Portrait of a mistress: Album of King Edward VII's lover Lillie Langtry is uncovered after 135 years
Rarely seen photographs of the beautiful actress who famously had an affair with King Edward VII have been unearthed. The album of portraits of the woman behind the royal affair is to be sold at auction for £7,000. 82 black and white photos of the 'other woman' have emerged for sale at Doyles auction house in New York.
The photographs were taken as publicity shots for Langtry's acting career and were taken five years after the affair had ended. King Edward VII married Alexandra of Denmark in 1863 but was rumoured to have had multiple affairs throughout his marriage.
King Edward VII met Langtry at a dinner party in the 1870s and had a three-year relationship with the actress-cum-socialite. He built Langtry a large house in Bournemouth, Dorset, which became their private retreat throughout their three year relationship. Langtry, who was aged 32 at the time, later emigrated to the US and the album ended up in the ownership of an American friend.
Wearing different outfits, including a Japanese-style gown, the Victorian beauty posed showing her left-hand side in most of the photographs. Edward Ripley-Duggan, director of the book department at auctioneers Doyles, said: 'The album has been with the current owner for a number of years now. 'Every single one of the images is signed by Langtry. This is a wonderful piece in terms of her career.
'She was obviously a little notorious but she was fundamentally a very intelligent and driven woman. 'Langtry was a very interesting figure indeed. Everybody knows about her liaisons with the then Prince of Wales.' She was a close friend of Oscar Wilde and I don't think you gained entry into that circle if you were a fool.
'This was a circle of wits where women were expected to be both pretty and witty. 'She was a strong character and prepared to deal with whatever came her way following the liaison with the Prince of Wales.' Langtry's former home, called the Red House, is now the Langtry Manor Hotel in Bournemouth and the King's room there is now used as a honeymoon suite.
Langtry became an American citizen in 1897 and died in Monte Carlo in 1929 aged 75. She is rumoured to have been the inspiration for the character of Irene Adler in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tale A Scandal In Bohemia. The album is being sold on April 23.Actress and socialite Lillie Langtry had a three-year
affair with the Prince of Wales in the 1870sLangtry was a regular in high society- and counted
Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle as close friends Lillie Langtry met King Edward at a dinner party. The King was rumoured to
have had a string of affairs despite being married to Alexandra of DenmarkKing Edward VII and his long-suffering wife Queen Alexandra in 1903Most of the pictures were taken in New York after Langtry
emigrated to America following the end of the affair in the 1880s The black and white photos were designed to show Langtry
off to her fullest. Each picture has been signedThe Bournemouth lovenest of Edward and Lillie is now a hotel