HER mother had been banished from Queen Victoria’s court for an alleged dalliance with Prince Albert but it did not stop Patsy Cornwallis-West becoming a lover of Edward, the Prince of Wales.

And her Newlands Manor home at Milford on Sea became a centre of the county’s social whirl ,with the Prince, who was to become Edward VII, among the regular visitors.

Indeed it was the Prince of Wales who gave the Cornwallis-West family the nickname the Wild West Show providing the inspiration for the title of a new book published by Christchurch-based Natula, written by Raymond C Curry.

The Wild West Show: A Story of the Cornwallis-West Family follows the fortunes of this fascinating aristocratic family through a period of immense social change that saw their prestige and fortunes rise and dramatically fall.

Raymond Curry begins his account with Admiral William Cornwallis, onetime Commander of the Channel Fleet, whose Naval skills had already won applause and who blockaded the French fleet at Brest, thus giving his close friend Lord Nelson the edge at the Battle of Trafalgar.

He retired to Newlands where he was joined by his close friend and fellow naval officer captain John Whitby with his wife Theresa.

The captain, sadly, passed away soon afterwards. And when the Admiral died, childless, in 1819 he left his money to the widowed Theresa and her daughter, who shared her mother’s name. A memorial to both Cornwallis and Captain Whitby, as well as other members of the family, can be found at Milford’s All Saints church.

The author tells of how the daughter was later to marry Frederick West (whose family home was Ruthin Castle, now a hotel) maintaining the home at Newlands Manor and carrying out philanthropic work around the Hampshire village.

When they had a son in 1835 the child bore the name of William Cornwallis West, later adding the hyphen to his name.

William, despite his mother’s protests, married the racy Mary Fitzpatrick, known as Patsy, daughter of Olivia (who had been banished from Victoria’s court) and an Irish vicar.

After Prince Albert’s death, Olivia returned to the court and, says Raymond Curry, enjoyed with her daughter the “gaiety” surrounding Edward, the future king.

“Patsy’s youthful prettiness had won over the married Prince of Wales and she, in turn, fell in love with him,” Raymond Curry writes.

Small wonder then that William Cornwallis-West’s mother was so dismayed when he, too, was captivated by Patsy’s charm, marrying her and later standing by her and their three children despite the many tribulations that beset the family.

Having previously been banned from visiting Newlands by William’s mother, after Theresa died Patsy grew to love the Milford on Sea manor which became the centre of the social circle of Hampshire, with the Prince of Wales among the regular visitors.

The actress Lillie Langtry, who was another of the Prince’s mistresses, was also numbered among Patsy’s close friends.

But Patsy’s exuberant life came crashing down when she was accused of being the lover of a young sergeant in her husband’s regiment. William, dutifully stood by her until his death in 1917 but Patsy had been discredited and, by the time she died in 1920, had even lost her beloved homes following the bankruptcy of her son, George.

Raymond Curry’s intriguing story also focuses on the lives of Patsy and William’s three children whose carefree way of life when young replicated that of Patsy. But all that was to change.

Their daughter, Shelagh, who married her childhood sweetheart, Bend ’Or the Duke of Westminster, divorced him in 1917 after his adultery.

Daisy, who married the hugely wealthy Silesian Prince of Pless, was the mother of three children (whose stories are also featured in the book) and moved abroad. She ended up living in poverty.

And son George, whose father was once rumoured to be the Prince of Wales, gambled and speculated, marrying, and later being divorced by, the widowed mother of Winston Churchill.

His “penchant for spending money” and subsequent downfall, as well as that of his sister Princess Daisy, reflected the huge social changes of those turbulent times.