A Look Behind Closed Castle Doors
Sex With Kings
by Eleanor Herman
If Eleanor Herman is to be believed, Kate Middleton falls into a very small and exclusive subset of women who have had Sex with Kings: she is marrying the future monarch. Her future stepmother-in-law, the former Camilla Parker-Bowles, is another who not only bedded but is wedded to an heir to the throne.
The notorious Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Warfield Simpson, got the gold ring, but lost the chance to be queen, forcing Edward VIII to, famously, abdicate in favor of his brother since he couldn’t be king without the woman he loved beside him. “While Wallis’s fascination with the king was understandable, no one could comprehend his violelnt passion for a woman whose face resembled the metal part of a garden shovel and her body the wooden handle. . . . Some speculated that Wallis had conquered Edward with bizarre Asian sexual techiques she had learned in China after having separated from her first husband. . . Others claimed the two were brought together by an avid aversion to sex — that Edward was hopelessly impotent and Wallis icily frigid.”
Royal mistresses like Camilla Parker-Bowles and Wallis Simpson are but two of the women who Herman brings to life in this sassy, sexy social history that offers a guided tour of the palace boudoirs of history’s best-known kings. From Louis XV’s famous mistresses Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry to Lola Montez, who so infatuated Ludwig I of Bavaria that he lost his throne, Sex with Kings leaves no sheets unturned. Herman delights in entertaining anecdotes like this exchange between two of England’s King Charles II’s mistresses: “One day soon after her ennoblement, Louise ran into Nell and condescendingly admired her fine dress. ‘Nelly,’ she cooed, ‘you are grown rich, I believe, by your dress; why, woman, you are fine enough to be a queen.’ To which Nell replied tartly, ‘You are entirely right, Madam. And I am whore enough to be a duchess.'”
Being the mistress of a king was no easy job. Dedicated to entertaining her monarch — in and out of bed — a royal mistress was rarely popular with anyone other than her lover. If court intrigue and plots didn’t get her, she would inevitably fall victim to the unstoppable ravages of time. Happy endings — like the fairy tale royal wedding of Britain’s young Prince William and his bride — were virtually unheard of.
While Sex with Kings is a delightfully gossipy good read, one finishes the book with the impression that sex with kings, in reality, is probably not all that it is cracked up to be.
Sex with Kings is available at amazon.com.