By William Mills
On Friday 12 August the 14th Duke of St Albans unveiled a blue plaque in Brighton’s Regency Square in the presence of the deputy mayor and invited guests.
The plaque commemorates the life of regency era socialite and adventurer Harriot Mellon who lived to the age of fifty between the years 1777 and 1837.
Starting out life as part of a troupe of travelling actors she married Thomas Coutts of the banking family which is now renowned as the present day Queen’s bankers.
She was left a fortune and married for a second time, the 9th Duke of St Albans who was 23 years her younger.
Sir Walter Scott wrote to her to congratulate her on this second marriage. Her reply to Scott is quoted in full in his journal for June 30 1827.
“What a strange eventful life has mine been, from a poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me, dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in the world – first the wife of the best, the most perfect being that ever breathed …and now the wife of a Duke! You must write my life… my true history written by the author of Waverley”
Chairman of the Brighton & Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel Roger Amerena acted as host to the distinguished visitors, having met them at the station and taken them to his lovely home, Montpellier Hall.