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First published in 1990, Royal Mistresses provides an innovative way of looking at the development of British monarchy, and at the same time investigates the relationship between sex and power. Charles Carlton focuses not so much on the amorous activities of the mistresses of British monarchs as on their influences on those monarchs and on society at large. Ranging from the early medieval period to the late 1990s, he shows that a monarch’s illicit sexual life sheds light on his character and reign. It is no coincidence that Henry I, Charles II, and Edward VII, who were successful with their mistresses were also successful in their reigns, while the divorced John and the lovelorn Edward VIII failed Not surprisingly, the affairs of the sovereign’s heart have very often become the affairs of state. This book will be of interest to students of history and literature.
Table of Contents
List of plates Acknowledgements 1. ‘Be civil. I am the Protestant whore’ 2. ‘Nothing is more vile than to love a wife like a mistress’ 3. ‘Nothing but the English king’s appetite’ 4. ‘Neither God, nor angel, but a man like any other 5. ‘Never lay hands upon his sceptre’ 6. ‘The frogs in the fable’ 7. ‘The damnedest millstones’ 8. ‘The king’s loose box’ 9. ‘Things were done better in my day’ 10. Curtsy first, and then leap into bed’ Notes Index