opened 26 March 1674 (cf. Shakespeare Society's Papers, iv. 147 sq.) On the death of Sir Henry Herbert in 1673, Killigrew succeeded him as master of the revels. Herbert gave to Killigrew some manuscript directions concerning the duties of the office on 29 March 1664 (see Notes and Queries, 1st ser. i. 279).
Oldys spoke of Killigrew as the king's jester, and Pepys was told on 13 Feb. 1667–8 that ‘Tom Killigrew hath a fee out of the wardrobe for cap and bells under the title of the king's jester, and may revile or geere anybody, the greatest person without offence, by the privilege of his place.’ Pepys calls him ‘a merry droll, but a gentleman of great esteem with the king,’ and says that he ‘told us many merry stories’ (24 May 1660).
Killigrew is certainly best remembered as a wit, and he appears to have treated his royal master with remarkable freedom. He told Charles on one occasion that he was going ‘to hell to fetch back Oliver Cromwell, that he may take some care of the affairs of England, for his successor takes none at all.’ He is said to have won a wager of 100l. from the Duke of Lauderdale, who was deploring Charles's continued absence from the council-table, by persuading the king to repair thither immediately. According to Pepys, when Charles spoke of the Duke of York as Tom Otter, a henpecked husband in Ben Jonson's ‘Epicœne,’ Killigrew remarked to him, ‘Sir, pray which is the best for a man to be, a Tom Otter to his wife or to his mistress?’ a reference to the king's relations with Lady Castlemaine. Nor, it is said somewhat apocryphally, did he treat Louis XIV more ceremoniously. When Louis showed him at Paris a picture of the crucifixion hanging between portraits of himself and the pope, Killigrew is alleged to have remarked: ‘Though I have often heard that our Saviour was hanged between two thieves, yet I never knew who they were till now’ (Hals, Parochial History of Cornwall, under ‘Falmouth’). Grammont (Memoirs) speaks of Killigrew as a man of honour, and tells stories concerning him that at any other period, and in most other courts, would have deprived him of all claim to the title. He mentions, however, that Killigrew, while returning from the Duke of York's, received three passes with a sword through his chair, one of which went entirely through his arm, the cause of the attack being his intemperate language. This was not the only occasion on which he had to pay for the license he allowed himself. On 16 Feb. 1668–1669, Rochester, while in the company of the king, gave Killigrew a box on the ear. Instead of resenting this violence in his presence, Charles shortly afterwards took the earl's arm, and Killigrew was forced to stomach the affront.
Killigrew survived the union of the two companies—the king's and the duke's—in 1682, though his name does not appear to the agreement [for which see Betterton, Thomas, and Hart, Charles, d. 1683)]. He died at Whitehall on 19 March 1682–3, and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Fifty pounds was paid by the king towards his funeral charges (Akerman, Secret Service Money of Charles II and James II, Camd. Soc.) His wife survived him. Letters of administration were granted to her estate, 15 May 1716, when she was in her eighty-seventh year (see Howard, Monthly Miscellanea, i. 370). By her Killigrew had four sons and two daughters. She and three of her sons by Killigrew were naturalised by act of parliament, 3 June 1664 (Lords' Journals, xi. 420). Killigrew's eldest son Robert, brigadier-general, was killed at Almanza 14 April 1707, aged 47. His younger sons Charles and Thomas are separately noticed.
Portraits of Killigrew and Carew in the same picture are in the Vandyck Room at Windsor Castle. Faithorne has engraved many portraits. One represents Killigrew in the dress of a pilgrim, with the distich
You see my face, and if you'd know my mind,
'Tis this: I hate myself and all mankind.
His portrait with that of Lord Coleraine, appears in an engraving known as ‘The Princely Shepherds.’ It is supposed to have been done for a masque. Another portrait was purchased in 1892 for the National Portrait Gallery.
In 1664 was published the folio edition of Killigrew's ‘Works,’ with a portrait by Faithorne of the author with a dog. It is entitled ‘Comedies and Tragedies written by Thomas Killigrew, Page of Honour to King Charles the First, and Groom of the Bed Chamber to King Charles the Second,’ London, by Henry Herringman. The volume contains: (1) ‘The Princesse, or Love at First Sight,’ a tragi-comedy; (2) ‘The Parson's Wedding,’ a comedy, which has been reprinted in successive editions of Dodsley's ‘Old Plays;’ (3) ‘The Pilgrim,’ a tragedy; (4) the first part of ‘Cicilia and Clorinda, or Love in Arms,’ a tragi-comedy; (5) the second part of the same; (6) ‘Thomaso, or the Wanderer,’ a comedy; (7) the second part of ‘Thomaso;’ (8) ‘Claracilla,’ a tragi-comedy; (9) ‘The Prisoners,’ a tragi-comedy; (10) the first part of ‘Bellamira her Dream, or the Love of Shadows,’ a tragi-comedy; (11) the second part of ‘Bellamira.’ Each