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Freda Dudley Ward

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St Johns Wood, London

Freda Ward

Marquesa de Casa Maury

Other names
Freda Birkin


Freda Dudley Ward Secret letter reveals royal ladies39 man Prince Edward VIII

Full Name
Winifred May Birkin

28 July 1894 (age 88) (

Known for
mistress of the Prince of Wales (1918–23)

Pedro Jose Isidro Manuel Ricardo Mones (m. 1937–1954), William Dudley Ward (m. 1913–1931)

Penelope Dudley-Ward, Claire Angela Louise Dudley Ward

Charles Wilfred Birkin, Claire Lloyd Howe

Tracy Reed, Max Reed, Joe Laycock

16 March 1983 (aged 88)

William Dudley Ward, Tracy Reed (English actress), Robert Laycock

Winifred May, Marquesa de Casa Maury (née Birkin; 28 July 1894 – 16 March 1983), universally known by her first married name as Freda Dudley Ward, was an English socialite best known for being a mistress of the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII.


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Freda Dudley Ward Freda Dudley Ward and Edward VIII in Downton Abbey

Born Winifred 'Freda' May Birkin, she was the second child and eldest of three daughters of British Colonel Charles Wilfred Birkin (fourth son of a lace embroidery and tableware magnate of Nottingham, Sir Thomas Isaac Birkin) and his American wife, Claire Lloyd Birkin (née Howe).

Freda Dudley Ward Edward VIII the incurable romantic Letter to mistress before Mrs

Freda was the mistress of the Prince of Wales from 1918 to 1934, when he fell in love with Wallis Simpson. The relationship between the Prince of Wales and the married Ward was common knowledge in aristocratic circles. Winston Churchill observed in 1927, after travelling with them on a train, "It is quite pathetic to see the Prince and Freda. His love is so obvious and undisguisable."


  • 9 July 1913 to Rt. Hon. William Dudley Ward, Liberal MP for Southampton. They had two daughters. Her first husband's family surname was Ward, but 'Dudley Ward' became their official surname through common usage. Their divorce took place on the ground of adultery in 1931.
  • 20 October 1937 to Pedro Jose Isidro Manuel Ricardo Mones, Marques de Casa Maury. From 1938 the couple took up residence in St Johns Wood, London, at 58 Hamilton Terrace, which they commissioned from the architects Burnet, Tait & Lorne. They divorced in 1954.
  • Children

    Freda Dudley Ward Freda Dudley Ward

  • Penelope Ann Rachel Dudley Ward (1914–1982), the actress Penelope Dudley-Ward, later Lady Reed, known as Pempie, who married firstly in 1939 (divorced 1944) Anthony Pelissier, by whom she had a daughter, and secondly in 1948 film director Sir Carol Reed, by whom she had a son shown below.
  • Tracy Reed (1942–2012, b. Clare Pelissier), actress; first wife of actor Edward Fox, who later played Edward VIII in Edward & Mrs. Simpson in which their affair is depicted; they had one daughter.
  • Max Reed (b. 1948)
  • Claire Angela Louise Dudley Ward (1916–1999), later Lady Laycock, or Angie, who married in 1935 the commando leader Major-General Sir Robert Laycock, by whom she had two sons and three daughters. Of her five children, her son:
  • Joseph William Peter Laycock (Joe Laycock) (1938–1980) was married to actress Lucy Fleming, niece of the writer Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond; and had issue.
  • Legacy

    Freda Dudley Ward Freda Dudley Ward

    A portrait of her by the artist John Singer Sargent was discovered on the television series Antiques Roadshow in 2016.

    Freda Dudley Ward Freda Dudley Ward


    Freda Dudley Ward Wikipedia