thrale & thrall family history

Lady Letitia Derby

Lady Letitia Derby

Female - 1825

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  • Name Letitia Derby 
    Prefix Lady 
    Gender Female 
    Death 1825  [1
    • She rose from humble and shadowy origins in London's seedy nether world of brothels and booze to become one of the trusted circle of the Prince of Wales. The Prince was so besotted with Lady Laetitia Lade that he commissioned a portrait of her from George Stubbs, one of the greatest artists of the day, to hang at his London home two centuries ago. The painting is normally in the private rooms of Windsor Castle. Stubbs's painting shows her calmly dealing with a rearing horse while seated side-saddle, a tricky feat even though she was also renowned as a gifted horsewoman.

      Like many women of the era, only fragments of her life remain - the rest is lost in the mists of time because chroniclers tended to dwell on the menfolk of the age. But her foul mouth gave her some notoriety at the time and gave rise to the phrase "to swear like Lady Lade".

      It is not even clear when she was born, but Lady Lade, who was born Laetitia Derby, is understood to have worked as a servant in a brothel in her early years. Through her underworld connections she became the mistress of the dandy highwayman John Rann.

      After he was tried and hanged for his crimes, she became the mistress of the Duke of York and then moved on to his friend Sir John Lade, a society figure who as a child was the subject of a poem by family friend Dr Johnson.
      It was through Sir John that she became close to the profligate Prince of Wales - George Augustus, later to become George IV - who employed him as his racing manager.
      "The Prince of Wales seems to have been quite obsessed with her," said author Robin Blake, whose book George Stubbs and the Wide Creation is published on Thursday. "But he probably respected his friend's marriage. He flirted with her and sent her presents from Bath."

      Letitia Derby - Sir John Lade's second wife - was once the mistress of the Duke of York. She and her husband were close friends of the Prince of Wales, receiving from him an annual pension of three hundred pounds. [2, 3]
    Person ID I1034  UK Thrale family
    Last Modified 1 Dec 2015 

    Family Baronet Sir John Lade,   b. 1 Aug 1759   d. Abt 1838 (Age 78 years) 
    Marriage Abt 1787 
    Family ID F291  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2004 

  • Photos
    Headshot of Lady Letitia Lade
    Lady Letitia Derby in 1793.
    Lady Letitia Lade after Sir Joshua Reynolds

  • Sources 
    1. [S22] Web, (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S22] Web,

    3. [S76] Bloom and Bloom, The Piozzi Letters. Volume 2, page 527, note 2.