Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 25.djvu/121
11 Feb. 1806. Her mother was the representative of John Campbell, first earl of Loudoun (1598-1663) [q. v.] Lady Flora's early years were spent at Loudoun Castle, her mother's ancestral seat in Ayrshire; and she was appointed lady of the bedchamber to the Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria, and held the post until her death, residing with the duchess at Buckingham Palace. On 10 Jan. 1839 she consulted Sir James Clark [q. v.] for an indisposition. Shortly afterwards a rumour arose that Lady Flora's illness was attributable to an alleged private marriage. Two of the ladies of the bedchamber communicated their suspicions to the queen. Lord Melbourne, then premier, was at first unwilling to credit the report, and decided, after a consultat on with Sir James Clark, to take no steps in the matter. It was at last agreed, however, that Sir James should mention the report to Lady Flora. The charge was at once indignantly denied, to the satisfaction of the Duchess of Kent. Application, however, was again made to Lord Melbourne, and he reluctantly consented that a medical examination of Lady Mora should be made. This examination took place on 17 Feb., and resulted in a medical certificate, signed by Sir James Clark and Sir Charles Clarke, who had been the family physician since Lady Flora's birth, explicitly contradicting the slander.
The relatives of Lady Flora demanded, without success, some public reparation. Her disease was so aggravated by the mental suffering that she died at Buckingham Palace on 5 July 1839. She was buried in the family vault at Loudoun Castle. A postmortem examination confirmed the medical report. Charles Greville wrote on 2 March 1839 (Memoirs. 2nd ser. i. 172): 'It is inconceivable how Melbourne can have permitted this disgraceful and mischievous scandal, which cannot fail to lower the character of the Court in the eyes of the world.'
A graceful volume of verse-translations and original poems by Lady Flora was published in 1841 by her sister Sophia, afterwards Marchioness of Bute.[Annual Register, 1839; Examiner, 24 March 1839; Lee's Queen Victoria, 1902; Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire, 1885.]
HASTINGS, FRANCIS, second Earl of Huntingdon (1514?–1561), was eldest son of George Hastings, first earl [q. v.], by his wife Anne, daughter of Henry Stafford, duke of Buckingham, and widow of Sir Walter Herbert. On 3 Nov. 1529 he was summoned to parliament as a baron of the realm under the title of Lord Hastings, his father having been created Earl of Huntingdon the same day. On 3 Oct. 1530 he was appointed steward of the monastery of Laund, of St. Mary's Abbey, Coventry, and (with Sir Richard Sacheverell) of St. Mary's Church, Leicester. In 1538 he presented Henry VIII with a curiously worked glass. He was made a knight of the Bath on 29 May 1533; succeeded his father as second Earl of Huntingdon, 24 March 1544–5, and carried St. Edward's staff at Edward VI's coronation, 20 Feb. 1546–7, taking a prominent part in the jousts which followed the ceremony.
Huntingdon quickly threw in his lot with the Earl of Warwick (afterwards Duke of Northumberland) against the protector, Somerset. In 1549 he was busily engaged in repressing disturbances in Rutland and Leicestershire (cf. his letter to Shrewsbury in Lodge, Illustrations, i. 134); conducted Somerset to the Tower, 13 Oct. 1549; and was installed K.G. 13 Oct. Appointed lieutenant-general and chief captain of the army and fleet for service abroad on 26 Dec. 1549, Huntingdon conducted English reinforcements to France, where the struggle for the possession of Boulogne was in progress. A letter from him, dated 14 Nov., appealing for men to the mayor of Leicester, is extant in the corporation's archives (cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. No. 8, 4256). He bitterly complained of the ill equipment of his troops and want of money, and his energetic personal efforts failed to retain Boulogne. When the Duke of Northumberland obtained full power in 1550, Huntingdon was made a privy councillor, 4 Sept. 1550, and was permitted to maintain an escort of fifty retainers. He took part in the reception accorded to the regent of Scotland on her visit to London in November 1551, and was present at Somerset's trial in December. He accompanied Edward VI on his progress in May 1552, and in the following June, while he was attending Northumberland on his way to the north, Northumberland recommended the king to bestow on Huntingdon the vast estates in Leicestershire forfeited by John Beaumont [q. v.], master of the rolls. Huntingdon acquired the property, but released to Beaumont's widow the manor of Grace Dieu in 1553. As if to strengthen the alliance between Northumberland and himself, he married his heir, Henry, to Northumberland's daughter Katherine, 21 May 1553, on the same day as Lady Jane Grey married Lord Guildford Dudley.Before Edward VI's death Huntingdon signed the engagement of the council to maintain Lady Jane Grey's succession to the crown. On the king's death he joined