Harlots Wiki

Emily Lacey is a character in Harlots played by Holli Dempsey. While decidedly unpopular among her fellow harlots, she is skilled enough to be called The Duchess of Quim.


Emily is a popular, successful, but brittle girl whose ambition knows no bounds. She is the top earner of Margaret’s house and has thrived there but sees it as a stepping stone to greater things. She thinks she is better than the other girls. 

Little is known about Emily Lacey's past, although she claims to have come from "the gutter" - likely an indication that Emily came from an impoverished background. She is also possibly illiterate and uneducated, and has been a prostitute for long enough to be quite skilled at it (as she will attest).

Season One[]

Emily Lacey is the top earner in Margaret Wells' brothel; she is a master of her trade and very successful, with ambition to spare. Unfortunately, her nasty attitude makes her many enemies; she is arrogant, troublesome and vain, but Margaret puts up with her seeing as she's her "best girl." Despite this, she frequently complains about being under paid for the amount of work that Margaret gives her. Her attitude finally gets the best of her one day and, after being told to "cluck off" by Kitty Carter, she goes her own way, ending up at Lydia Quigley's house. Lydia agrees to take her in after learning she has run away from Margaret, but laments over the amount of work it will take to be at the standard Lydia expects. Emily quickly realizes she made a mistake after being rushed upstairs and locked into a room - she discovers that Lydia's girls are barred from leaving. Emily is soon visited by Lydia's son, Charles Quigley, who is tasked with trying "the goods" of all the new girls. Emily protests, and threatens to tell everyone that she is a prisoner, but Charles pays no attention to her. When her threats don't work, Emily instead decides that Charles could be her way out of the house, and sleeps with him.

Emily uses Charles' feelings against him and is able to escape after drugging him so much he nearly dies. For her actions, Lydia seeks to have her revenge and has her kidnapped and delivered to a gang of murderers-turned-rapists as "The Spartans."

Season Two[]

Emily and Charles have since started a brothel together. After failing to take over Lydia's business while she was in jail for running a whorehouse - they believed she would not be released - the pair go into business together. Emily enjoys being the boss but is unable to get her only girl (Harriet Lennox, who was thrown out by Margaret) to pay her a larger portion of the profit. Frustrated, she sends Charles out to find other girls for the house, while joking that she should return to work. Charles absolutely refuses to allow that, but Emily is uninterested in his opinion, and brings back a man. Charles returns with Cherry Dorrington only to find Emily having sex with another man. He flips her a few coins (and a piece of cheese), before heading out. For her disobedience, Charles decides to sleep with Cherry.

Season Three[]

In the year following Margaret's murder, Emily has become the best girl of Hal Pincher.

Known Culls[]


Emily has a marked distrust in other women. Lucy Wells describes her as, "nasty, disagreeable, without one good quality" - a description that Emily earns in kind. Her treatment of others can be vicious and abusive. When offered comfort by other women, Emily appears unable to accept. One can only imagine what disappoints life has inflicted on her, to create such reactions.

When asked whether or not she has children, she cryptically replies, "None living." Unlike Margaret, Emily has decided that her life's journey will be trekked without children.


Her rave review on Harris' List reads, "This radiant, young votary of Venus possesses between her lithesome legs a gateway to the temple of bliss."

Emily's voice actress for the Portuguese airing of the show is Patricia Velazquez Bezerra; the series is shown on FOX Life.