B. 9 Apr. 1649, s. of Charles II and Lucy Walter; m. Anne, countess of Buccleuch, da. of Francis, earl of Buccleuch, and Margaret, da. of John, earl of Rothes, 20 Apr. 1663; issue: Charles, John; d. 15 July 1685; bur. Tower of London.
Charles II was eighteen and in exile when his liaison with Lucy Walter produced his first illegitimate son. The boy was reckoned remarkably handsome, and other fathers have been suggested. He was brought to London in 1662 and became a great favourite with the king, who gave him the dukedom of Monmouth in February 1663. Monmouth was present at the naval victory off Lowestoft in 1665 and fought as an army officer in the second and third Dutch wars. The conversion of James, duke of York, to catholicism brought Monmouth into play as a possible protestant successor to Charles II. In 1679 he was given command of the forces sent to suppress the covenanters in Scotland, which he did at Bothwell Bridge, but he lost favour with Charles. Accused of complicity in the Rye House plot (1683), he was sent into exile. Returning after James's accession to lead an invasion, his army was crushed at Sedgemoor in 1685. James refused to pardon him and he was executed in the Tower.
Subjects: British History.