9: William Coutts Keppel


At this point it seems appropriate to take a closer look at Hannah Musselwhite’s employer, William Coutts Keppel, the 7th Earl of Albemarle. The reasons for this will become obvious as we progress.

Going back in time the 1st Earl of Albemarle was Arnold Joost van Keppel (Arnold from Keppel). He was born about 1670 in what was then the Dutch Republic. He was the heir to an ancient noble family in Gelderland. Arnold achieved fame and wealth as the right-hand man of William III of Orange. He became page of honor to William III in his mid-teens, possibly as early as 1685. It was claimed that he was William's lover, but no conclusive evidence has been discovered. Keppel accompanied William to England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Public comment about a relationship between King William and Arnold Keppel intensified in 1692 when Keppel began to receive grants of land from the king,he became Groom of the Bedchamber and Master of the Robes in 1695. In 1696 he was created Viscount Bury in Lancashire and Baron Ashford of Ashford, Kent. On 10 February 1697, William made Van Keppel the Earl of Albemarle;in 1699, he was awarded the command of the First Life Guards.

In 1700, William gave Albemarle extensive lands in Ireland, but Parliament obliged the king to cancel this grant. William instead granted him £50,000, the same year he was created a Knight of the Garter. He served both with the English and Dutch troops, was major-general in 1697, and a colonel of several regiments.

There is no apparent link with the Sephardic Jews but you may recall many of the Sepheri settled in and around Hummelo and Keppel in Holland and Arnold would have surely known many of the Jewish community elders?

Moving back to the 7th Earl of Albemarle who Hannah worked for; he was the son of George Keppel who had married Susan Trotter, the daughter of Sir Coutts Trotter of Coutts bank fame. Hannah lived on the country estate of the Drummonds, a rival bank to Coutts and the families would be well known to each other.

George Keppel and his wife Susan had a son, William Coutts, who was born on the 15th April 1832. Educated at Eton he served in the Army before entering Parliament as a Liberal MP in 1857. He crossed the House and became a Conservative serving as Under-secretary of State for War between 1878 and 1880 under Lord Beaconsfield and then again between 1885 and 1886 uder Lord Palmerston.

He married Sophia Mary MacNab on the 15th November 1855 and they had ten children. Sophia had family origins in Canada and the pair were married at Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, Canada. They lived at 65 Princes Gate Kensington with their family and sixteen staff, one of whom was a kitchen made and domestic servant (in 1881) called Hannah Musselwhite.

They had a country estate at East Hyde, Luton, Bedfordshire

Sir William Keppel and Sir Massey Lopes certainly knew each other.

  • Both were Conservative Members of Parliament from 1857 until 1885
  • They served in Government together, Keppel in the War Office and Lopes at the Admiralty
  • They were close neighbours in Kensington
  • There may have been links based on religious organisations and business interests  

I have little doubt the two families visited each other socially and that provides a second connection between Sir Massey Lopes and Hannah Musselwhite as Hannah would surely have served at the table when Sir Massey came to dinner?

It may be coincidence but there is possibly further evidence of the closeness of the two families the table below. It shows that Sir Massey Lopes is the great, great grandfather of Harry Marcus Lopes who is now married to the daughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who in turn is the great, great grandchild of Sir William Keppel! May be we Orchards are related by marriage to the Royal family?


Sir Massey Lopes m Bertha Yarde Buller

Lord and Lady Bury

George Keppel m Alice Edmonstone

Henry Lopes m Alberta Edgcumbe

Sonia Keppel m Roland Cubitt

Massey Henry Edgcumbe Lopes m Helen Dawson

Rosalind Cubitt m Bruce Shand

George Edward Lopes m Sarah Violet Aster

Camilla Shand m Andrew Parker-Bowles

Harry Marcus Lopes m  Laura Parker-Bowles


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