The German Princess

The German Princess is in Jacobean and Restoration Plays.

Diary of Samuel Pepys 29 May 1663. 29 May 1663. This day is kept strictly as a holy-day, being the King's Coronation. We lay long in bed, and it rained very hard, rain and hail, almost all the morning.

By and by Creed and I abroad, and called at several churches; and it is a wonder to see, and by that to guess the ill temper of the City at this time, either to religion in general, or to the King (33), that in some churches there was hardly ten people in the whole church, and those poor people.

So to a coffee-house, and there in discourse hear the King of France (24) is likely to be well again.

So home to dinner, and out by water to the Royall Theatre, but they not acting to-day, then to the Duke's house, and there saw "The Slighted Mayde", wherein Gosnell acted Pyramena, a great part, and did it very well, and I believe will do it better and better, and prove a good actor. The play is not very excellent, but is well acted, and in general the actors, in all particulars, are better than at the other house.

Thence to the Cocke alehouse, and there having drunk, sent them with Creed to see "The German Princess1, at the Gatehouse, at Westminster, and I to my brother's, and thence to my uncle Fenner's to have seen my aunt James (who has been long in town and goes away to-morrow and I not seen her), but did find none of them within, which I was glad of, and so back to my brother's to speak with him, and so home, and in my way did take two turns forwards and backwards through the Fleete Ally to see a couple of pretty [strumpets] that stood off the doors there, and God forgive me I could scarce stay myself from going into their houses with them, so apt is my nature to evil after once, as I have these two days, set upon pleasure again.

So home and to my office to put down these two days' journalls, then home again and to supper, and then Creed and I to bed with good discourse, only my mind troubled about my spending my time so badly for these seven or eight days; but I must impute it to the disquiet that my mind has been in of late about my wife, and for my going these two days to plays, for which I have paid the due forfeit by money and abating the times of going to plays at Court, which I am now to remember that I have cleared all my times that I am to go to Court plays to the end of this month, and so June is the first time that I am to begin to reckon.

Note 1. Mary Moders (21), alias Stedman alias Carleton, a notorious impostor, who pretended to be a German princess. Her arrival as the German princess "at the Exchange Tavern, right against the Stocks betwixt the Poultry and Cornhill, at 5 in the morning...., with her marriage to Carleton the taverner's wife's brother", are incidents fully narrated in Francis Kirkman's "Counterfeit Lady Unveiled", 1673 ("Boyne's Tokens", ed. Williamson, vol. i., p. 703). Her adventures formed the plot of a tragi-comedy by T. P., entitled "A Witty Combat, or the Female Victor", 1663, which was acted with great applause by persons of quality in Whitsun week. Mary Carleton was tried at the Old Bailey for bigamy and acquitted, after which she appeared on the stage in her own character as the heroine of a play entitled "The German Princess". Pepys went to the Duke's house to see her on April 15th, 1664. The rest of her life was one continued course of robbery and fraud, and in 1678 she was executed at Tyburn for stealing a piece of plate in Chancery Lane.

Around 1642. William Dobson Painter 1611-1646. Portrait of the future Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Before 1691. John Riley Painter 1646-1691. Portrait of Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. Around 1665 John Greenhill Painter 1644-1676. Portrait of Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his Garter Robes. Around 1661 John Michael Wright Painter 1617-1694. Portrait of Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685 in his coronation robes. Before 11 Jul 1671 Adriaen Hanneman Painter 1603-1671. Portrait of Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. 1675. Hendrick Danckerts Painter 1625-1680. Portrait of Royal Gardener John Rose presenting a pineappel to King Charles II

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Diary of Samuel Pepys 15 April 1664. 15 Apr 1664. Up and all the morning with Captain Taylor at my house talking about things of the Navy, and among other things I showed him my letters to Mr. Coventry (36), wherein he acknowledges that nobody to this day did ever understand so much as I have done, and I believe him, for I perceive he did very much listen to every article as things new to him, and is contented to abide by my opinion therein in his great contest with us about his and Mr. Wood's masts.

At noon to the 'Change, where I met with Mr. Hill (34), the little merchant, with whom, I perceive, I shall contract a musical acquaintance; but I will make it as little troublesome as I can.

Home and dined, and then with my wife by coach to the Duke's house, and there saw "The German Princess" acted, by the woman herself; but never was any thing so well done in earnest, worse performed in jest upon the stage; and indeed the whole play, abating the drollery of him that acts her husband, is very simple, unless here and there a witty sprinkle or two. We met and sat by Dr. Clerke.

Thence homewards, calling at Madam Turner's (41), and thence set my wife down at my aunt Wight's (45) and I to my office till late, and then at to at night fetched her home, and so again to my office a little, and then to supper and to bed.

Before 23 Jun 1686 Mary Beale aka Cradock Painter 1633-1699. Portrait of William Coventry 1628-1686.