School of Sir Peter Lely
Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland and Countess of Castlemaine
Oil on canvas
50 1/4 x 40 inches (127.7 x 101.7 cm)
Barbara Villiers (1640-1709) and her husband, Roger Palmer, joined Charles, Prince of Wales (later Charles II) in 1659 while he was in exile in Holland before the Stuart Restoration. She became the prince's favorite in 1660, and the couple eventually had five children. Charles created her husband Earl of Castlemaine, and after he died, he created Barbara Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland in her own right. She was allowed to pass on these titles to her eldest son, Charles FitzRoy, despite his illegitimacy.
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