC speaker.

Lilly died in 1929 in Monaco, she was buried in Jersey. Her grave can be found at the graveyard of St. Saviour.

Lilly on TV

 


A television series consisting  of 13 parts  about Lilly Langtry is available. We only managed to get the first 6 parts. Some of the scenes play on series. Its pleasant to see, especially if you recognize the location, like Portlet bay or St. Aubin.

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