- Amalie von Wallmoden, Countess of Yarmouth
Amalie Sophie Marianne von Wallmoden, Countess of Yarmouth (
1 April 1704– 19 October 1765) was a mistress of George II of Great Britain.
Born Amalie Sophie Marianne von Wendt, she was the daughter of Johann Franz Dietrich von Wendt, a general in the
Hanoverian army, and his wife, Friderike Charlotte "née" von dem Bussche. Her grandmother Maria was probably the first mistress of George I in the 1670s, and her father's correspondence with Ernest Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, the king's brother, has been interpreted as evidence of a homosexualrelationship. In 1727, Amalie married Gottlieb Adam von Wallmoden (d. 1752), Oberhauptmann (county administrator) of Calenbergin Hanover and a member of the Wallmoden family.
In 1735, Amalie met George II on one of his visits to Hanover, and they began a love affair. According to Lord Hervey, the king sent a detailed account of the progress of the relationship to Queen Caroline. Reports of Amalie alarmed the queen, who believed a royal mistress could threaten her influence over her husband.
Robert Walpolewas also concerned due to the belief that Amalie would cause the king to remain in Hanover and reduce the effectiveness of the British government. During the king's stay in Hanover, Amalie gave birth to Johann Ludwig, Graf von Wallmoden-Gimborn( 22 April 1736- 10 October 1811), who was believed to be the king's but was not acknowledged as such.
Arrival in Britain
Following the queen's death in 1737, Walpole was convinced that only Amalie could maintain the king's health and Walpole probably preferred a Hanoverian mistress than a British one, who might influence the king against his ministers. The king's relationship with the Countess of Deloraine ceased and Amalie came to
Londonwith the king in 1738 and the affair became public knowledge. Rumours spread that she was a Catholic and also that the king hung a portrait of her opposite the foot of his bed.
Amalie moved into apartments at
St James's Palaceand Kensington Palaceand was accompanied by her husband, but with the king requiring her to act as the king's hostess at court. She was naturalised in February 1740, created Countess of Yarmouth for life a month later and was divorced from her husband later that year and awarded a pension of £4000 from Irish revenues.
For the first few years as royal mistress, Lady Yarmouth stayed out of politics but was relied upon by ministers to introduce the king to ideas that he might have resisted. However, she did take a role in the creation of
peerages and was alleged to have been allocated the fees for the creations of 1741. Her influence made her a more effective political mistress than her predecessor, the Countess of Suffolk.
In the 1740s, the Earl of Chesterfield thought he could strengthen his position in
Henry Pelham's cabinet via Lady Yarmouth, but Lady Yarmouth was unimpressed and did not intercede, and he was eased out office in 1748. She was more supportive of the Duke of Newcastle and when he sought to have the Duke of Bedford removed as a Secretary of Statein 1750, she helped persuade the king that the latter was a liability to the administration and Bedford resigned a year later. Her alliance with Newcastle has been credited with persuading the king to remain faithful to the Pitt–Newcastle ministry formed in 1757, despite the king's hatred of Pitt.
During the political turmoil of the 1750s, Lady Yarmouth's influence was useful even to members of the royal family. After the Duke of Cumberland had capitulated to the French at
Klosterzevenin 1757, he asked Lady Yarmouth to inform the king of his intention to resign his offices. She was credited by Horace Walpolewith persuading the king to support a 'jubilee masquerade in the Venetian manner' at Ranelagh Gardensas part of the celebrations of the end of the War of the Austrian Successionin 1749, but was generally content with the sombre routine of the widowed king's court.
On the death of the king in 1760, she was left £10,000 by him and remained in Britain at first and spent the summer of 1761 with the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle. She later returned to Hanover where she died of
breast cancerin 1765.
* [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/8839 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography]
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