Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 31.djvu/65

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Kerckhoven
Keroualle
59

Ser., reign of Elizabeth; Calderwood's History of the Church of Scotland; MSS. of the Earl of Home (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. viii.); Sir James Melville's Memoirs; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 445–6.]

T. F. H.

KERCKHOVEN, CATHERINE, Lady Stanhope and Countess of Chesterfield (d. 1667). [See Kirkhoven.]

KERNE, Sir EDWARD (d. 1561), diplomatist. [See Carne.]

KEROUALLE, LOUISE RENÉE de, Duchess of Portsmouth and Aubigny (1649–1734), was the elder of the two daughters of Guillaume de Penancoët, sieur de Kéroualle, a Breton gentleman of very ancient lineage, whose wife was through her mother connected with the De Rieux. Evelyn, who made the acquaintance of her parents on their visit to England in 1675, gives a pleasant account of them (Diary, ii. 310). Her only brother, Sebastian, took part in the campaign in Candia under the Duke of Beaufort in 1669 (Forneron). Before this date Louise de Kéroualle had become maid of honour to Henrietta, duchess of Orleans, the sister of Charles II. In 1670 she accompanied to England the Duchess of Orleans, who was negotiating the first treaty of Dover. There is no proof of the existence at the time of any design to establish her as the mistress of Charles II. But he was growing weary of Lady Castlemaine. The effect produced on him by his sister's attendant was at once obvious, and probably contributed to a prolongation of the negotiations. A coldness on the part of Charles towards Louis XIV resulted from the sudden death of the Duchess of Orleans after her return to France (June), and Louise de Keroualle was thereupon sent back to England, Charles ordering a royal yacht to meet her at Calais. On arriving in London she was named maid of honour to Queen Catherine.

Mile, de Keroualle at first played her game so cautiously as to dispirit the French ambassador, Colbert de Croissy. In November Evelyn first saw the new 'famous beauty, but in my opinion of a childish, simple, and baby face' (Diary, ii. 263). Gradually, however, her charms and her coyness prevailed, and the ministers began to pay court to her. During a sojourn of the king at Newmarket she was, in October 1671, invited to Lady Arlington's country seat of Euston, where, with the co-operation of the French ambassador and others, she was established as mistress en titre (ib. ii. 266-267). Louis XIV sent her congratulations; and though, notwithstanding her entreaties, Charles delayed his profession of catholicism, the declaration of war against the Dutch, in accordance with the treaty of Dover, was not long in coming (March 1672; cf. Mme. de Sévigné, ed. Monmerqué, 1862, ii. 546).

On 29 July 1672 Louise bore the king a son, Charles Lennox, first duke of Richmond [q. v.] But for a time her position was uncertain (cf. ib. iv. 128-9). Although universally unpopular in England as a Frenchwoman and catholic, she nevertheless contrived to hold her own, and having been, at the request of Louis XIV, naturalised as an English subject, she was on 19 Aug. 1673 created Baroness Petersfield, Countess of Fareham, and Duchess of Portsmouth (Doyle). The ducal title at first granted to her, but immediately altered, is said to have been that of Pendennis. In the same year she was sworn lady of the bedchamber to the queen (ib.)

In 1674 Charles induced Louis XIV to grant the duchess, who was obliged to seclude herself at the time, the fief of Aubigny in Berry, with remainder to such of her natural children by Charles as should be designated by him. The fief had reverted to the French crown in December 1672 by the death of Charles Stuart, duke of Richmond, on whose family it had been first bestowed by Charles VII of France in 1422 (Collins, i. 182; Doyle, iii. 127; Linqard, 6th edit. 1855, ix. 256-257). The title of Duchess of Aubigny, carrying with it the coveted right of a tabouret at the French court, was for the present withheld. The disgrace of Buckingham at the time was widely attributed to her influence (Rebesby, pp. 192-3). In December 1674 an annuity of 10,000l. was settled upon her out of the wine licenses. In the same month the king endowed the Duchess of Portsmouth's younger sister, Henrietta, on her marriage to Philip Herbert, seventh earl of Pembroke [see under Herbert, Philip, fourth earl]. In August 1675 the duchess's son, Charles, was created Duke of Richmond.

During the administration of Danby the Duchess of Portsmouth consistently exerted herself to keep Charles in dependence on France, notwithstanding his outward pretences to the contrary; but she was anxious to keep on good terms with Danby (ib. p. 165), to whom it is said that she at one time granted a share of her favours. Her ascendency over the king, which seemed assured by the retirement from court of the Duchess of Cleveland, was imperilled by the arrival in England, about the end of 1675, of Hortensia Mancini, duchess of Mazarin. The rising influence of Monmouth was also used against her. Yet in the contest which ensued (see Waller's poem, The Triple Combat, 1675; Rochcster's Farewell, 1680), although