Henrietta Hyde, Countess of Rochester

Henrietta Boyle, Countess of Rochester, ca. 1665, by Sir Peter Lely

Henrietta Hyde, Countess of Rochester (née Boyle; 1646 12 April 1687) was an English noblewoman. She was one of the Windsor Beauties painted by Sir Peter Lely.

She was born in Wiltshire, England to Sir Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Cork and Elizabeth Boyle, Countess of Cork. In 1665 she married Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester, son of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon and Frances Aylesbury. Henrietta had four children.

Like most of the Boyle dynasty, who in the space of two generations had become almost all-powerful in the south of Ireland, Henrietta was strong-minded and acquisitive, and could be ruthless in asserting her rights. During the last two years of her life, when her husband was Chief Minister to his brother-in-law King James II, Henrietta took full advantage of his power to claim every possible privilege. She clashed bitterly with her husband's niece, the future Queen Anne over who should have the best apartments in Whitehall Palace. Anne, who could herself be a formidable opponent, complained bitterly of her aunt's "peevishness" to her.


Anne and the younger Henrietta were both noted for their wit and charm. Anne's early death, following a miscarriage, was a great blow to her parents, her husband and all her friends. Her sister Lady Dalkeith, despite many personal tragedies, is said to have retained her good nature and charm into her fifties.


  1. "Lady Henrietta Boyle" thepeerage.com Accessed June 6, 2008


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