Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
Sex with Kings 500 Years of Adultery Power Rivalry and Revenge Author:Eleanor Herman Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshipped, 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, an... more »d 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.« less
A salacious title but not a naughty read....if you know your world history you will appreciate this book more, but if you don't it is still a good book. A king's mistress led a perilous life. One day she had great power and authority and some mistresses were even the power behind the throne. Just as quickly, she could be sent from court with literally nothing. Genny
Sure, there's a lot of names, but you don't have to remember all of them. The stories are what make this book a great read. It's a book you can sit down and pick up again without having to worry about where you left off. I found it to be fun and interesting although my son was embarrassed when I took a book in public with the word "sex" in the title.
Lynne S. reviewed Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge on
Helpful Score: 1
Fascinated by the topic, I was eager to read this book. Unfortunately, I would like to rewrite it! I appreciate that it is well researched, but the set up of the book was confusing and it was difficult to keep any of the mistresses straight. I think it would have been better to work in a chronological order so at least one could follow things historically. It is still worth reading, but better if you know your history.
This book focuses on a handful of mistresses and speaks about each one of them throughout their lives. Rather than tell you a lady's entire story from start to finish, the author introduces you to all of the ladies in the first chapter, talks about their looks in another, how they had children in yet another, their rivalries, their husbands and their deaths all in separate chapters. Each woman story is told by topic, so if you can't keep stories, straight, well, flip back some pages!
It's really sad what men and women will do for a chest full of coins. This book tells their stories.
I bought this at Barnes & Noble in Alexandria, VA on a business trip, and I'm nearly finished after reading off and on for about 10 days. It's frankly one of the better books I've read in awhile!