Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers and Passionate Politics

Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers and Passionate Politics is a 2006 book by Eleanor Herman on adulterous queens and princesses and their lovers starting from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Princess Diana of Wales.

Why might a queen consort turn her back on her husband and jump into the arms of another man? In a time where marriages were not for love but instead for political reasons, the bride often had no say in who her husband was. Years of inbreeding within the family, might have made the groom ugly, deformed or insane - maybe all three. Quite possibly, he was a homosexual and disinterested in the female gender.  

Being the lover of the queen reaped many benefits as well as dangers. Unlike a mistress who was rewarded for her "services" with jewels and wealth, a male lover was granted with wealth and power. However, all of this came at a heavy price. With the image of the queen often synonymous with the Virgin Mary, any sign of taint upon her image could be damaging to her reputation if not her life. 

Even the mere accusation of could forever tarnish her Majesty in the eyes of the public as we see through Napoleon's spreading lies about Queen Louise of Prussia and her relationship with Tsar Alexander I of Russia. However it is not the woman who are accused of adultery but those actually commit the act that we are here to discuss.

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Raymond Poitiers

Anne Boleyn  and men

Marguerite Louise of Orleans and Charles of Lorraine

Diana Spencer and men

I give this book a 2/5 for content and 3/5 for writing. Eleanor Herman's writing is very amusing and enjoyed quite a few laughs while reading the book (I'm still chuckling over the "enlightening" conversation between Phillipe, Duke of Orleans, Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate and their son) however, I must admit that I found her language a bit too graphic for my taste - which leads me to my next point. I was rather upset at the choice of women featured in this book especially in the cases of Alexandra Feodorovna, Queen Victoria and Marie Antoinette. Although Herman does take care to say that Alexandra's relationship with Rasputin was an emotional one, in a book titled "Sex with the Queen" there is much room for misinformation. Same for QV. And on the subject of Marie Antoinette's relationship with Axel Fersen, I am of the opinion that their relationship was purely platonic - so excuse me, if I did not enjoy reading about how she and Fersen (how do I put this politely?) bumped uglies. Although some people might disagree with me, on a subject as divided as this (although the majority of people I know agree with me) it is not wise to be so bold and assertive - same with the paternity of Louis XVII (Louis Charles was said to bear a strong resemblance to his Uncle and Grandmother).  To be quite frank with you, I felt as if Herman was shoving these stories down our throats; basing it more on rumor than sound, hard evidence. Can be quite misleading to the average reader and downright insulting to the monarchist crowd. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about M-A and Fersen! Great post!