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Mistresses: Sex and Scandal at the Court of Charles II

$17.99

$17.99

According to the great diarist, John Evelyn, Charles II was ‘addicted to women’, and throughout his long reign a great many succumbed to his charms. Clever, urbane and handsome, Charles presided over a hedonistic court, in which licence and licentiousness prevailed.

Mistresses is the story of the women who shared Charles’s bed, each of whom wielded influence on both the politics and cultural life of the country. From the young king-in-exile’s first mistress and mother to his first child, Lucy Walter, to the promiscuous and ill-tempered courtier, Barbara Villiers. From Frances Teresa Stuart, ‘the prettiest girl in the world’ to history’s most famous orange-seller, ‘pretty, witty’ Nell Gwynn and to her fellow-actress, Moll Davis, who bore the last of the king’s fifteen illegitimate children. From Louise de Kéroualle, the French aristocrat – and spy for Louis XIV – to the sexually ambiguous Hortense Mancini. Here, too, is the forlorn and humiliated Queen Catherine, the Portuguese princess who was Charles’s childless queen.

Drawing on a wide variety of original sources, including material in private archives, Linda Porter paints a vivid picture of these women and of Restoration England, an era that was both glamorous and sordid.

Book Information

  • ISBN: 9781760980979
  • Format: eBook
  • Pub Date: 14/04/2020
  • Category: Biography & True Stories / Biography: royalty
    Humanities / British & Irish history
    Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
  • Imprint: Picador
  • Price: $17.99

According to the great diarist, John Evelyn, Charles II was ‘addicted to women’, and throughout his long reign a great many succumbed to his charms. Clever, urbane and handsome, Charles presided over a hedonistic court, in which licence and licentiousness prevailed.

Mistresses is the story of the women who shared Charles’s bed, each of whom wielded influence on both the politics and cultural life of the country. From the young king-in-exile’s first mistress and mother to his first child, Lucy Walter, to the promiscuous and ill-tempered courtier, Barbara Villiers. From Frances Teresa Stuart, ‘the prettiest girl in the world’ to history’s most famous orange-seller, ‘pretty, witty’ Nell Gwynn and to her fellow-actress, Moll Davis, who bore the last of the king’s fifteen illegitimate children. From Louise de Kéroualle, the French aristocrat – and spy for Louis XIV – to the sexually ambiguous Hortense Mancini. Here, too, is the forlorn and humiliated Queen Catherine, the Portuguese princess who was Charles’s childless queen.

Drawing on a wide variety of original sources, including material in private archives, Linda Porter paints a vivid picture of these women and of Restoration England, an era that was both glamorous and sordid.

Author Information

Linda Porter has a doctorate in History from the University of York, where she studied early modern English and French history under the late Professor Gwyn Williams. She was the winner of the 2004 Biographers Club/Daily Mail Prize, which helped launch her on a new career as an author. She is the author of several works of historical biography including, Mary Tudor: The First Queen, Katherine the Queen, Crown of Thistles and Royal Renegades. She is a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine and History Today. She lives in Kent.