The Royal Mistress: Often the Most Powerful Person in a King’s Court

Diplomats who wanted to get to the King Louis XV in the mid-18th century had to go through Madame de Pompadour, who would meet with them while applying her makeup in public. Though Pompadour’s official title was as the French king’s mistress, she only slept with him for the first several years of their 20-year relationship. For the rest of it, she was the king’s closest political advisor and confidant.

Pompadour was the first woman to hold an official title of maîtresse-en-titre, or official mistress to the King of France (and since the monarchy fell with the next king, she was also one of the last). Yet her title reflected a role that mistresses had played in European kingdoms for centuries as senior political figures in the king’s court. While this role was less formal in England than it was in France, in both monarchies the person with the most influence over the king’s decisions was whoever had his ear. And what else is pillow talk?

“There’s not a real division between formal and informal political power in the early French court,” says Christine M. Adams, coauthor with Tracy Adams of the forthcoming book, The Creation of the Official French Royal Mistress. “If you were a friend”—or more than a friend—“that makes you politically influential. You can get favors for your friends. You can get land. You can get money.”

It was pretty common for kings to have a mistress in those days, in part because marriages were arranged for political gain and not personal companionship. “They would often be paired with someone who they may not have known very well or they may not have liked,” says Danièle Cybulskie, author of the forthcoming book Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fictions. Adultery was still frowned upon, and kings could be deposed if they appeared to act too immorally, but people mostly tolerated a king having one mistress at a time.

This didn’t mean the queen got to have a boyfriend, though. This was considered treasonous because it created uncertainty about whether any children she had were rightful heirs. Even the unmarried Queen Elizabeth I was more private about having gentlemen suitors than many kings were about their mistresses. Same-sex affairs were even more taboo, and rumors of them created problems for the English royals King Edward II and Queen Anne (as depicted in The Favourite).

READ MORE: The Real-Life Rivalry That Inspired 'The Favourite'

Most members of a king’s court would’ve known who his mistress was, and likely been jealous and suspicious of her influence. Yet members of the court could also advance their own interests by winning a mistress’s favor. In the 17th century, Barbara Palmer helped men like Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington, gain political access to her companion Charles II, King of England. She also helped secure official titles for some of her illegitimate children with the king.

Depending on the country and time period, regular people outside of the court might know who the king’s mistress was, too. Kathleen A. Wellman, author of Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France, says it was common for the king to travel around France in the 15th and 16th centuries and present himself to the people in public ceremonies with his mistress instead of his wife.

There were different reasons why the king might do this. “The queen might be pregnant, or the mistress might be more attractive or it might be easier to suggest certain things about the king by using the mistress,” Wellman says. What kind of things? Well, “kings liked to present themselves…as allegories, suggesting that they are like other famous people, whether those people are saints or Greek and Roman gods.”

As an example, she points to Henry II, who was the King of France in the mid-16th century. Henry II’s mistress was named Diane de Poitiers, and he often presented her in a way that suggested she was the Roman goddess Diana and he was a god beside her. If this sounds a little too abstract, just think about how Jackie Kennedy framed JFK’s presidency in a Life magazine profile after his death: “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.”

In fact, Wellman says presidential first ladies offer an apt analogy for the role that royal mistresses played. “Think about the influence that first ladies have in shaping perceptions of presidencies,” she says. “And think about all the people who had to go through Nancy Reagan to get to Ronald Reagan.”

Just as a first lady might take some of the political blame for aspects of her husband’s presidency, so too might a mistress receive blame for the king’s decisions. This was especially true of Madame de Pompadour, the first woman to hold the title of the king’s mistress (after she died, Louis XV gave the title to Madame du Barry). Her visibly elevated role opened her up to even more criticism than mistresses before her, says Adams. In fact, if Marie-Antoinette’s husband Louis XVI had had a mistress, she might have shielded Marie-Antoinette from some of the attacks she received, particularly the accusations of supposed immorality, which were normally reserved for mistresses.

“For too long, because historians have tended to look at formal political structures...they’ve ignored the political role of mistresses,” Adams says. “[The mistress] is completely dependent on the king for her power, and that means that she’s going to look out for his interests alone. And that’s one of the reasons that she is so powerful.”

READ MORE: How Marie Antoinette's Legacy Was Sullied By Vicious Songs About Her Death

English and British royal mistress

In the English court, a royal mistress is a woman who is the lover of a member of the royal family, specifically the king. She may be taken either before or after his accession to the throne. Although it generally is only used of females, by extrapolation, the relation can cover any lover of the monarch whether male or female. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have many male favorites although it is not known whether it was sexual or not.

Monarchs have had an incentive to take mistresses in that they generally made dynastic marriages of convenience, and there was often little love in them. [1]

Beyond the physical relationship, the royal mistress has often exercised a profound influence over the King, extending even to affairs of State. Her relationship with the Queen could be tense, although some wives appear to have felt little jealousy in the matter. [2]

The most influential Royal Mistresses throughout history

Far from just keeping a king company in the bedchamber, royal mistresses - especially those who were from high-ranking families - had an important role to play at court, often waging influence in their own interests (and those of their relatives)

While King Edward VII was known for his many mistresses - making no secret of his illegitimate children - it was Alice Keppel who was considered his favourite, even attending him on his deathbed. A renowned society hostess, she met Edward in 1898 when she was 29 and he was 56. Despite the age difference, they soon became a couple, with Alice’s husband conveniently being elsewhere when he would come to visit. She was even liked by Edward’s wife, Queen Alexandra, who preferred her discreet nature in comparison to some of his previous mistresses. Through her influence, she was able to get a better paid job for her husband, as well as a position as Groom in Waiting for her brother, Archie. As one of the King’s most trusted confidantes, she was perfectly placed to put forward the views of his ministers, who often came to her with their causes. Simultaneously, her skill as a hostess enabled her to put forward the King’s views to influential society figures, too. Thrillingly, history has somewhat repeated itself: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is Alice’s great-granddaughter, and of course was in a relationship with Prince Charles while he was married to Diana, Princess of Wales.

King Charles II was famous for his womanising, having more mistresses than any other monarch during his reign. While the most famous was the actress Nell Gwynn, the most powerful was undoubtedly the strikingly beautiful Barbara Villiers, later the Countess of Castlemaine. Along with her husband, Roger Palmer, she was among the families who went to Holland to show support for Charles II, where she became his mistress. The Palmers were granted the title of Earl and Countess of Castlemaine by the King, in order to ensure that any of Barbara’s children by the King also had a title and inheritance (she would go on to have five officially recognised by him). Her influence over Charles was so great, that she was able to secure positions on the Privy Council for her friends and family, and even interfered politically in a peace between England and the Dutch Republic, and was known as the ‘Uncrowned Queen’.

Perhaps one of the most famous royal mistresses, Madame de Pompadour was groomed for the role, after her mother was told by a fortune teller that she would ‘reign over the heart of a king’. As a young married woman, she attended intellectual salons in Paris, mixing with key figures of the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire. Living close to the royal hunt, she sought to make herself known to King Louis XV by driving in front of him there wearing bright blue and pink. It worked: he sent her venison, and invited her to a masked ball at Versailles, where he declared his interest in her. She quickly rose to become the King’s chief mistress, even keeping the Queen on her side, and was so important she was asked by an Austrian diplomat to intervene in a treaty between France and Austria. Even when her sexual relationship with the king ceased, she continued to be a ‘friend of the King’, as one of his most trusted advisors and among the few who could keep the eternally bored monarch entertained. She was also influential in the arts, popularising the Rococo style, and was key to making Paris the cultural capital of the world.

A French noblewoman who helped elevate the fortunes of her family through her relationship with King Henry II, Diane de Poitiers was known for being more than a match for her male contemporaries, being athletically fit as a keen swimmer and horsewoman, and also fiercely intelligent, thanks to studying Latin, Greek, etiquette, rhetoric and arithmetic. Indeed, it was her knowledge of the law and finances that first drew the attention of King Francis I, who was impressed by her handling of the death of her husband, successfully challenging the convention that she should return his lands. Because of this, she was allowed to manage the lands without a male guardian, and made a great success of it. As the lady in waiting to Queen Claude of France, she became known by the future King Henry II when he was a boy, and they reportedly began their relationship when he was just 15 and she was 35. By the time he ascended to the throne, her power was immeasurable, and he awarded her the titles of Duchess of Valentinois and Duchesse d'Étampes, as well as a castle, Château de Chenonceau. Such was her influence, a visiting Pope not only brought a gift for the Queen, but for Diane, too. She was so successful at becoming rich, she managed to finance the construction of multiple castles herself, working with famed architect of the Renaissance period, Philibert de l'Orme.

Widely remembered by history to have been very plain looking, albeit quick-witted and intelligent, staunch royalist Arabella Churchill nonetheless managed to win the heart of King James II, becoming his mistress in 1665. She bore him four children, managing to secure noble titles for her two sons, who became 1st Duke of Berwick and 1st Duke of Albemarle, with the Earls Spencer and Diana, Princess of Wales all descended from her FitzJames children.

When King George I ascended to the British throne in 1698, he openly brought his mistress with him from Germany, Mesuline von der Schulenberg, as he had been separated from his wife, Sophia, for four years at that point. The daughter of a Baron, she had been a Maid of Honour to George’s mother, Electress Sophia of Hanover. Once in England, she bore him three children, and was largely considered to be George’s wife, with rumours that they had even married in secret. She was granted multiple titles, including Duchess of Kendal and Munster, and was able to make a considerable fortune through selling public offices and titles. She also acted for the king on occasion, and was awarded £10,000 from him for securing the return of the exiled Viscount Bolingbroke, who he pardoned.

Maria Fitzherbert was twice married and twice widowed when she entered London high society, when she attracted the affections of the Prince of Wales, who was six years her junior. It has been said that he was infatuated with her, and pursued her endlessly until she agreed to marry him, but because his father had not agreed to the marriage, it was considered invalid. The relationship between the couple only ended due to financial concerns: the Prince was in debt of £60,000, and it was agreed that if he severed ties with Maria, the sum would be paid. Yet on his deathbed, it was Maria he thought of, cherishing a letter she had sent him hoping he would get well soon.

Glamorous and beautiful, Virginia de Castiglione was from minor Italian nobility, but ascended to become the most notorious of French Emperor Napoleon III's mistresses. She met the last French monarch when she was dispatched to plead the case for the unification of Italy to him by her cousin, who was a minister of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia. She soon became his mistress, provoking a scandal that lead to her husband divorcing her, while she became a regular in society circles, mixing with European royalty including Augusta of Saxe-Weimar, Otto von Bismarck and Adolphe Thiers. A flamboyant character, she was known for her fashion sense, as well as championing early photography, spending her entire fortune on a project to document her life. Her influence continued even after her relationship with Napoleon was over, as the unification of Italy was announced four years after their parting.

How a Royal Mistress Became France's Most Powerful Politician

Behind every great man is a great woman. And sometimes, that woman is a mistress. While the adage might not apply to every extramarital affair, for King Henri IV of France, having a mistress just might have been the smartest political move of his reign. While it's no secret that historical heads-of-state often kept a honey (or two or three) on the side, these women shouldn't all be brushed off as bimbos. In 16th- and 17th-century Europe, mistresses were more of a royal fashion statement—a way to reflect the king's good taste. They were intelligent. They were talented. And, in the case of Henri IV's mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrees, powerful enough to lift a nation from the throes of civil war and change the course of European politics.

The Scarlet Ambassador

Gabrielle d'Estrees was just 18 years old in 1591, the year she became Henri IV's official mistress. Not incidentally, it was the same year things were heating up in the ongoing conflict between France's Catholic and Protestant citizens.
Meanwhile, a similar battle was raging within the king's marriage. Despite being an avowed Protestant, Henri had married Catholic-bred Marguerite De Valois on August 18, 1572, in an attempt to create an example of religious harmony for his people. But the plan failed (in rather spectacular fashion) when his bride's family had most of the king's Protestant wedding guests killed. The event touched off the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre (which would eventually leave 70,000 people dead throughout France) and probably strained the relationship between Henri and his queen.
Enter Gabrielle. Although she, too, was a Catholic, she was considerably better versed in diplomacy than was Marguerite. For instance, d'Estrees knew Vatican and Spanish forces were massing on French borders. But she also knew that Henri could avoid defeat by converting to Catholicism. Using a heavy dose of pragmatism and persuasion, she convinced the king to make the concession—if only for the peace of his beloved country.
Henri later confessed, "Paris was well worth a Mass." However, he never would have reached this realization were it not for d'Estrees' behind-the-scenes politicking with the Pope and the heads of noble Catholic families. In fact, Henri acknowledged d'Estrees' ambassadorial abilities in 1596 by giving her a seat on his Council of National Policy. In her new role, she helped craft the groundbreaking 1598 Edict of Nantes, which declared France a Catholic nation, but also granted Protestants unprecedented civil rights. The document saved France from civil war and foreign domination, and it made the country a model of tolerance for the rest of the Western world.

Regarding Henri

Mistress or not, Gabrielle d'Estrees is one of the most influential Frenchwomen in history. Sadly, she's also one of the most tragic. With Queen Marguerite separated physically and emotionally from King Henri, Gabrielle essentially filled the role of queen in the court. And in the early months of 1599, Henri began to move toward making Gabrielle's place official by legitimizing the three children she bore him, giving her his coronation ring, and applying to have his marriage annulled. But, shortly before the ceremony that would have crowned her Queen of France, the five-months-pregnant Gabrielle went into premature labor and died at the age of 26. Two years later, the king married someone else, and Gabrielle all but slipped from historical memory.Eleanor Herman is the author of Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry and Revenge (HarperCollins, 2004).

Charles II Was a Compulsive Womanizer

Charles’s experiences with women started quite early in life when at 15 when he was seduced by his former wet nurse, Christabella Wyndham, the wife of the royalist governor of Bridgewater.

It was supposedly a one-night stand, but it was a start to a long list of mistresses from France to England. A year later he seduced Margaret de Carteret, the daughter of a local aristocrat in France who bore him a child. He was Charles’s first bastard.

Later, during his extensive travels in Holland, Germany, and Spain, Charles had numerous affairs with women with unconfirmed reports even going up to 17-18 mistresses at that point in time.

Charles obliged every woman happily as the tales of his fornication, drunkenness, and adultery were blatantly advertised by his enemies. By the time he returned to England as King, he had at least 3 confirmed royal bastards, all through the daughters of exiled supporters of Charles I.

Nell Gwyn was an actress who became yet another favorite of Charles II and was promoted to the title of "royal mistress"

Sex With A King Demanded An Accomplished Mistress

“Every woman was born with the ambition to become the King’s favorite,” wrote Primi Visconti, an Italian fortune-teller who lived at Louis XIV’s French court in the mid 17th century. And in this world of glittering ambition and mercurial passions, it seemed he was right. While princesses were bred to be proper and abiding, the mistresses of kings were edified on an entirely different level. Pandering to powerful men who were accustomed to having their egos and nether regions stroked regularly, the chosen lover or maîtresse-en-titre of the king had her work cut out for her. If prostitution was, in fact, the oldest profession in history, maintaining the position as the chief mistress of a monarch must surely have been the second.

Because the king could merrily lift the skirts of basically any woman (or man) in court, the female who captured his attention had to possess more than just beauty—she needed charm, wit, intelligence, grace, and the ability to foresee what her petulant lover might want next. While kings were often out amusing themselves with other women, mistresses were expected to wait quietly in their apartments, embroidering or planning a gala dinner to entertain their roving lover. Unlike the queen whose position was cast in stone, the mistress’s world was made of flimsier stuff—there would be no peace, no rest, if she hoped to maintain her status, wealth, and influence. And given the magnificence of her position, there was very little she wouldn’t do to hold on to the shiny prize of the king’s attention.

Madame de Pompadour

When it came to the title of maîtresse-en-titre, there was no one more distinguished than Madame de Pompadour, the chief mistress of Louis XV of France from 1745-1751. She was the perfect example of a woman who suffered steadily through the various unpleasantries of her role—pandering to her impulsive lover in every way and tailoring her very existence to ensure his pleasure. In private, she often claimed to be used “too well” by the king who had a voracious sexual appetite and wanted to roll in the satin sheets several times a day. But while she loved the attention of the court and king, Madame de Pompadour was mostly frigid, often teetering between sickness and health. Her position was demanding physically, emotionally, and mentally, and she was often exhausted by Louis’ expectations.

King Louis XV of France

Hoping to stimulate her own libido so as to keep up with the energetic king, Madame de Pompadour began to eat a steady diet of celery, truffles, and vanilla that only succeeded in making her sick. Her desire to “heat the blood” through less conventional means was common in those days, as many women would do almost anything to remain pleasing in the eyes of their powerful lovers. Unlike many other mistresses who were cast aside once the initial promise of sex and romance faded, Madame de Pompadour was able to transition her relationship with Louis XV into one of friendship and deep confidences.

Louis XV’s 18th-century French court at Versailles was unlike any other in history, teeming with exquisite luxuries and scandalous affairs. Everyone’s attention was centered on the king, and every woman at court had a mind to snare his recognition in any way they could. Madame de Pompadour kept Louis happy during their time together by providing him with an escape from the prying eyes of the court and a place to enjoy his favorite things. She decorated her lavish apartments with delightful fabrics, intoxicating flowers, and the best wine money could buy. She became a student of his moods and could read his every facial expression, including the cadence of his words. And most importantly, she knew when he was hiding anger or frustration behind his mask of royal calmness and precisely how to cajole or soothe him accordingly. In short, she molded herself into his perfect mate, even at the expense of her own joy and comfort.

Her knowledge extended beyond mere bedroom talk—she appreciated architecture, understood botany and the gardens of Versailles, and she even dabbled in the art of gem cutting. Madame de Pompadour knew the value in keeping the king engaged at all time, as boredom was the devil’s playground. Her full-time job was to be fabulous at all cost, and she did it well. She never left her apartments for fear that he would appear and need food, conversation, or sex. She could not show fatigue, illness, anger, or boredom. When her young 10-year-old daughter and her father both died within the same week, she did not allow herself to show pain or mourning in case it might upset the king. Those who observed her said she “was in all likelihood just as unhappy inside as she seemed happy on the outside.”

Despite its glamor and luxury, the French courtesans were surprisingly neglectful of personal grooming, often going for weeks without bathing. Many women of the court suffered from smallpox scars and would cover their ruined complexions and crusty filth with an abundance of velvet, lace, and a strong perfume. Their ornate outfits would often become wildly itchy and uncomfortable, forcing the women to insert head scratchers into their coiffures and bodices to ease the irritation of flea bites and greasy scalps.

One mistress, in particular, Madame du Barry, who followed Madame de Pompadour after her death as Louis VX’s main squeeze, was noted for her particular attention to personal hygiene—something the majority of the king’s women had always overlooked. As was noted by the court, she took a rose-scented bath once a day and would deck herself in outrageously expensive dresses made of a fine white material to accentuate her scrubbed neck and even line her décollage with real diamonds to highlight the beauty of her glowing white breast.

/>Madame du Barry

In the year 1542, Diane de Poitiers who was the chief mistress of Henri II of France was often concerned with how to keep herself “fit for a king” both physically and intellectually. The competition for ultimate allure in the French court was paralyzing, and any woman who hoped to enrapture the king had to have a secret beauty regime.

Madame Diane de Poitiers

Every morning, Diane would take a bracing three-hour horseback ride to keep her blood and vigor up, all the while wearing a black velvet mask to protect her milky white complexion. She drank a daily mixture containing gold and bathed in donkey’s milk and cold water to keep her skin soft and supple. Terrified of wrinkles, she slept sitting up on silk pillows, never letting her face touch the sheets. And it worked—the king spent every night with her, uninterested in visiting his wife Catherine de Medici’s bed chamber. Catherine was so mystified by the heated passion the couple shared, she drilled two holes in the floor above Diana’s bedroom to observe exactly how they made love. Watching them roll off the bed and exhausting their passion on the floor, she was astonished at the king’s gentleness and told her lady in waiting she had “never been used so well.”

Lola Montez

The raven-haired Lola Montez was famous for her liaisons with King Ludwig of Bavaria in the mid 19th century and the way she was able to use that relationship to institute liberal reforms before the Revolution of 1848 in the German states. She was an Irish dancer and actress who did not find the king (who was 34 years her senior) the least bit attractive however, his wealth and influence were extremely alluring to the working class Montez. King Ludwig fetishized her dancer’s feet and loved to suck on her toes while pleasuring himself, often writing her letters regarding his desire to lick her feet after she had taken a long trip.

King Ludwig of Bavaria

While most women would have been repulsed by this strange desire, she was grateful for his preoccupation with her feet given her lack of attraction towards him physically. She was able to keep him satisfied without much physical exertion, a welcome fact especially since he had an unfortunate knob growing in the middle of his forehead. Whenever he did feel the need for more, she would often excuse herself on the grounds of being sick or menstruating. But he didn’t seem to mind so terribly much—he was known to have odd tastes—sometimes asking her to wear a piece of flannel against her nether regions so that he could later take it along with him when they were separated.

Maria Walewska

Powerful men never let a little thing like marriage or even politics get in the way of their affairs and often took mistresses who already had husbands. In the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, his lover of three years, Maria Walewska, finally assented to his advances because her husband who was a whopping 58 years older than her demanded it. She was a patriotic young woman from Poland who gave into Napoleon’s charms when she realized the powerful monarch would likely liberate them from foreign occupation and re-create Poland as a free and sovereign nation. Quite literally, she did it for her country.


After some time, they fell deeply in love and she left her ambitious older husband who only used her as a pawn in his political game. However, once the fickle Napoleon tired of Maria, he married an 18-year-old Austrian princess and relented on any promise to restore Poland, insisting it would remain in the shadows for the remainder of history.

Madame de Montespan

One royal mistress, who went to the greatest lengths to capture the attention of Louis XIV, was the ravishing and cunning Madame de Montespan. She became determined to have him. The French king, most unfortunately, already had a mistress who made him happy and seemed generally uninterested in her advances. In 1667, hoping to break up the relationship, Madame de Montespan sought the help of a local witch who lived in a dark and crumbling house on the outskirts of Paris.

For a steep fee, she would read palms, speak to the dead, offer lotions for beauty, perform abortions, or cast spells to incapacitate or kill an enemy. Living at the French court, Madame de Montespan would use every opportunity to dine with the king, slipping love potions into his wine and slathering vile concoctions of dead baby’s blood, bones, and intestines on his meat in an effort to woo him. And it worked. He finally fell deeply in love with her and dumped his then-pregnant mistress, Louise de La Vallière.

Because French food was very rich and mistresses often found little exercise outside the bedroom, Madame de Montespan in Louis XIV’s court would have herself rubbed down with pomade for two hours at a time, several days a week, as she lay naked. She would also disappear from court to a health spa where she starved herself before returning to stun the king with her svelte new figure.

The royal mistress, as opposed to the wife, could be dismissed at any time with no financial settlement whatsoever. Although she lived in the lap of luxury while in bed with the king, this was subject to change in accordance with his favor. A mistress’s powerful friends at court supported her as long as she retained power, expecting favors in return. At any moment, she could be sent flying from the zenith of magnificence to the depths of poverty and disgrace in the blink of an eye. A smart mistress began to collect for her retirement as soon as she was in the king’s embrace, ensuring a lavish lifestyle would cushion her inevitable fall. A coveted title—countess, marquise, dutchess—was also a desired part of the bargain.

Lady Castlemaine

In the French court, this was always the expectation and result however, English policies regarding a mistress’s wealth were not so generous. In the case of Charles II, his word was law but his gifts to his royal mistress Lady Castlemaine were often blocked by court officials. According to them, taxpayer’s money did not belong in the lining of a mistress’s lingerie. Lady Castlemaine was not dissuaded by this belief, however, and convinced Charles II to not only give her every Christmas gift he received from courtiers but helped herself to the king’s Jewel House in the Tower of London.

A mistress, while certainly elevated above the status of a common whore, was still often subject to the scrutiny and criticism of those less chaste. Whereas most women conducted their illicit affairs in private, the royal mistress often wore hers as a badge of honor, giving her distinction among the masses. Her reputation was literally based on the knowledge that she was engaged in sex with someone—not her husband. And while it was treasonous to speak out against the king, the same could not be said for his mistress du jour. As a result, the royal mistresses were made of an uncommonly strong material, able to withstand the burning scrutiny of the jealous and the spiteful tongues of the moral. They would do anything—anything—just to remain a few moments longer in heat of the royal spotlight.

Maria-Anne Walewska

Powerful men never let a little thing like marriage or even politics get in the way of their affairs, and they often took mistresses who already had husbands.

In the case of Napolean Bonaparte, his lover of three years, Maria Walewska, finally assented to his advances because her husband who was a whopping 58 years older than her actually demanded it. She was a patriotic young woman from Poland who gave into Napolean’s charms when she realized the powerful monarch would likely liberate them from foreign occupation and re-create Poland as a free and sovereign nation.

Quite literally, she did it for her country.

After some time, they fell deeply in love and she left her ambitious older husband who had only used her as a pawn in his political games.

Alas, once the mercurial Napolean got tired of Maria, he married an 18-year-old Austrian princess and relented on any promise to restore Poland, insisting it would remain in the shadows for the remainder of history.

Reviewing Diane Haeger’s The Perfect Royal Mistress

Diane Haeger, a famed historical novelist, achieved a masterful historical picture in The Perfect Royal Mistress, recounting a scandalous love affair that thrived endearingly between King Charles II and his mistress, actress Nell Gwynne, during the English Restoration period. Despite the voluminous amount of details she has incorporated in the story, Diane manages to paint real historical figures in her characters with an accurate sense of time and culture, dominant at that time. This novel is among the very best Diane Haeger has ever written, more so because of its storyline’s believability, plot and characterization.

In a nutshell, Diane Haeger’s The Perfect Royal Mistress relishes on a true-life heroin, raised in the seedy, pathetic public houses of a London already destroyed by fire and plague. Neil, the main character, exploits her extremely capricious wit and charm to gradually catapult herself from desperation as a hawker outside King’s Theater to leading roles on stage. It is this alluring combination of wit, charm and skill, and also her availability and or vulnerability that attracts King Charles II, the insatiable womanizer.

Diane Haeger The Perfect Royal Mistress

The story of The Perfect Royal Mistress begins with a recounting of the tale of Nell Gwynne, who was born in abject poverty and then raised in a London brothel. She ends up selling oranges outside the King’s Theater, London, to make ends meet. The theatre had just been reopened following double tragedies of the Great Fire and the plague, both of which had totally devastated the world’s glorious city. These were hard times and it was rare to find a gay person, laughing and joking casually.

This actually acted as the selling line for Nell, having a canny sense of humor and a natural charm. She was easily noticed and liked by thespians and patrons, some of whom were nobles and men of wealth. The unique thing about her is that she is too street-smart to become a prostitute like most women of her time, in her state, did. She instead perfected her talent, her addictive charm, her wary intelligence and her sheer determination to survive, to learn and entertain prospects. Within no time, she understood how the world operated in the high echelons of the society.

This eventually helped her to cross over from the theater’s pit and over to the very stage of the King’s Theatre. Even before she became the singular most beloved leading actress of comedy, she had crossed over the barrier of class and her determination was still as fierce. Diane Haeger paints Nell as a skilled thespian, with a rare complimenting beauty. She therefore won the unanimous attention of the entire London populace, from the rugged to the top of the tier. And when she caught King Charles II’s eye, a true attraction was engineered. The notoriously lascivious King Charles, a sire of dozens of illegitimate children made the move, just as it would have been expected.

The scrappy, merry girl, with an amusing friendly but very pretty face had digressed from her class even further. Her quick wit was however to meet the greatest challenge when she was finally plunged into the confusing and perceptibly dangerous world of a mistress in a king’s court. Yet again, the mistress and soon to become The Perfect Royal Mistress, rose aptly to the challenge and quickly learnt who she could trust and the many to be wary of. Coteries of noble competitors to the king sought the hand of the beautiful Nell in marriage but she opted for a share in the single most powerful man in England at the time. Thus became the tale of a mistress, an icon of achievement, Nell Gwynne, as crafted from history by Diane Haeger.

Perfect Royal Mistress

Capturing the heroin from the gritty streets of a gradually restoring London of the 17 th century London, Diane takes the reader into the backstage of glamorous theaters and then to the glittering and awe inspiring court of King Charles II, as The Perfect Royal Mistress lives a legendary love story. At the heart of the novel is a story edible to and for all ages, following the transformation process of a truly remarkable mistress, a heroine who makes any rags-to-riches account pale in comparison.

Published by Three Rivers Press in English, Diane Haeger’s The Perfect Royal Mistress spans an exciting and deeply thrilling 405 pages of English Restoration Romance. This 2007 book is a must read for those in love with love stories and especially historical romance. It also doubles up as a motivational book, chronicling a rare breed of a female achiever.

Royal mistress.

Royal Mistress Book 2, Love Aboard The HMS China Sea by Joan Russell, 10, words, Adult + In the First Royal Mistress Book: First Meeting, Hester of Cornwall falls in love with Prince Leopold Duke of Albany fourth son of Queen Victoria and, with the help of his best friend Henry Viscount of Bolingbrook, becomes his mistress. A new print of THE ROYAL MISTRESS. Those who were struggling to get The Royal Mistress 1, now you can halla at us, we will sort you out. Those who want the trilogy, R special is still applicable DM, email [email protected] or WhatsApp to place an order.

In Haeger's impressive Restoration romance, King Charles II and his mistress, the fruit seller turned actress, Nell Gwynne, leap off the page. Following his exile and his father's murder, t. Buy Royal Mistress: A Novel at All Departments Auto & Tire Baby Beauty Books Cell Phones Clothing Electronics Food. Gifts & Registry Health Home Home Improvement Household Essentials Jewelry Movies Music Office. Party & Occasions Patio & Garden Pets Pharmacy Photo Center Sports & Outdoors Toys Video Games Brand: Anne Easter Smith.

Their attraction is as real as it is unlikely, and the scrappy orange girl with the pretty face and the quick wit soon finds herself plunged into the confusing and dangerous world of the court, where she learns there are few she can trust—and many whom she cannot turn her back the gritty streets of seventeenth-century London, to the. Royal Mistress (Book): Easter Smith, Anne: "Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane's father finally finds her a match, she's married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore. Marriage doesn't stop Jane from flirtation, however, and when the king's chamberlain, Will Hastings, comes to her husband's shop.

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Royal mistress by Rose Meadows Download PDF EPUB FB2

Royal Mistress is an absorbing tale about Jane Lambert, the daughter of a mercer who becomes the mistress of King Edward IV and other noblemen in the fifteenth century. Born with the gift of beauty, Jane easily turns heads and attracts the attention of every man she encounters/5.

Aug 05, · Royal Mistress: A Novel Paperback – May 7, by Anne Easter Smith (Author)/5(76). Aug 05, · Royal Mistress: A Novel Kindle Edition by Anne Easter Smith (Author)/5(78). Books shelved as royal-mistresses: The King's Mistress by Emma Campion, The French Mistress by Susan Holloway Scott, Royal Harlot by Susan Holloway Scott.

The Royal Mistress R A fiction novel about a young Venda prince destined to marry his pre-ordained princess but his heart was yenning for a young waitress whom he met in. The Royal Mistress ” Torn between the princess and the mistress” A fiction novel about a young Venda prince destined to marry his pre-ordained princess but his heart was yenning for a young waitress whom he met in the gentleman’s rest Royal mistress.

book. His heart was captured but his decree required to be fulfilled. This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for five hundred years, and, as told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well.

The Royal Mistress by Takalani M R 00 A romance novel about a young Venda prince destined to marry his pre-ordained princess but his heart was yearning for a young waitress whom he met in the gentleman's rest room.

His heart was captured but his decree Royal mistress. book to be fulfilled.5/5(5). Adelaide, The Royal Mistress is a season two of The Royal Mistress series by Takalani M.

He is dead, yet I am still angry at him. He should have done things differently than putting me in this awkward position. Who gives people ultimatum to fall in love when they are not fated for that kind of life. Whi should i fulfill his wished?5/5(2).

The Royal Mistress A fiction novel about a young Venda prince destined to marry his pre-ordained princess but his heart was yenning for a young waitress whom he met in the gentleman’s rest room. His heart was captured but his decree required to be fulfilled. May 07, · This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for five hundred years, and, as told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well/5.

Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith - From the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family.

Feb 27, · The Perfect Royal Mistress tells the story of young Nell Gwynn, a fascinating historical character who has been explored by a number of different writers. Nell's rags to riches story is one of the most unique stories in history, as well as one of the most was making her living by selling oranges to theatre patrons at the popular King's theatre/5.

Feb 22, · Publisher Description Royal Mistress First Meeting by Joan Russell, 10, words, Adult + Hester, daughter of the Duke of Cornwall was to be presented at the Court of Her Royal Highness Queen Victoria.

As she entered the throne room her eye fell on the most engaging man she had ever seen, Prince Leopold, the Queen’s forth son.5/5(1). A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or an heir apparent.

Some mistresses have had considerable power such mistresses have sometimes been referred to as the "power behind the throne". The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space.

May 06, · The Royal Mistress: Often the Most Powerful Person in a King’s Court. coauthor with Tracy Adams of the forthcoming book, The Creation of the Official French Royal Mistress.

“If Author: Becky Little. May 01, · Buy a cheap copy of Royal Mistress book by Anne Easter Smith. Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried.

When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s Free shipping over $ Royal Mistress, Paperback by Smith, Anne Easter, ISBNISBNBrand New, Free shipping in the US As the mistress of King Edward IV, Jane Lambert finally brings the king true happiness, but when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, her life hangs in the balance.4/5(1).

Feb 27, · About The Perfect Royal Mistress. Born into poverty and raised in a brothel, Nell Gwynne sells oranges in the pit at London’s King’s Theater, newly reopened after the plague and the Great Fire devastated the city. Soon, her quick sense of humor and natural charm get her noticed by those who have the means to make her life easier.

Ohhhh where can i start with a soul that has blessed us in a different way. Now we are a reading nat ion and we growing. Thank you to you ma lady Takalani M. I always look forward to your next insert and bona if a day pass by without any food for thought, may day is not complete.5/5().

“The Greek’s Royal Mistress proves again that Jane Porter is superb at writing the intense romance. The Greek’s Royal Mistress throbs with emotional and sexual intensity that’s almost unbearable at times.

This is a real page turner, not just because of the stalker element, but because the reader wants to know how Ms. Porter pulls it off.Royal Mistress (Book): Easter Smith, Anne: From the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family in the Wars of the Roses, telling the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the final and favorite mistress of Edward IV.

Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried.Janet Kennedy, a Scottish woman at court in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, was the partner of at least four men, which was completely typical at the time.

This book talks about Janet Kennedy and aims to describe how women really spent their lives in medieval Scotland from a .

History [ edit | edit source ]

The historically best known and most-researched mistresses are the royal mistresses of European monarchs, for example, Agnès Sorel, Diane de Poitiers, Barbara Villiers, Nell Gwyn and Madame de Pompadour. The keeping of a mistress in Europe was not confined to royalty and nobility but permeated down through the social ranks, essentially to any man who could afford to do so. Any man who could afford a mistress could have one (or more), regardless of social position. A wealthy merchant or a young noble might have a kept woman. Being a mistress was typically an occupation for a younger woman who, if she were fortunate, might go on to marry her lover or another man of rank.

The primary reason a king would take a mistress seems to be the fact that royal marriages were rarely, if ever, based on love alone. Most often, English monarchs made a dynastic match, first for the production of heirs of royal blood and second for the treaties and huge dowry that often accompanied such brides. Compatibility was rarely considered in the contracting of these marriages.

Often, these brides were stringently instilled with a sense of chastity that often developed into sexual frigidity. To a king whose sexual appetites were often nurtured by friends and father-figures from an early age, this was a difficult barrier to surmount. This, added to the fact that often there was no physical attraction between the two royal partners, creates a situation which, to the sensibilities of the time, necessitated the establishment of a royal mistress.

Sex with Kings : 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge

Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them.

Curiously, the main function of a royal mistress was not to provide the king with sex but with companionship. Forced to marry repulsive foreign princesses, kings sought solace with women of their own choice. And what women they were! From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for nineteen years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped none other than the glamorous Diana, Princess of Wales.

The successful royal mistress made herself irreplaceable. She was ready to converse gaily with him when she was tired, make love until all hours when she was ill, and cater to his every whim. Wearing a mask of beaming delight over any and all discomforts, she was never to be exhausted, complaining, or grief-stricken.

True, financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions -- some royal mistresses earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses to exercise unlimited political power. But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. Hundreds of beautiful women vied to unseat the royal mistress. Many would suffer the slings and arrows of negative public opinion, some met with tragic ends and were pensioned off to make room for younger women. But the royal mistress often had the last laugh, as she lived well and richly off the fruits of her "sins."

From the dawn of time, power has been a mighty aphrodisiac. With diaries, personal letters, and diplomatic dispatches, Eleanor Herman's trailblazing research reveals the dynamics of sex and power, rivalry and revenge, at the most brilliant courts of Europe. Wickedly witty and endlessly entertaining, Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten -- until now.

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