Burke, Honora (1674–1698), was the youngest daughter of William Burke (qv), 7th earl of Clanricarde, and his second wife, Helen, daughter of Donough MacCarthy (qv), 1st earl of Clancarty, and niece of Justin MacCarthy (qv), Lord Mountcashel. In his last will and testament the 7th earl laid out £2,000 as a marriage preferment to his daughter Honora, to be raised out of the lands and tenements in his possession. She married her first husband, Patrick Sarsfield (qv), 1st earl of Lucan, at the age of 15, possibly at the family seat of Portumna, Co. Galway. Little light can be shed on their courtship and it is unlikely that she would have seen much of her warrior husband during the early years of the Jacobite war. She was shipped to France on the outbreak of the first siege of Limerick. Her impeccable pedigree, her marriage to the hero of the Irish Jacobite army, and her great beauty gave her ready access to the courts of Saint-Germain and Versailles, and she showed the greatest enthusiasm for the numerous balls and masquerades. She loved Paris, where she was much admired for her beauty, and she introduced the French court to the most fashionable English dances: ‘Elle etait à la première fleur de son âge, belle touchant, fait à prendre un nymphe’ (Saint-Simon, quoted in Wauchope, Sarsfield, 296).
Aged 19, she was widowed in July 1693 with a three-month-old son (James Francis Edward Sarsfield, 2nd earl of Lucan; d. 1719) when her husband died from wounds received at the battle of Landen. According to Sarsfield's biographer Alice Curtayne (qv), Honora stayed in Huy for two years after her husband's death. It was here she met James Fitzjames (qv), 1st duke of Berwick, four years her senior, who was touched with compassion for her plight. They married (January 1695) in the chapel of Saint-Germain, the court of the exiled James II (qv). It is most likely that this was indeed a love match, as the young widow had little in the way of material wealth and a dowry would not have been forthcoming. Berwick's father James II was not pleased, having higher hopes for his natural son than a penniless Irish widow. Nevertheless it was a happy marriage and their son, James Fitzjames, later duke of Liria and 2nd duke of Berwick, was born on 21/31 October 1696. Honora died of consumption in January 1698 before her twenty-fourth birthday, to the great grief of her husband, who had her heart preserved in a silver box. She was buried at Pontoise, near Paris.
Berwick had his stepson James Francis Sarsfield trained in arms. In the early 1720s Honora's son by Berwick embarked on a voyage to Ireland to visit his maternal relations and to attempt to secure his mother's marriage jointure. Berwick encouraged him to go, but urged him to get permission from George I first, and to spend as little time in Engand as possible. Portraits of Honora and her second son, formerly in the collection of the earl of Harewood, are reproduced by Sir Charles Petrie (qv) in The duke of Berwick and his son (1951), facing p. 48.