The sitter has traditionally been identified as Nell Gwynn (d. 1687), a popular actress who caught the attention of King Charles II and became his mistress, rivalling Elizabeth de Kerouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, in that role. She had two sons by the King, Charles (b. 1670), whom King Charles II created Duke of St Albans, in 1683, and James (b. 1671). The King retained his affection for her up until his death.