The Royal Mistress, a vast and controversial topic that makes us either smile or shy away!
Were they exceptionally attractive?
Not always but they were undoubtedly more attractive than the average women of their time when hygiene was questionable, when teeth started to decay in teenage, when women’s life expectancy was so short, when they had reached their “shelf-life” by the age of 30, if they had had the extreme luck of surviving until such an “advanced age” despite the multiple births and epidemics.
Madame de Maintenon took exception to the rule and married Louis XIV in her middle age! Little Cupid must have been in a teasing mind the day he shot his arrow into the heart of the illustrious king as the severe Madame de Maintenon was not exactly the “cool type”.
Were they gold-diggers? Undoubtedly! In these times it was very easy to move up the social ladder by using one’s charms. The prince who married the servant girl always made the romantic crowds weep.
Isn’t it the topic of many fairy tales!? How many favours and new or higher titles of nobility were thus obtained in the quiet atmosphere of the royal alcoves?
Some died too young such as Gabrielle d’Estrées who lost her life in her mid 20’s while giving birth to the child of King Henry IV.
Others were replaced by younger models as soon as their first wrinkles appeared and their waist started to expand. They often had to share the “royal favours” with younder and lesser mistresses to retain “power” as Madame de Pompadour did.
Kings got bored very quickly in those early days.
But all these women share one characteristic: they have remained famous as today we can read all about them on “Wikipedia”!
But let’s not be petty. Many royal mistresses were not only attractive but also bright.
The queen exiled Diane to the château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, since known as Chateau of Diane de Poitiers, but Diane refused to live there and retired to the Château d’Anet(west of Paris) that the king had also bought for her. Before leaving Chaumont-sur-Loire she had the time of undertaking an extensive series of alteration and restoration work and added her initials and her emblem all over the place. Almost a way of stating “Diane was here”!
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