"Princesses were raised to be devout, obedient, and faithful. When sent to meet their new husbands, they set off with every intention of retaining the"Princesses were raised to be devout, obedient, and faithful. When sent to meet their new husbands, they set off with every intention of retaining these vital qualities in their new lives. What happened over the years that made so many of them lose their religion, their obedience, and their fidelity?"
That is the first paragraph of Sex with the Queen, a book that travels through 900 years of adulterous relationships, and the heartbreaking stories of the queens other lovers. Starting with Eleanor of Aquitaine (Queen of France) all the way to Princess Diana we learn the woes of becoming a queen throughout the 900 years. Queens were expected to be obedient and were only useful (as sad as this is) for their ability to make heirs. Not all queens felt this way, and often took extreme measures to have secret lovers. It was quite unfair for a queen consort (a queen that is only married to the king, and has no ruling power), because she was not allowed to have affairs with other men yet the king could have as many mistresses as he desired. If the queens had a secret lover and the king found out, it could very well be the end of her life and the life of her lover.
I really enjoyed this book, though at times it was hard to keep track of all the people. You learn about many queens and their lovers, even ones that I had never heard of before. Some of my favorite stories included that of Catharine the Great, Sophia Dorothea of Celle, Marie Antoinette of France, and Caroline Matilda of Britain. These four girls seemed to have the longer stories in the book, but their stories were very exciting. Sophia was imprisoned for 32 years for having a lover, who was killed and buried under the castle floorboards so nobody could find him. Catharine the Great had so many lovers that it is unknown just how many she had, but through it all she ruled Russia with honor. She is quoted to have said " I cannot live one day without love." I was shocked to find out that Catharine and Princess Diana had so many lovers. It seemed like both of them had so many that even they couldn't keep track of them.
I had a problem with some of the stories being to short. The book is written in tiny stories like articles from a newspaper. It seemed like we would just learn about the princess and her lover and move on to another princess, when I wanted to learn more! I did learn a lot more about other cultures beside my fascination with England royalty. It has princesses from Germany, Russia, France, and Spain. I definitely have more respect for the other cultures, and might even venture out of England Royalty some day lol.
The book is not all about the queens extra lovers, however, a good portion of the book is dedicated to how it was to live a queens life. Many future queens were brought over from another country expected to rule a land where they didn't even know the language. Oh, and there is the matter of many queens husbands not being attracted to them, because they were in fact gay. Nevertheless, they were still forced to marry their gay husband and make babies. One story involved a young boy to scared to have sex with his wife so he used a turkey baster to try and impregnate her. After reading this book I think it's truly amazing how far we've come!
I think this is a great book for females even if you aren't into the history portions. If nothing else it's great to learn how woman had to overcome unfair persecution for doing the same thing a king did. My heart went out to all the stories that ended with them being beheaded, because of something they were forced to endure. This was an excellent read and is a follow-up book to Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge (P.S.)....more