Monday, 24 November 2014

The Mistresses of Charles II

King Charles II - 'The Merry Monarch' so known not just for his stylish dress, his laid back manner, his love of spaniels, and his many mistresses but also for his restoration of Christmas produced no legitimate heir, though he did sire 8 children.

Catherine de Braganza - Charles II's Portuguese wife of 23 years.

She had been raised in a Convent and secluded from the outside world had none of the social skills that might have distracted the King from his many mistresses. She was also barren.

Charles brazenness about his many affairs ensured her humiliation was constant.

Barbara Villiers - Charles II's long-time mistress described as a tall, dark haired, voluptuous beauty by some and as the Curse of the Nation by others.

In 1673, after 25 years he cast her aside telling her to "go away, live quietly, and cause no scandal."

She did.

She bore him 5 children.

Nell Gwynne, the street-hawker turned actress born in Coal Yard Alley, Covent Garden is the most famous of the King's mistresses.

High-spirited and fun loving she was was so unlike the polished ladies of the Court he was used to and he adored her for it.

Once when heckled and jeered by a crowd of onlookers who mistook her for Louise de Keroualle, who she would refer to as 'Squintabella', she stood upon a carriage and shouted:

"Pray good people be civil, I am the Protestant Whore."

On his deathbed Charles pleaded - please do not let my Nelly starve. But she was to die just two years later, aged 37.

She bore him 2 children.

Louise de Keroualle - the French spy in the English King's bed.

Known as 'Baby Face' she was clever, cunning, and strong-willed but hid it all behind a silly, girlish charm which appealed to Charles.

Widely loathed for flaunting her wealth, her Catholicism, and even the debts from her addiction to gambling which she boasted would be paid from the King's purse she was forced to flee the country on his death leaving her estates and pensions behind.

She bore him no children.

Hortense Mancini, a familiar figure at the Court of Louis XIV in Versailles she fell on hard times when she was abandoned by her husband. 

In a state of some distress she was still nonetheless a beautiful woman and an experienced courtesan and it was suggested she leave the French Court and seduce the English King - she did so with little difficulty and soon replaced her rivals in the King's affections .

The relationship only ended when she was caught in bed with the King's daughter but they remained friends and s

She bore him no children.

Moll Davis, actress, dancer, and mistress of Charles II.

She was considered vulgar in almost every way - in her dress, in her manners, and in her speech. But the King enjoyed her company even if the relationship did not last long.

She bore him 1 child, and was well rewarded for her time.

No comments:

Post a Comment