27 May 2015

Katherine Savage developed the delusion that she was a Queen

Lady Katherine Savage was a daughter of John Savage (±1603-1654), 2nd Earl Rivers, and Catherine Parker, daughter of the 13th Baron Morley. Katherine married Sir Charles Sedley (1639-1701). Sedley was an English wit, dramatist and politician, but also a notorious rake and libertine, one of the “Merry Gang” of courtiers at the Court of King Charles II of Stuart. He inherited his families baronetcy after his elder brother’s death. The pair had a daughter, Catherine (1657-1717), later Countess of Dorchester and mistress of King James II & VII (1633-1701).

Charles Sedley
Katherine Savage became mentally ill, developing the delusion that she was a Queen, and demanding to be addressed as “Your Majesty”. As her illness progressed, she was send to live with an order of English Benedictine nuns at Ghent. Sedley assured his wife’s acceptance by the nuns by agreeing to give the convent £400 a year to help them clear their debts. As a nun Katherine was tricked by a priest, acting on her husband’s orders, to give up her wonderful jewellery. The discovery of the loss of her jewels, emblems of her imagined royal status, distressed Katherine even more. She died in 1670.

Sedley tried to obtain a divorce in vain. With Ann Ayscough he had 2 illegitimate sons, William and Charles Sedley. Upon Sedley’s death on August 20, 1701, the Sedley baronetcy became extinct.

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