Eleanor "Nell" Gwyn (or Gwynn or Gwynne) (2 February 1650 – 14 November 1687) was one of the earliest English actresses to receive prominent recognition, and a long-time mistress of King Charles II of England.
Called "pretty, witty Nell" by Samuel Pepys, she has been called a living embodiment of the spirit of Restoration England and has come to be considered a folk heroine, with a story echoing the rags-to-royalty tale of Cinderella.
Elizabeth Howe, in The First English Actresses, says she was "the most famous Restoration actress of all time, possessed of an extraordinary comic talent."[1] By King Charles, Nell had two sons, Charles Beauclerk (1670-1726) and James Beauclerk (1671-1680). Charles was the first Earl of Burford, later Duke of St. Albans.
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