Grace Dalrymple Elliot
Whoever said "girls just wanna have fun" might easily have been referring to our amazing Grace.
Born in Edinburgh, the youngest daughter of Hew Dalrymple, an advocate, her parents separated soon after her birth and Grace was sent to a convent in France to be educated. There was nothing of the nun, however, in young Grace and on her return to Scotland in 1771 she made her debut in Edinburgh society, where her beauty captivated all and guaranteed her success.
Society portrait of Grace Elliot - thankfully our idea of crumpet has moved on somewhat
She gained initial entry to the highest society circles through her brief marriage to the fashionable London Scottish physician, Dr John Elliot, a man some 20 years her senior. The adolescent and impressionable bride lacked the judgment (or desire) to withstand the temptations placed before her and she embarked on a series of extramarital liaisons before finally running off with Lord Valentia in 1774.
Elliot received a divorce settlement and £12,000 in damages, but Grace was tracked down and kidnapped by her own brother who confined her to yet another French convent. She was quickly rescued, however, and brought back to London by one of her many admirers, Lord Cholmondley.
Recognising her true vocation in life, Grace became the mistress of several prominent men, including the Lords Valentia and Cholmondley, Charles Windham, George Selwyn and the Prince of Wales (later George IV).
When Grace gave birth to a daughter in 1782 several, including the Prince, claimed paternity. The prince introduced Grace to the Duke of Orleans in 1784 and two years later she went to live in Paris, where she stayed during the 1790's.
After Grace's death her grand-daughter published her highly entertaining "Journal of My Life During the Revolution" in which she claimed to have been imprisoned in Paris four times and to have acted as a go-between for Marie Antoinette and Louis XVIII. Napoleon himself was said to have proposed to her.
She died at Ville d'Avray where, true to form right to the end, she was the mistress of the local mayor.