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Annesley, Richard, sixth earl of Anglesey (bap. 1693, d. 1761), kidnapper and bigamist, was baptized on 26 November 1693 at St Peter's Cathedral, Exeter, Devon, the third son of Dr Richard Annesley (1654/5–1701), dean of Exeter, from c.1700 third Baron Altham, and his wife, ...

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Berkeley, Lady Henrietta [Harriett] (b. in or after 1664, d. 1706), figure of scandal, was a younger daughter of George Berkeley, first earl of Berkeley (1626/7–1698), and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1708), daughter of John Massingberd. Little is known of her early life. But in 1682 ...

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Noel Pemberton Billing (1881–1948) by Elliott & Fry, 1920s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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Clare, Bogo de (1248–1294), ecclesiastic and figure of scandal, was born on 21 July 1248, the third son of Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford (1222–1262), and his second wife, Maud (d. 1288/9), daughter of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln...

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Maria Coventry, countess of Coventry (bap. 1732, d. 1760) by Jean-Étienne Liotard, 1750–55 Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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Coventry [née Gunning], Maria, countess of Coventry (bap. 1732, d. 1760), figure of scandal, was born at Hemingford Grey Manor House, Huntingdonshire, an estate owned by her aunt, and baptized there on 15 August 1732, the eldest of the four daughters of ...

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Jane Elizabeth Digby (1807–1881) by Sir George Hayter, c. 1825 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Digby, Jane Elizabeth (1807–1881), adventuress, who was known successively as Lady Ellenborough, Baroness von Venningen Üllner, Countess Theotoky, and the Honourable Mrs Digby el Mesreb, was born on 3 April 1807, the eldest child of Captain, later Admiral, Sir Henry Digby (1770–1842) and his wife, ...

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Drummond, George Henry Charles Francis Malcolm, Viscount Forth (1834–1861), dipsomaniac, was born on 13 May 1834, in Naples, the only surviving child of George Drummond (1807–1902), soldier, and his first wife, the Countess Rapp, née Baroness Albertine von Rothberg Rheinweiler Coligni, (d...

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Lambton, Antony Claud Frederick, styled Lord Lambton (1922–2006), politician and writer, was born on 10 July 1922 at West Marden Hall, Emsworth, Sussex, the younger son of John Frederick Lambton, fifth earl of Durham (1884–1970), and his first wife, Diana Mary (1901–1924), only daughter of ...

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Maunsell [married name Kingsman], Dorothea (b. 1749x51), figure of scandal, was probably born in Dublin, the youngest daughter of Thomas Maunsell (c.1705–1778), a Dublin barrister, king's counsellor in the court of exchequer, and MP for Kilmallock, co. Limerick, between 1769 and 1776. Her mother was ...

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Montez, Lola [real name Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert] (1821–1861), adventuress, was born on 17 February 1821 at Grange, co. Sligo, Ireland, the only child of Edward Gilbert (c.1797–1823), an ensign of the 25th foot regiment, and his wife, Eliza Oliver (...

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Lola Montez (1821–1861) by Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes, c. 1850 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937. (37.14.41) All rights reserved, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Nun of Watton (b. 1146x9), Gilbertine nun and figure of scandal, is known only from the account of the two miracles associated with her that was written by Ailred of Rievaulx (d. 1167) in the early 1160s. It survives in one manuscript, probably written in the late 1160s and now Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 139, folios 149...

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Lady Susan Harriet Catherine Opdebeck (1814–1889) by Jan Frans Portaels, 1859 [detail] unknown collection / Christie's; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Opdebeck [née Douglas-Hamilton], Lady Susan Harriet Catherine [other married name Susan Harriet Catherine Pelham-Clinton, countess of Lincoln] (1814–1889), figure of scandal, was born on 9 June 1814, the only daughter of Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, tenth duke of Hamilton (1767–1852), and his wife, ...

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John Dennis Profumo (1915–2006) by Jimmy Sime, 1960 Getty Images

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Profumo, John Dennis [Jack] (1915–2006), politician and social worker, was born on 30 January 1915 at 28 Basil Street, Kensington, the second son (the elder had died in infancy) and fourth of five children of Albert Peter Anthony Profumo (1879–1940), barrister, and fourth Baron Profumo of the kingdom of Italy...

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Thistlethwayte, Robert (bap. 1690, d. 1744), college head and subject of sexual scandal, was the third son of Francis Thistlethwayte (b. 1658) of Winterslow, Wiltshire, where the Thistlethwayte family had held the manor since the sixteenth century, and of Compton Valence, Dorset...