Who’s ya daddy? Manchester lecturer solves 350-year-old Pepys diary mystery

A 350-year-old mystery surrounding an illegitimate baby girl mentioned in the diary of Samuel Pepys has been solved by a lecturer at Manchester University… who’s found out he’s a relative!  

Pepys wrote in his famous diary of the girl born in 1662 whose paternal parentage has been unknown until now.

Now, after months of family research, lecturer Peter Tyldesley has discovered the girl was actually one of his own relatives.

Pepys’ famous and lengthy diary gives us a dramatic peep into the sordid social details of 17th Century London.

And on June 22 1662 he wrote: “This day I am told of a Portugall [sic] lady, at Hampton Court, that hath dropped a child already since the Queen’s coming, but the king would not have them searched whose it is; and so it is not commonly known yet.”

The mystery of the baby girl’s father has been ongoing since then her discovery was a scandal within the Royal Court at Hampton Court Palace.

The diary tells how a lady-in-waiting had just accompanied Catherine of Braganza to England for her marriage to Charles II.

According to Mr Tyldesley Catherine of Braganza was greatly angered by the illegitimate birth, particularly as Edward Tyldesley was already married.

He said: “Edward Tyldesley lost all favour at Court and was obliged to pay the mother the very substantial sum of £1,500 in compensation.

“My family has always known that Edward Tyldesley was one of the English embassy sent to Lisbon to arrange the marriage of Charles II.

“But it was a complete surprise to discover that Edward Tyldesley was Lisbona’s father—and a real bonus to be able to link these events with an entry in Pepys’ diary.”

Mr Tyldesley solved the 350-year-old mystery when he was conducting research at the National Archives, the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the Chapel Royal.

Image courtesy of Archive of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. Copyright reserved to Her Majesty The Queen, with thanks. 

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