Sophia Sidney, Baroness De L'Isle and Dudley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sophia Sidney
Baroness De L'Isle and Dudley
Born(1795-03-04)4 March 1795
Somerset Street, London, England
Died10 April 1837(1837-04-10) (aged 42)
Noble familyFitzClarence
Spouse(s)Philip Sidney, 1st Baron De L'Isle and Dudley
Adelaide Sidney
Ernestine Sidney
Sophia Sidney
Philip Sidney, 2nd Baron of De L'Isle and Dudley
FatherWilliam IV
MotherDorothea Jordan
OccupationState Housekeeper

Sophia Sidney, Baroness De L'Isle and Dudley (née FitzClarence; 4 March 1795 – 10 April 1837) was the eldest illegitimate daughter of William IV of the United Kingdom and his longtime mistress Dorothea Jordan. She was married to Philip Sidney, 1st Baron De L'Isle and Dudley, and had four surviving children. Shortly before her death in 1837, she served as State Housekeeper in Kensington Palace.

Family and early life[edit]

Sophia FitzClarence was born on 4 March 1795 on Somerset Street in London, the eldest daughter of Prince William, Duke of Clarence, by his longtime mistress, the comic actress Dorothea Jordan.[1] Sophia would come to have nine siblings, five brothers and four sisters all surnamed FitzClarence.[2][3] While circumstances prevented the couple from ever marrying, for twenty years William and Dorothea enjoyed domestic stability and were devoted to their children.[4][5] In 1797, they moved from Clarence Lodge to Bushy House, residing at the Teddington residence until 1807.[4] The couple separated in 1811 as William sought to produce legitimate issue.[6]

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 13 August 1825, she married Philip Sidney, later an M.P. and the 1st Baron De L'Isle and Dudley of Penshurst in the County of Kent.[3][7] Sidney was a relation of the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley, though he opted to drop "Shelley" from his surname.[8]

Sophia and her husband had four surviving children, three daughters and a son:[7][9]

Later life[edit]

William IV drawn by his daughter Sophia in 1837

In May 1831 Sophia, like her sisters, was raised to the status of a daughter of a marquess. In January 1837, she was appointed State Housekeeper of Kensington Palace, where she died three months later.[7] Sophia died in childbirth just after drawing a sketch of her ailing father. She was his favourite child and her death caused him intense grief. She was remembered as a woman of great wit, charm and gaiety. There is a memorial to her at St John the Baptist, Penshurst.

The widowed Sidney died in 1851.[3]



  1. ^ Beauclerk-Dewar & Powell 2008.
  2. ^ Wright 1837, pp. 429, 851–54.
  3. ^ a b c Weir 2008, p. 304.
  4. ^ a b Brock 2004.
  5. ^ Campbell Denlinger 2005, p. 81.
  6. ^ Campbell Denlinger 2005, p. 84.
  7. ^ a b c Wright 1837, p. 851.
  8. ^ Brennan 2006.
  9. ^ Burke 1880, p. 353.
Works cited
  • Beauclerk-Dewar, Peter; Powell, Roger (2008). Royal Bastards. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 9780752473154.
  • Brennan, Michael G. (2006). The Sidneys of Penshurst and the Monarchy, 1500-1700. Ashgate Publishing Company.
  • Brock, Michael (2004). "William IV (1765–1837)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29451. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Burke, Bernard (1880). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage, Volume 42, Part 1. Harrison and Sons.
  • Campbell Denlinger, Elizabeth (2005). Before Victoria: Extraordinary Women of the British Romantic Era. New York: Columbia University Press – via Questia. (subscription required)
  • Weir, Alison (2008). Britain's Royal Families, The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-09-953973-5.
  • Wright, G.N. (1837). The Life and Reign of William the Fourth. London: Fisher, Son, & Co.