Charles Berkeley, 1st Earl of Falmouth

Charles Berkeley, Baron Berkeley of Rathdowne, County Wicklow and Viscount Fitzhardinge of Berehaven, County Kerry (1630-1665) (Peter Lely)

Charles Berkeley 1st Earl of Falmouth (11 January 1630 3 June 1665) was the son of Charles Berkeley (1599–1668) and his wife Penelope née Godolphin (died 1669), of the Bruton branch of the Berkeley family.

He served the exiled Stuart court. His uncle, John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, secured Charles employment with James, Duke of York until the Restoration. He was a cavalry officer and fought in the French and Spanish armies. Charles was subsequently created Baron Berkeley of Rathdowne, co. Wicklow, Ireland, and Baron Fitzhardinge of Berehaven, Co. Kerry, Ireland, on 1 July 1663. He was created Earl of Falmouth, in the Peerage of England, on 17 March 1664, and Baron Botetourt of Langport, Somerset on the same day. He was promoted Lieutenant-Governor of Portsmouth and was elected MP for New Romney.

In 1664 he married Elizabeth Bagot,[1] who as the widowed Countess Falmouth became a mistress to King Charles II of England.

During the Second Anglo-Dutch War he volunteered for service in the Royal fleet. Charles was killed by a cannonball on 3 June 1665 on board the Royal Charles in one of the first exchanges of the Battle of Lowestoft.

His boisterous character made him not very well loved by many, but his loyalty to the Royal family favoured his relationship with the King. Clarendon was amazed at the flood of tears the King shed, when he received the news that Berkeley had been killed.[2]


  1. Melville, Lewis (2005). The Windsor Beauties: Ladies of the Court of Charles II. Loving Healing Press. ISBN 1-932690-13-1. Retrieved 18 December 2007.
  2. Catalogue notes for the portrait of Charles Berkeley
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Norton Knatchbull, Bt
John Knatchbull
Member of Parliament for New Romney
With: Sir Norton Knatchbull, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Norton Knatchbull, Bt
Henry Brouncker
Military offices
New regiment Captain and Colonel of
The Duke of York's Troop of Horse Guards

Succeeded by
The Earl of Feversham
Court offices
Preceded by
Sir Henry Bennet
Keeper of the Privy Purse
Succeeded by
Baptist May
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Falmouth
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Viscount Fitzhardinge
Succeeded by
Charles Berkeley

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