Wednesday 7 December 2016

History: The King's Bed - Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh

Abacus , €12.99

Published 13/06/2016 | 20:55

The King's Bed - Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh.
The King's Bed - Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh.

When Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland ascended to the throne in 1660 he initiated a sexual upheaval at the height of English society. He cast aside the Puritans’ veneer of chastity and the Restoration era became characterised by licentiousness, wittily portrayed in the drama of the period.

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Governed by passion and a fear of boredom, Charles II spent most of his wealth and intellect on gaining and keeping the company of women. He admired not just their physical allure, but their society and gossip. From Nell Gwyn, to Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, to his last great paramour, the Breton noblewoman Louise de Kerouaille, and many in between, Charles’s mistresses held power over his life. De Kerouaille was a French agent who helped pave the way for England to become a puppet of the Sun King, Louis XIV.

According to the authors, Britain is on the threshold of having its first monarch descended from Charles II’s illegitimate line. While Charles III has yet to become King, his son William V is descended from Charles II through his mother via two illegitimate blood lines.

Filled with tales of his court favourites, confidantes and conniving advisors, of his mistresses, his ‘pimpmasters’ and his personal pox doctor, this book reveals so much about Charles II and, in particular, the sexual freedom enjoyed by women at his court. Following the authors’ masterful The King’s Revenge, and complete with portraits of his flamboyant mistresses,  this book illuminates  a  colourful chapter in history.

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