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Blossoms will run away -
Cakes reign but a Day.
But Memory like Melody,
Is pink eternally
(Emily Dickinson)

Lillie Langtry

Here is a lovely song performed by the delicious Annette Hanshaw chosen to illustrate the beauty of the great British actress Lillie Langtry.
Lillie Langtry (1853 – 1929), born Emilie Charlotte Le Breton on the island of Jersey, was a highly successful British actress. A renowned beauty, she had a number of prominent lovers, including the future King Edward VII.
At a reception, Lillie attracted notice for her beauty and wit despite wearing a simple black dress and no jewelry. Before the end of the evening, Frank Miles had completed several sketches of her that became very popular on postcards. Another guest, Sir John Everett Millais, eventually painted her portrait. Langtry's nickname, the "Jersey Lily", was taken from the Jersey lily flower – a symbol of Jersey. She also sat for Sir Edward Poynter and is depicted in works by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. She became much sought after in London society, and invitations flooded in. Her fame soon reached royal ears. The Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, arranged to sit next to her at a dinner party. He became infatuated with Lillie and it was soon no secret that she had become his semi-official mistress. She was even presented to Edward's mother, Queen Victoria. Eventually, a cordial relationship developed between her and Princess Alexandra. The affair lasted from late 1877 to June 1880. The tradition is that their relationship finally cooled when she misbehaved at a dinner party, but she had been eclipsed when Sarah Bernhardt came to London in June 1879. With the withdrawal of royal favour, creditors closed in. In April 1879, Lillie started another affair with Prince Louis of Battenberg. In June 1880, she became pregnant. The father was definitely not her husband; Prince Louis was allowed to believe that it was he. Lillie retired to Paris with Arthur Jones, where on March 8, 1881, she gave birth to a daughter, Jeanne Marie. At the suggestion of one of her close friends, Oscar Wilde, Lillie embarked upon a stage career. In December 1881, she made her debut before the London public at the Haymarket Theatre. The following autumn, she made her first tour of America, an enormous success, which she repeated in subsequent years. From 1882 to 1891 she had been the mistress of the millionaire Fred Gebhard and from April 1891 until his death at New Orleans in March 1893 she was the mistress of George Alexander Baird, millionaire amateur jockey and pugilist. From 1900 to 1903, she was the lessee and manager of London's Imperial Theatre. In 1897, Langtry became an American citizen, and divorced her husband the same year in Lakeport, California. In 1899, she married the much younger Hugo Gerald de Bathe, and became a leading owner in the horse-racing world, before retiring to Monte Carlo where she died in 1929.
Langtry was portrayed on film by Lillian Bond in The Westerner (1940), and by Ava Gardner in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972). Langtry's story was dramatised by London Weekend Television in 1978 as Lillie, with Francesca Annis in the title role. Jenny Seagrove played her in the 1991 made-for-television film Incident at Victoria Falls. A heavily fictionalized incarnation of Langtry was performed by Stacy Haiduk in the 1996 television series Kindred: The Embraced.
Lillie Langtry lived at 21 Pont Street, London from 1892 to 1897. A blue plaque on the hotel commemorates this, and the hotel's restaurant is named Langtry's in her honour. Whilst she was Edward VII's mistress, Lillie Langtry frequently performed at the in-house theatre of a hotel on 1-9 Inverness Terrace, in Bayswater, on the north side of Hyde Park, London W2. The in-house theatre is known as 'Lillie's theatre'.
Enjoy Lillie Langtry's beauty and charm!

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