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Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery,…
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Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge (original 2004; edição 2005)

por Eleanor Herman (Autor)

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1,3504310,655 (3.63)34
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.… (mais)
Membro:Colleen85
Título:Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
Autores:Eleanor Herman (Autor)
Informação:William Morrow Paperbacks (2005), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Sex With Kings por Eleanor Herman (2004)

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I enjoyed reading this book on a subject not often discussed. It is interesting to read it from the modern viewpoint and look back on a time with an entirely different set of expectations for leaders of nations.

A monarch's queen was nothing more than a royal broodmare; her only purpose in the King's court was to produce royal heirs. His mistress fulfilled all other roles in their relationship, and it is a much harder job to keep a man entertained, sexually fulfilled and emotionally secure than to be a procreational device. You just have to give those mistresses a lot of credit for doing what they did.

The style of the book was just fine for me.....if I had wanted to read in-depth biographies of all these women, I certainly could have, but this book was more for comparison and analysis of royal mistresses throughout history, and succeeds as such.

It also says a lot about women who were ambitious enough to seize power through the limited means available to them throughout much of history, especially in places like France where Salic Law prevented any female descendant of a monarch from ruling in her own right. Not saying that these women were wise or benevolent (Madame de Maintenon influencing Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes is a sad and bloody example of religious intolerance), but it is illuminating in historical circumstances.

I must admit I did have my favorites.....Nell Gwynn was a trip! I adored Madame de Pompadour for her overwhelming interests in architecture and the applied arts. I like Camilla Parker-Bowles as well, I think she has been unreasonably demonized for her affair with Prince Charles by all the "Princess Di groupies". I was never a fan of Princess Diana; she just never understood the role in life that she agreed to......my god, romance is for the unwashed masses (and usually most of us find it to be very disappointing) she should have appreciated her opportunities for what they were instead of thinking she could have it all. Her story is a cautionary tale......if you are a princess, act like a princess or die like white trash.......what an obvious choice, unfortunately for her she didn't get that memo in time.

Overall, a good book with lots of interesting information. ( )
  Equestrienne | Jan 5, 2021 |
I just wrapped up reading this book for the History Readers book club I belong to. Sex with Kings has a lot of information and trivia tidbits on some of the most important historical royal mistresses, up to (and including) Camilla Parker-Bowles. This is a very entertaining read. ( )
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
It seemed there was a very narrow scope of kings and their mistresses highlighted, with particular attention paid to the French kings. It was an interesting read, but seems like so much more could have been covered with 500 years of material to choose from. ( )
  birthsister | Jan 27, 2020 |
After holding this book for many times, deliberating whether I would read it or not, I finally started reading it today.

Unfortunately this book could not charm me, despite the subject ;-)
I found that in the period this book has lived in my bookcase I've gradually lost interest in this, so after a chapter or two I decided to stop reading.
  BoekenTrol71 | Dec 22, 2019 |
The silly title and even sillier author photo nearly obscure the rather interesting bit of women’s history inside. It was not a surprise to learn that most (if not all) kings married for political alliances rather than looks or love. Neither was it a surprise to learn that most of them had mistresses. But it was interesting to find out just how much power some of these mistresses possessed. Many of them continued to serve as advisors and companions long after the sexual relationship with the king had waned. Their influence could be formidable. More than anything, this book helped clear up some of the questions I’ve always had about court life and what it means to ‘go to court’ or be a courtier. In those days, that is how things got done. One had to woo power and influence by doing favors for and befriending the powerful. Much like today, I suppose. ( )
  Seafox | Jul 24, 2019 |
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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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