Hoar Cross Hall

There is nothing new about royal affairs.

It’s easy to be riveted by titillating details of an affair when staying at a place connected with someone who had extramarital relations with a future King. But we have to ask ourselves if this fact is really anything of import in the grand scheme of things–did it change the course of history? Is there more to what happened than just broken hearts and stained sheets?

Not these sheets, thankfully.

Not these sheets, thankfully.

Hoar Cross Hall Ex-Tory seat, now a hotel and spa.

Hoar Cross Hall
Now a hotel and spa!

The real scandal is not that there was a royal indulging in sexual relations outside of marriage with a woman who was part of the Ingram family (headed by the Viscount of Irvine) that owned Hoar Cross Hall, but that society expected this girl who married a man seventeen years her senior when she was just 16, to be faithful. Or, how about the fact that she is mostly blamed as the reason her lover, the future King George IV (1762-1830), turned Tory and abandoned his Whig friends, like Charles James Fox, during such a time when Catholic emancipation was being debated at Parliament, and yet it’s almost impossible to find quotes from her so we can hear her side of the story?

The Prince.

I just can’t get enough. Of everything, really.

It’s like we’re taking it for granted that this woman who had the Prince of Wales’ ear had nothing going for her but sex sex sex, so let’s focus on the fact that contemporaries described her as handsome, tall and elegant (if a little portly), and never mind what she has to say.  That, surely, is the real scandal here, and is worth a blog post more than any details of a married prince’s sex life.

Anyway, so the Prince Regent apparently liked big butts, because he was with Isabella Ingram-Seymour-Conway,  Marchioness of Hertford, from 1807 to 1819. They most likely met through Isabella’s husband, Francis (1743-1822), who noticed the Prince was smitten with his wife and sent her to Ireland to give the man’s ardor some time to cool.

(Bad) Dramatization of Affair.

(Bad) Dramatization of Affair.

We can only imagine what heated dreams the Prince of Wales had to get him through the nights. And man, would we like to imagine them, because his “love” showed no signs of abating, and soon enough he was a regular guest at Manchester House (family’s London home and Tory headquarters). He gave her lavish gifts like Chinese wallpapers and the Moses Tapestries, and slept over on several occasions, even when the marquess was in residence.

The lady had a crowded marriage.

All the (not so) single ladies…

I don’t think Lady Hertford’s affair was solely to blame for the failure of passing any bills regarding Catholic Emancipation during the Regency. The lady was against it, for sure (unlike her husband), but it’s a bit of a leap to lay the failure on one Tory woman’s vagina. If we do that, we’re forgetting that around the Prince were many powerful people who had their own ambitions, interests and prejudices.

Anyway, they never took their affair to Hoar Cross Hall, though they should have. Because if not for this affair, the only thing that makes the place’s history interesting is that it was home to a man who is considered to be the father of modern fox hunting. Now, would you like to hear about that? I don’t.