HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY LESSON: The British are an uncreative people when it comes to naming places. (I know. Big statement. Sweeping generalization. Get used to it.) For example, King James II of England bestowed the land between the Delaware and Hudson rivers (how nice of him) to his two besties from the English Civil War. When they sat down to afternoon tea to try to think of a good name for the little shore-lined piece of land that would one day be home to our country’s most prized crime syndicates, television shows, airports, and oil refineries. They named the land “New Jersey” after the English Channel Island of Jersey. Have you heard of the Channel Islands? Probably not. Unless you read books regularly or are good at geography. Because while the islands are politically and culturally a part of Britain, they are comically closer to France. And they were occupied by the Schmatzis during WWII. Also, more characteristic of France. Too soon? Anyway, it is on this small island of Jersey, Old Jersey that is, that this story of scandal begins.
Here’s what you should have gleaned from the previous paragraph and its linkage: This post has nothing to do with New Jersey. However, roughly 90% of the images and 100% of the links will have EVERYTHING to do with America’s favorite state.
Lillie Langtry, nee Emilie Charlotte le Breton, was born on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands. Yadayada she grew up yadayada. In 1874, she was looking FINE and the 20 year old was married off to Edward Langtry, a landowner who was 6 years her senior and hailed from another of England’s commonly ignored and aquatically surrounded territories, Ireland. Tired of being stuck on the little spit of land at the smelly end of the channel and sounding exactly like every 20 something year old from Newark, the young woman from Jersey was like, “Ed, get me the fuck out of this shit hole.” And he was all, “Bitch, lay out my Sperries, boil me up a potato and I’m ready to go.” Cuz the guy had a yacht. And he was Irish.
After docking on the main land, they rented a place in London and were quickly swept up into Victorian high society. A friend of her father, Lord Ralenegh, invited the couple to a snooty tooty reception sort of thing where her hot bod and LILY-white face attracted the attention of artists Frank Miles and Sir John Everett Millais. Frank started sketching her right then and there (awk? yeah probably. Miles also later died in an insane asylum so I’m betting he was a little unhinged even then), but Millais was a little more smooth and painted her portrait a few days later. It was on display at the royal academy soon after and before you can say “royal blow job,” our little harlot was a full-on member of London’s high society.
WOOPS! Did I speak too soon? Well, now that the scandal is out of the bag, I might as well get to the point. Our little minx was introduced to the Prince of Fucking Wales (PoFW) at a dinner party because the heir to the goddam throne had fucking arranged to be seated next to her! He went even further to have Lillie’s husband seated at the opposite end of the table. SNAP! The man had moovz. Their affair lasted about 3 years (from 1877-1880) and even after it ended, he was always really nice to her and spoke well of her to the media when she became a schmactress. As the official royal mistress, she enjoyed a lot of perks; hanging around the palace, going to dinner with the family, being allowed to design a manor in the country that would serve as a private get-away for the couple, you know, that sort of thing, no big deal really. It’s a hotel now. So it was pretty modest, I’m sure. She even was introduced to the prince’s mom. Who was Queen fucking Victoria by the way. The affair was filled with great conversation and a lot, a lot, A LOT of sex-having. Straight from my most trusted resource, WIKI:
Edward [PoFW] once complained to her, “I’ve spent enough on you to build a battleship,” whereupon she tartly replied, “And you’ve spent enough in me to float one.”
WHAT?! EW! Bitch was as foul-mouthed as MRG! I LIKE IT! Anyway, Lillie apparently sort of misbehaved at a dinner and fell out of favor with the prince. Woopsies!
But then! In 1879 she started an affair with the Earl of Shrewsbery which was all over page 6, ifyouknowwhatimsaying. Now, I’m not the best at math. (Although I did get a 5 on my AP Calc. Wut wut!!) But it looks like her affair with this Earl fellow would have overlapped with her affair with the prince. That seems unwise of her. But who am I to judge?
After the Earl, she decided it was time to be moving on up and started a bone-fest with Prince Louis of Battenberg. Like a boss, she was also having an affair with a guy named Arthur Clarence Jones. He wasn’t royal per se, so much as a friend of the family that she maybe sort of was actually in love with. Surprise surprise, she gets pregnant in 1880 and tells the German prince that the baby is his. (Because Arthur wasn’t exactly SITUATED financially. Plus his name started with “Arthur” not “Prince.”) Joke was on her because it turned out that the prince was a little bitch and told his parents. Mommy and daddy were not pleased, so to get him away from the lily-devil, they enlisted him in the navy and had him assigned to the HMS Inconstant. (Which reminds me of the word “incontinent” which has to do with not having babies. I don’t think that his parents planned this, but I’d like to think they did because it would be very clever and hilarious of them.) So the PoFW (nice guy) gave Lillie a little bit of money and she and Arthur retired to Paris for about 9 months. Her letters to Arthur in later years apparently make it seem like he was actually the father of her daughter and that the two were genuinely in love. ADORBS!
At the suggestion of her sassiest gay friend, Oscar Wilde, she took to the stage. She made her London debut at the Haymarket theatre in 1881 and then performed a number of roles on both sides of the pond. The critics hated her. Probably because she wasn’t very good. The public adored her. Probably because she was pretty. You know who was her biggest fan? Judge Roy Bean of Langtry, Texas. BUT WE’RE GETTING AHEAD OF OURSELVES. Standby.
In 1882 she got involved with a prominent New York millionaire named Frederic Gebhard who was really into thoroughbred horse racing. She got into the hobby too and that was a good thing since it led her to her next conquest, American millionaire, George Alexander Baird. He was a boxer and an amateur jockey. I imagine that he was very small, but I have no idea.
Bitch finally got herself divorced and Americanized in 1897 and then two years later, girlfriend married Hugo de Bath. The couple lived in Monaco, but not together. They saw each other for social events and the occasional conjugal visit. Tragically for us, Lillie’s libido seems to have waned in her last few decades. She lived in Monaco until her death in 1929.
AND OH YEAH SHE IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH MY FAVORITE PLACE IN MY HOME STATE OF TEXAS. It’s been a long time since I saw The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, starring a very attractive and young Paul Newman, but what I DO remember is my family trip to Langtry, Texas! Everybody thinks that the town is named after our heroine because the famous Judge Roy Bean of Langtry, TX was OBSESSED with her and told everybody the town was named in her honor. Lies. The less exciting truth is that it was named after some railway mogul connected to the area. Bean named the bar where he held court “The Jersey Lilly” because he was SO in love with her. There was a big picture of her in the bar/court room, and if memory serves, I think at some point before she died, Lillie made it out there to west Texas and met the judge. I bet it made his fucking day, even his month, maybe the year. I really wanted to find some photos from the family trip, but I couldn’t get it together to look for them when I was home. Try to contain your disappointment.
For the conclusion, I think we should do a count off of the known affairs of Miss Lillie Langtry because I feel that quantifying this woman’s sexploits will be very impressive to us. (Plus I like lists.)
- The Prince of Fucking Wales (PoFW)
- The Earl of Shrewsbury
- Prince Louis of Battenberg
- Arthur Clarence Jones
- Frederic Gebhard (horse racer guy)
- George Alexander Baird (jockey/boxer)
- NOT COUNTING HER TWO HUSBANDS: Edward Langtry and Hugo de Bath.
- Probably a couple more who we don’t know about
Point is, girlfriend got around and I couldn’t be prouder. I think it’s apparent that I’m a big fan of Lillie. Probably because of her connection to Texas. But also because like so many of our lady scandal-makers, she was unafraid of using her feminine wiles to get ahead in the world. She could not have done better in English society than bedding the Prince of Fucking Wales. Bitch had skillz, aight?
While she isn’t quite as much of a beauty as the REAL Jersey Lillie (pictured left) and had far less appreciation for tanning, Langtry still easily makes my list of badass, historical, and always scandalous bombshells.