The Kings Mistress

Early Life

To say she lived a varied and colourful life would be an understatement , her mother a Welsh actress Grace Philips  married Francis Bland an army captain who gave it up to become an actor in Thomas Sheridans company in Dublin. The union didn’t receive the blessings of the Bland Family who looked down on the acting profession  and when Dorothea Bland was 13 her father Francis Bland left to marry the heiress Catherine O’Mahony of Killarney, however he did continue to provide meagre support .

Dora changed her surname to her mothers maiden name Philips it would be the first of many such changes.

The Kings Mistress

Dublin to England

At 13, Dora was sent out to work in a Dublin hat shop. A few years later she was on the stage, where she made an immediate impression. At 20 she fled from Ireland, pregnant by her married manager Richard Daly , who seduced or possibly raped her.

She fled to England she likened her escape to crossing the Jordan and so Dorothea Bland became Mrs Jordan.


The King's Mistress

Gifted and Charming

She wrote the popular songs such as the Blue belles of Scotland as well as many others:

In 1815, the renowned theatre critic, William Hazlitt, wrote:

‘Mrs Jordan’s excellences were all natural to her. It was not as an actress, but as herself, that she charmed everyone. Nature had formed in her most prodigal humour; and when nature is in the humour to make a woman all that is delightful, she does it most effectually. . . Mrs Jordan, the child of nature, whose voice was a cordial to the heart, because it came from it, rich, full, like the luscious juice of the rich grape.’

The King's Mistress

Adored by her supporters

After an apprenticeship  in Yorkshire she started  in Drury lane in 1785, and established herself as a star for the next 34 years – until it burned down – she topped the bill, taking on everything from physical farce and musical comedy to Shakespeare. She was hugely admired by the intellectuals – Byron, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Lamb – and she was adored by the pit and the gallery till the end of her career. When the Times attacked her one morning in 1814, the whole of the Covent Garden audience rose to applaud her when she appeared on stage that evening.

The King's Mistress

Highly successful

She was in the true sense of the word a celebrity of her day attracting ridicule of the press lampooning her affairs in the Georgian comic style.

As well as being painted by the truly great artists of her time such as Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Hoppner, and Romney.

Dora’s bank balance as a highly successful actress was much better than the heavily indebted duke and she supported him before his situation improved when he became king, however in 1811 the heavily indebted king in search of an heiress after living happily together for twenty years producing 10 children together taking on the name Fitzclarence. She also reared the Dukes illegitimate son as well as her daughter by Richard Daly and a son and daughter by Sir Richard Ford a police magistrate who she left when he refused to marry her.

The King's Mistress

A sad end

Sadly 1811 William was persuaded to leave her in favour of a suitable more blueblooded bride to provide a legitimate heir. His two children from this marriage died in Infancy on his death his Niece Queen Victoria came to the throne.

Jordan was given an annual settlement of £4,400 – roughly €300,000 euro in today’s money – on condition she did not return to her acting career. However, to settle debts of her son in law Thomas Alsop, (who had married Francis Daly her first child) she returned to the stage, the King’s allowance was cut off. She had been away too long, and could not command the audiences and income she had previously done. She fled to France (changing her name yet again to Mrs James and finally Mrs Johnson)in 1815 to escape her creditors, and died in St. Cloud near Paris alone and destitute the following year.


The Kings Mistress

A heartbroken King

The king heart broken remorseful after her death went about like a man possessed, purchasing  every painting done of her and commissioned the most famous sculptor of the day Sir Francis Chantrey to sculpt a statue in her memory which stands today in Buckingham palace .

She was a woman of immense tenacity, charm and courage, we like to imagine her as a young girl playing by the sea and fields around Parknasilla with her Grand parents, perhaps it helped her sense of self ,to overcome all the slings and arrows life could throw as she fielded them all with Grace.

The Kings Mistress

Her Biographer Notes

IF there is one person in our later history who might stand as the type of motherhood, it is Dorothy Bland, later known as Mrs. Jordan. Her great yet unblessed quality was protectiveness, and from her childhood she expended her sympathy and help upon those who were weak and appealing; in her girlhood she supported those who should have worked for her, in her woman-hood she spent herself upon her children and upon the helpless man who, thinking he conferred honour, made extravagant demands upon her income, her strength and her love.

She gave with both hands,gave honestly and fearlessly, and though in middle life she refused to go penniless when called upon to stand bereft of all before the world, yet she never took, back the love she had given, never publicly uttered a word of reproach against the Duke who cast her entirely out of his life, while her daughter led the dance at the Regent’s balls and her sons were accepted naturally in Court circles.

The Kings Mistress


Among her descendants is one David Cameron, the former prime minister of Britain, who is descended from Jordan’s daughter Elizabeth, the Countess of Erroll.