kingshearte's Reviews > Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics

Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman
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Mar 26, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, non-fiction
Read from March 20 to April 09, 2012

This book felt like it was missing something. I'm not sure why, really. Maybe it's because, despite the assertion that we're dealing with "beloved" and "infamous" queens, the unfortunate fact is that very few women really made a lasting impact in the historical record, which means we know them less well than we know their respective kings — if we've heard of them at all —, so it's not quite as much fun to read about their private lives. Or maybe it's more that, unlike kings, who could conduct their relationships with their mistresses quite publicly, the queens had to keep it all very hush-hush most of the time. And the result of that is that there's less information about those relationships, which makes for less compelling stories. In any case, it was at least nice to read that kings weren't the only ones who got to have some love in their lives despite unwanted political marriages.

It is kind of too bad, though, that we don't know more about some of these women. George I's wife, for example, Sophia Dorothea, could have had at least some impact on British history, I think. Because while importing a German king still wouldn't have been a particularly popular move among many, if he'd brought along his charming, pretty wife, she might have been able to win over more people. Perhaps not enough to quell the Jacobite uprising, but still. Could have been interesting if things had turned out differently.

Not sure what else to say, really. It's a different perspective on history than the usual, and as such it was enjoyable, but ultimately somewhat forgettable. Although some of the stories were tragic enough that they might make good books all on their own — Sophia Dorothea, for one, as well as Caroline Matilda, queen to Christian VII of Denmark, and Marie Antoinette.
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