27th February 2017
Frances Evelyn Daisy Maynard had all the characteristics of a fine Victorian aristocrat: charming, beautiful, intelligent, and rich. She had a remarkable presence about her; the room would light up as she glided in. Her charisma and desire for intellectual conversation was explosively addictive, and she would deliberately seek people that made her truly open her mind.
‘It was impossible to think in limited terms when one came under his influence….invisible barriers yielded to his touch and one found oneself on a larger plane’.
Her biggest downfall would be how she ran with her emotions, letting them control her actions far too impulsively.
Frances Evelyn Daisy Maynard in her teen years became extremely wealthy. Her father had married her mother at a very young age (he was believed to be close to middle aged while her mother was still a teen). Upon his death, her father had given Daisy a huge inheritance, which now meant that every eligible bachelor in the country was seeking her company. Her mother, Blanchie, would show her off, take her to the finest parties, and believed she could become the perfect princess. She attempted to arrange a courtship with Prince Leopold, son of Queen Victoria, but Daisy would always have her way, and she fell in love with the ‘perfect gentleman’, Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick, denying the Prince and marrying an Earl who stayed touchingly loyal to her until his death.
We always have a romanticized view of the Victorian aristocracy. On first glance their perfect marriages and old fashioned courtship leads you to believe they have eyes only for each other till death parts them. But behind closed doors their lives were very different, fairly modern in fact. Daisy had become close to a group of friends labelled as the Marlborough House Set. Her mother had heard stories and disliked Daisy’s entertaining of them. Future King Edward VII was a key figure. Now Daisy’s charm bewitched most men in her presence and although her husband’s loyalty would lead you to believe they only had eyes for each other, unfortunately that was not the case.
For nine long years Daisy, ‘darling Daisy’, would take Edward, Prince of Wales as a lover until she would replace him with a man called Charles Beresford, whose wife discovered of their adultery and threatened to oust them both. Fortunately for Daisy, she had kept a strong relationship with the Prince of Wales, and with royalty by her side, she used him to defend her dignity, carefully choosing her words so she wouldn’t reveal her affair. It worked. Daisy had a lucky escape, for the next lover the Prince of Wales could not defend, for he would be someone she would love for rest of her life.
‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind’.
Captain Joe Laycock, with whom she would have two children (Maynard and Mercy), and an abortion, which gave her blood poisoning and nearly killed her. So out of her five children, the eldest was the only child that was her husband’s. Laycock would use Daisy, toy with her and play on her mind for a cruel amount of years ‘for he has no moral courage’. They had a truly electrifying relationship that fogged her mind of all reason. At every turn he bewitched her, again and again, so she could never really see him for what he was.
Lying upon a bench in a house that they once shared ‘so much joy’, a friend asked her of her feelings for Laycock, but they were all but gone.
‘For if it would do him a service to walk straight into the sea and drown myself, I would’.
So although she would have numerous affairs in her lifetime, and many could insult her legacy, one cannot help but notice that with each affair she was extremely emotionally connected to them; lovingly devoted to each and every one, so you cannot help but fall in love when she does, and feel her pain when it all goes wrong.