Author: Theo Aronson
Here, for the first time, is an all-embracing account of the loves of that celebrated royal womaniser, Edward VII, as Prince of Wales and King. It is also a study of the three women with whom the King was most deeply in love - his official' mistresses, Lillie Langtry, Daisy Warwick and Alice Keppel. In their different ways, all three were exceptional personalities. Lillie Langtry, the socially ambitious girl from the vicarage, became a famous actress. Daisy Warwick, an immensely wealthy heiress and social butterfly, was converted to socialism. Alice Keppel, probably the King's greatest love, developed into an astute and fascinating figure in her own right. Spanning three decades and packed with incident, scandal and high romance, the story is set in the extravagant and hypocritical world of late Victorian and Edwardian society. It is full of colourful characters: Edward's beautiful and betrayed wife Alexandra; the three cuckolded husbands - Edward Langtry, the Earl of Warwick and the Hon. George Keppel; the flamboyant Oscar Wilde; the sensuous Sarah Bernhardt; the dissipated Prince Albert Victor; the sexually complex W.E. Gladstone. Royal biographer Theo Aronson draws on much new and unfamiliar material in this vivid book and reassesses many aspects of his subjects' lives. He challenges long-established myths and reveals much that was hitherto unknown: not least the extraordinary scene that took place at the deathbed of King Edward VII. The result is a brilliant evocation of a world, and a way of life that has gone forever.
Author: Raymond Lamont-Brown
Publisher: The History Press
A detailed look at the two women in the life of Edward VII during his last years. Alice Keppel, youngest daughter of a Scottish retired admiral and MP emerged from obscurity in 1898 to become the publicly acknowledged mistress of the portly, fun-loving Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII. Agnes Keyser, daughter of a prominent member of the Stock exchange, defied social expectations by not marrying, instead becoming involved in hospital charity work. Her twelve-year relationship with the king was much less in the public eye, but was just as important.
Author: Susanna de Vries
Publisher: Pirgos Press
The genuine love match between Prince William and Kate Middleton has rekindled enthusiasm for the British monarchy. In the past, young princes reluctantly entered into arranged marriages and took mistresses. Perdita Robinson, a famous actress, was enticed from the stage with promises of money to live with the fickle Prince of Wales, who turned her and her child onto the street. Perdita fought back, won a financial settlement and became a pioneer of women's writing. Edward VII's most fascinating mistresses were aristocrats' wives like the multi-talented unconventional Lady Jennie Churchill, mother of Winston, and the headstrong heiress, Daisy, Countess of Warwick, mother of one of Edward's love children. Beautiful Alice Keppel became the love of Edward's life and was the great-grandmother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, yet another royal mistress. Edward's grandson, Edward VIII suffered an attack of mumps that left him physically and mentally immature. He implored Mrs Freda Dudley Ward to elope but she refused. Another mistress, Lady Thelma Furness, star of Hollywood's silent screen, introduced Edward to the domineering Wallis Simpson who insisted the impotent king seek psychiatric help. In order that Wallis could look like a queen the Duke of Windsor lavished her with jewels and forgave her infidelities in this most intriguing of all royal stories.
Author: Ian Graham
In 1965, an impoverished elderly woman was found dead in Nice, France. Her death marked the end of an era; she was the last of the great courtesans. Known as La Belle Otero, she was a volcanic Spanish beauty whose patrons included Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. She accumulated an enormous fortune, but gambled it all away. Scarlet Women tells her story and many more, including: Marie Duplessis, who inspired characters by both Dumas and Verdi; Clara Ward, a rare American courtesan who hunted for a European aristocrat, but having married a Belgian prince, ran away with a gypsy violinist; Ninon de L'Enclos, who was offered 50,000 crowns by Cardinal Richelieu for one night. Money left in her will paid for Voltaire's education. Courtesans were an elite group of talented, professional mistresses. The most successful became wealthy and famous in their own right. While they led charmed lives, they occupied a curious position: they enjoyed freedom and political power unknown to most women, but they were ostracised by polite society. From the hetaerae of ancient Greece to the cortigiani onesti of 16th century Venice, the oiran of Edo-period Japan to the demimondaines of 19th century France, this captivating book--perfect for readers of A Treasury of Royal Scandals--uncovers the rich, colorful lives of these women who dared to pursue fortunes outside their societies' norms.
Author: Elizabeth Abbott
Publisher: The Overlook Press
She has been called the "kept woman," the "fancy woman," and the "other woman." She exists as both a fictional character and as a flesh-and-blood human being. But who is she, really? Why do women become mistresses, and what is it like to have a private life that is usually also a secret life? Is a mistress merely a wife-in-waiting, or is she the ver y definition of the emancipated, independent female? Elizabeth Abbott intelligently examines the motives and morals of some of history's most infamous and fascinating women, from antiquity to today. Drawing intimate portraits of those who have--by chance, coercion, or choice--assumed this complex role, Mistresses offers a rich blend of personal biography and cultural insight.
Author: Jane Ridley
Publisher: Random House
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE BOSTON GLOBE This richly entertaining biography chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victoria’s firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into as wise and effective a monarch as Britain has ever seen. Granted unprecedented access to the royal archives, noted scholar Jane Ridley draws on numerous primary sources to paint a vivid portrait of the man and the age to which he gave his name. Born Prince Albert Edward, and known to familiars as “Bertie,” the future King Edward VII had a well-earned reputation for debauchery. A notorious gambler, glutton, and womanizer, he preferred the company of wastrels and courtesans to the dreary life of the Victorian court. His own mother considered him a lazy halfwit, temperamentally unfit to succeed her. When he ascended to the throne in 1901, at age fifty-nine, expectations were low. Yet by the time he died nine years later, he had proven himself a deft diplomat, hardworking head of state, and the architect of Britain’s modern constitutional monarchy. Jane Ridley’s colorful biography rescues the man once derided as “Edward the Caresser” from the clutches of his historical detractors. Excerpts from letters and diaries shed new light on Bertie’s long power struggle with Queen Victoria, illuminating one of the most emotionally fraught mother-son relationships in history. Considerable attention is paid to King Edward’s campaign of personal diplomacy abroad and his valiant efforts to reform the political system at home. Separating truth from legend, Ridley also explores Bertie’s relationships with the women in his life. Their ranks comprised his wife, the stunning Danish princess Alexandra, along with some of the great beauties of the era: the actress Lillie Langtry, longtime “royal mistress” Alice Keppel (the great-grandmother of Camilla Parker Bowles), and Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston. Edward VII waited nearly six decades for his chance to rule, then did so with considerable panache and aplomb. A magnificent life of an unexpectedly impressive king, The Heir Apparent documents the remarkable transformation of a man—and a monarchy—at the dawn of a new century. Praise for The Heir Apparent “If [The Heir Apparent] isn’t the definitive life story of this fascinating figure of British history, then nothing ever will be.”—The Christian Science Monitor “The Heir Apparent is smart, it’s fascinating, it’s sometimes funny, it’s well-documented and it reads like a novel, with Bertie so vivid he nearly leaps from the page, cigars and all.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune “I closed The Heir Apparent with admiration and a kind of wry exhilaration.”—The Wall Street Journal “Ridley is a serious scholar and historian, who keeps Bertie’s flaws and virtues in a fine balance.”—The Boston Globe “Brilliantly entertaining . . . a landmark royal biography.”—The Sunday Telegraph “Superb.”—The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Roger Powell, Peter Beauclerk-Dewar
Publisher: The History Press
Since 1066 when William the Conqueror took the throne, English and Scottish kings have sired at least 150 children out of wedlock. Many were acknowledged at court and founded dynasties of their own; several of today's dukedoms are descended from them. Others were only acknowledged grudgingly or not at all. In the 20th century this trend for Royals to father illegitimate children continued, but the parentage, while highly probable, has not been officially recognized. This book is a genuinely fresh approach to British kings and queens, examining their lives and times through the unfamiliar perspective of their illegitimate children. Interviewees include many of their descendants. But beyond personal narratives it also sheds light on the perennially fascinating topic of sexual habits; the links between politics, power, and patronage; the class system, scandal, and celebrity; and the different expectations we have of men and women.
Author: Princess Michael (of Kent)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Updated with a new chapter, an internationally best-selling account of five of history's most famous royal mistresses celebrates the lives of Madame de Pompadour, Lola Montez, Nell Gwyn, Marie Waleska, and Lily Langtry. By the author of The Serpent and the Moon. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
Author: Catharine Arnold
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Catharine Arnold presents a colorful biography of Edward VII—playboy monarch, celebrated lover, and son of Queen Victoria—set against the real-life Downton Abbey world of American heiresses. Edward Prince of Wales, better known as “Bertie,” was the eldest son of Queen Victoria. Charming and dissolute, he was a larger-than-life personality with king-size appetites. A lifelong womanizer, Bertie conducted his countless liaisons against the glittering backdrop of London society, Europe, and the stately homes of England in the second half of the 19th century. Bertie’s lovers were beautiful, spirited, society women who embraced a wide field of occupations. There was Lillie Langtry, the simple Jersey girl who would become an actress and producer; “Daisy” Brooke, Countess of Warwick, the extravagant socialite who embraced socialism and stood for Parliament as a Labour party candidate; bisexual French actress Sarah Bernhardt, celebrated for her decadent appeal and opium habit; and by total contrast the starchy Agnes Keyser, who founded a hospital for army officers. One of Bertie’s most intriguing liaisons was with American heiress Jennie Churchill, unhappy wife of Sir Randolph Churchill and mother of Sir Winston. While the scandals resulting from his affairs—from suicides to divorces—were a blight on the royal family, Bertie would become a surprisingly modern monarch. His major accomplishment was transforming the British monarchy into the modern institution that we know today and ensuring its survival in a period when every other European dynasty collapsed in the wake of WWI.
Author: Daniel S. Burt
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
From Marilyn to Mussolini, people captivate people. A&E's "Biography, " best-selling autobiographies, and biographical novels testify to the popularity of the genre. But where does one begin? Collected here are descriptions and evaluations of over 10,000 biographical works, including books of fact and fiction, biographies for young readers, and documentaries and movies, all based on the lives of over 500 historical figures from scientists and writers, to political and military leaders, to artists and musicians. Each entry includes a brief profile, autobiographical and primary sources, and recommended works. Short reviews describe the pertinent biographical works and offer insight into the qualities and special features of each title, helping readers to find the best biographical material available on hundreds of fascinating individuals.
Author: Diana Souhami
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Alice Keppel, the married lover of Queen Victoria's eldest son and great-grandmother to Camilla Parker-Bowles, was a key figure in Edwardian society. Hers was the acceptable face of adultery. Discretion was her hallmark. It was her art to be the king's mistress and yet to laud the Royal Family and the institution of marriage. Formidable and manipulative, her attentions to the king brought her wealth, power, and status. Her daughter Violet Trefusis had a long tempestuous affair with the author and aristocrat Vita Sackville-West, during which Vita left her husband and two sons to travel abroad with Violet. It was a liaison that threatened the fabric of Violet's social world, and her passion and recalcitrance in pursuit of it pitted her against her mother and society. From memoirs, diaries, and letters, Diana Souhami portrays this fascinating and intense mother/daughter relationship in Mrs. Keppel and Her Daughter. Her story of these women, their lovers, and their lovers' mothers, highlights Edwardian - and contemporary - duplicity and double standards and goes to the heart of questions about sexual freedoms.
Author: Jane Ridley
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Exciting new approach to biography by an acclaimed historian and biographer: King Edward Vll (Bertie) seen through the eyes of the women in his life. Entertaining and different, this enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales wears its scholarship lightly. Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life. He was 59 when at last he came to power. Known as Bertie, and the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents. His mother, Queen Victoria, the first and most powerful woman in his life, blamed Bertie's scandalous womanising for his father's early demise. Although Bertie was heir to the throne, she refused to give him any proper responsibilities, as a result of which he spent his time eating (his waist measurement was 48 inches and his nickname was 'Edward the Wide'), betting on race-horses and shooting grouse. He was married off to Alexandra of Denmark, who was beautiful but infantile, lavishing her affection on her doggies and pet bunnies. Bertie's numerous mistresses included the society hostess Daisy Brook ('Babbling Brook') and the gorgeous but fragile Lillie Langtry (with whom 'played house' in a specially built hide-away home). The last of the women in his life was the clever and manipulative Alice Keppel. He always placed her at dinner next to his most important guests, because of her grasp of politics, her brilliant conversation and her formidable skills at the Bridge table. When Bertie finally became king, he did a good job, especially in foreign policy. This colourful book gives him due credit, while painting a vivid portrait of the age in all its excess and eccentricity, hypocrisy and heartbreak.
Author: Stephen Clarke
Publisher: Random House
The entertaining biography of Edward VII and his playboy lifestyle, by Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French and A Year in the Merde. Despite fierce opposition from his mother, Queen Victoria, Edward VII was always passionately in love with France. He had affairs with the most famous Parisian actresses, courtesans and can-can dancers. He spoke French more elegantly than English. He was the first ever guest to climb the Eiffel Tower with Gustave Eiffel, in defiance of an official English ban on his visit. He turned his French seduction skills into the diplomatic prowess that sealed the Entente Cordiale. A quintessentially English king? Pas du tout! Stephen Clarke argues that as 'Dirty Bertie', Edward learned all the essentials in life from the French.