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Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland

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The Duke of Cleveland

Painting of Charles FitzRoy, Duke of Southampton and Cleveland, attributed to William Faithorne the Elder (c.1616-1691).
Born(1662-06-18)18 June 1662
Died9 September 1730(1730-09-09) (aged 68)
Spouse(s)Mary Wood
Anne Pulteney
Issue6, including:
William FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Cleveland
FatherCharles II of England
MotherBarbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland
Arms of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland: The royal arms of King Charles II overall a baton sinister ermine

Charles Palmer, later Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland, 1st Duke of Southampton, KG, Chief Butler of England (18 June 1662 – 9 September 1730), styled Baron Limerick before 1670; Earl of Southampton between 1670 and 1675; and known as the Duke of Southampton from 1675 until 1709, when he succeeded his mother as Duke of Cleveland.

Early life[edit]

Charles Palmer, later "FitzRoy", was born on 18 June 1662, and was initially claimed by Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine, his mother's husband, as his son and heir before being publicly acknowledged and invested by King Charles II of England as his son.[1][2]

He was the third eldest of the illegitimate sons of Charles II, with his mother being Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine and later 1st Duchess of Cleveland, then the wife of Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine. In recognition of his legal father the Earl of Castlemaine, he was styled from birth by the courtesy title "Lord Limerick", one of the Earl's lesser titles. His birth marked the separation of his legal parents; Lord Castlemaine, a Roman Catholic, had him christened in the Roman Catholic faith, but six days later, the King had him re-christened in the Church of England as an Anglican and Protestant.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1670, at the age of 8, he was betrothed to Mary Wood, only child and sole heiress of Sir Henry Wood, 1st Baronet, Clerk of the Green Cloth, but with the proviso that the marriage be delayed until Mary was 16 years old. Following the death of her father, the Duchess of Cleveland more or less abducted Mary, with the intention of bringing her up with her own children. In 1675, he was created Duke of Southampton by King Charles II, along with the subsidiary titles of Earl of Chichester and Baron Newbury. The marriage to Mary Wood took place in 1679, but within months the new Duchess had died of smallpox, leaving no children of the marriage.[3]

In 1694, the Duke remarried Anne Pulteney, a daughter of Sir William Pulteney, of Misterton, Leicestershire, and had issue:[3]

On the death of his mother in 1709, the Duke became also second Duke of Cleveland, by a special remainder in the grant of the dukedom which set aside his illegitimacy.

He died on 9 September 1730 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.[3] He was succeeded by his eldest son William FitzRoy (1698–1774), who died without issue, when all his titles became extinct.[4]


Coat of arms of Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland
A Coronet of a Duke
On a Chapeau Gules turned up Ermine a Lion statant guardant Or ducally crowned Azure and gorged with a Collar compony counter-compony ermine and Azure.
The Royal Arms of King Charles II of England (viz. quarterly: 1st and 4th, France and England quarterly; 2nd, Scotland; 3rd, Ireland); the whole debruised by a Baton sinister ermine.
Dexter: a Lion guardant Or ducally crowned Azure, gorged with a Collar compony counter-compony ermine and Azure.
Sinister: A greyhound Argent, with a Collar compony counter-compony ermine and Azure.
Secundis Dubusque Rectus (Latin: "Upright in prosperity and in peril")



  1. ^ a b Laing, Alastair. "Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine (1634 - 1705), and his Secretary". Natural Trust Collections UK. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b Holder, Samantha. "The House of FitzRoy: Children of Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland". The Wrong Side of the Blanket. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Thomas Christopher Banks, The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England. Supplement (1826), p. 442
  4. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Fitzroy, Charles (1662-1730)" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 19. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
Peerage of England
Preceded by Duke of Cleveland
1st creation
Succeeded by
New creation Duke of Southampton
1st creation