Davies, Catherine (DNB00)

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DAVIES, CATHERINE (1773–1841?), authoress of ‘Eleven Years' Residence in the Family of Murat, King of Naples,’ was born at Beaumaris, Anglesea, in 1773, being one of a family of thirty-three children. After residing at Liverpool, and subsequently in London (where lived her sister, who was ‘married to an eminent artist’), Miss Davies went to France in 1802 as governess in a private family. A few months later she took a similar situation under Madame Murat, the third sister of Bonaparte. Miss Davies retained her post when Napoleon declared Murat and his wife king and queen of Naples. The Countess of Picherno, absurdly described by Miss Davies as a niece of Byron, was at this time second governess. Miss Davies describes the inner life of Murat and his family during their struggles, and her book contains many facts not to be found elsewhere. Miss Davies settled at Beaumaris in 1818; two years later she was summoned to London as a witness in the impending trial of Queen Caroline, but was not called. For some years her health was failing, and in 1841 How & Parsons issued by subscription the ‘Eleven Years' Residence’ (in 12mo, 2s. 6d.) for her sole benefit. The preface is dated London, May 1841, and it is very probable that she died soon after.

[Eleven Years' Residence, &c.; Monthly Review, November 1841, pp. 349–54; Literary Gazette, No. 1290, 8 Oct. 1841, pp. 651–3.]

W. R.