Reality Show

French.mistress.front cover
By Susan Holloway Scott

“World building” is a trendy term among writers and readers right now.  A long-time favorite with paranormal and sci-fi aficionados, it refers to the convincing creation of a setting of the writer’s invention: a fictitious place made so vividly real that readers can believe in its existence.

We historical writers do this, too. While our worlds are based on the actual past, we still have to sift through the mountains of research to find the exact details to bring our stories to life. Just because we’ve learned tons about a specific time or place doesn’t mean we have to inflict it on our trusting readers. We’ve all groaned over the infamous “wallpaper history” that can smother characters and bring a good plot to a grinding halt. Long descriptions of gowns, politics, or the exact rules governing Almack’s are deadly. The trick is to integrate all those facts into the story seamlessly, and to make the reader feel as if she, too, were at the character’s side, feeling how that gown swirled around her ankles when she danced, or the mortification she felt when those grim matriarchs looked down their noses at her. As writers, it’s our obligation to make it real.

Minature Louise jpg cropped
Yet sometimes all this reality gets a little, well, spooky.  Most writers have wicked good imaginations, and
when the Muse is happy and the story’s ripping along at a merry pace, the line between the world being built and the world that exists can get fuzzy.  I’ve been in the grocery store and seen my current hero over by the bananas, and I’ve looked at a modern river and seen it filled with sailing ships, not tankers.  Because I’m currently writing historical novels based on the lives of people who actually lived, the line’s blurrier still.  With the exception of a convenient footman or coach driver here and there, all my characters did walk this same old earth as the rest of us, albeit 350 years earlier. 

My July book, The French Mistress, is based on the life of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth and Duchesse d’Aubigny.  Louise had a great many excellent qualities for a heroine: shy but determined, she was a beautiful outsider with many enemies, and unable to trust anyone except the man she loves.  She was born to a poor but noble family, and went to seek her fortune (i.e., make a good marriage) at the French court. Instead of a husband, she found considerable intrigue, serving as a spy for one king, Louis XIV of France, and Charles_II_(1670s)Lely
becoming the much-loved mistress to another, Charles II of England.  She was apparently accomplished in both areas, and richly rewarded by both kings. And in an era remarkable for its faithlessness, Louise’s only lover was Charles, and she remained loyal to his memory even though she outlived him by fifty years. 

I adored writing about Louise, and building her “world” from her humble beginnings in Brittany to the grand palaces of Versailles and Whitehall. Though I’ve written about Charles’s raucous court three times before –– in Duchess, Royal Harlot, and King's Favorite –– this time I saw it through Louise’s eyes, comparing it (unfavorably, of course) to the French court at Versailles. Before long, Louise's world became a real world to me, too.

But there’s real, and then there’s REAL.  One of my favorite scenes in the book revolves around the night Charles gives Louise the Letters Patent that officially legitimizes and ennobles their three-year-old natural son.  No matter how much in favor, royal mistresses are always in a precarious position, and rightly desperate to ensure their children’s security for the future. I’d researched descriptions of 17th century Letters Patent, and knew they were imposing documents, scribed by hand on parchment, threaded with gold ribbon and only made official with the imprint of the Great YoungDukeofRichmond
Seal on a fat blob of red wax. With that seal, the three-year-old bastard became Duke of Richmond, Earl of March, and Baron Settrington in the peerage of England.  (Here he is in all his splendor, by William Wissing; I'd love to know how the painter was able to make a boy that age sit still bedecked with so many ribbons and laces.) Soon after, little Charles  was also created Duke of Lennox, as well as Earl of Darnley and Lord Torbolton in the peerage of Scotland. As can be imagined, Louise was pleased by the king’s generosity, while he in turn was pleased that she was pleased, and that was how I wrote it.

Then, to my amazement, I stumbled across a photograph of the Letters Patent of the first Duke of Lennox on the internet. THE Letters Patent, with the seal still dangling from it, exactly as Louise would have known it. (Here’s the photograph, Goodwood Ms 10, by courtesy of His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and with acknowledgments to the West Sussex County Record Office and the County Archivist.)

A few emails back and forth with the archivists at the West Sussex County Council (where the papers of the Dukes of Richmond are kept, not far from Goodwood House, the family seat) only made everything Patentletters
more real still.  The present duke is the tenth of the line that descends directly from Louise and Charles.  His Grace is now styled the Duke of Richmond and Gordon (the sixth Duke of Richmond and Lennox was also created Duke of Gordon in 1876), as well as the tenth Duc d’Aubigny: the only duke in the realm to hold four distinct dukedoms. How pleased Louise would be by that!

To Louise, the Letters Patent was the ultimate symbol of Charles's devotion to her and their son.  To the ten Dukes of Richmond, the Letters Patent is the basis of their rank and good fortune. To the archivists in West Sussex, it's a fascinating document, a rare piece of local history. But to me, it's one more thing that brought Louise de Keroualle to life for me as a writer –– and, I hope, for readers as well.

I don't have copies yet of The French Mistress, but I do have a few of Duchess, Royal Harlot, and The King's Favorite that are looking for good homes. I'll select two names from those who leave a comment for this blog by Sunday noon, and the winners will have her/his choice of a book.  You don't have to wax philosophical on royal dukedoms (unless you want to!) Just your name will be enough to be entered in the drawing.  I'm not picky. I'm cleaning house. *g*

And here's another mini-contest with a specialized giveaway book: a large-print, hardcover edition of The Duke's Gamble, one of the last historical romances I wrote as Miranda Jarrett.  This is a Mills & Boon 100th Anniversary edition, too, which I suppose makes it collectible.  The give-away drill's the same.  Leave me a comment saying you're interested in the large-print Miranda Jarrett, and you're entered.

Post away!

130 thoughts on “Reality Show”

  1. Fascinating post! I often wonder how anyone could have gone from point A to point B wearing such elaborate, heavy clothing. One of the few things that was done right in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was to display the excessive choices available in both clothing and food—kind of like a Versailles mega-mall. But at the heart of it all, how boring it must have been.
    Sign me up for large and small print, please!

    Reply
  2. Fascinating post! I often wonder how anyone could have gone from point A to point B wearing such elaborate, heavy clothing. One of the few things that was done right in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was to display the excessive choices available in both clothing and food—kind of like a Versailles mega-mall. But at the heart of it all, how boring it must have been.
    Sign me up for large and small print, please!

    Reply
  3. Fascinating post! I often wonder how anyone could have gone from point A to point B wearing such elaborate, heavy clothing. One of the few things that was done right in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was to display the excessive choices available in both clothing and food—kind of like a Versailles mega-mall. But at the heart of it all, how boring it must have been.
    Sign me up for large and small print, please!

    Reply
  4. Fascinating post! I often wonder how anyone could have gone from point A to point B wearing such elaborate, heavy clothing. One of the few things that was done right in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was to display the excessive choices available in both clothing and food—kind of like a Versailles mega-mall. But at the heart of it all, how boring it must have been.
    Sign me up for large and small print, please!

    Reply
  5. Fascinating post! I often wonder how anyone could have gone from point A to point B wearing such elaborate, heavy clothing. One of the few things that was done right in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was to display the excessive choices available in both clothing and food—kind of like a Versailles mega-mall. But at the heart of it all, how boring it must have been.
    Sign me up for large and small print, please!

    Reply
  6. He didn’t make the boy sit still while he painted all that elaborate clothing. He put it on a mannequin. That’s one reason that the poses in many early modern portraits look so stiff.
    The usual approach was to have the subject of the portrait sit for sketches, so the painter got the body size and proportions correct; then do the background and clothin with the sitter absent; then have the sitter come back for the hands and face.
    Frequently, the background and clothing was painted by apprentices or journeymen working in the portraitist’s studio. The closer they were to being full-fledged artists in their own right, the closer their painting came to the center of the canvas.

    Reply
  7. He didn’t make the boy sit still while he painted all that elaborate clothing. He put it on a mannequin. That’s one reason that the poses in many early modern portraits look so stiff.
    The usual approach was to have the subject of the portrait sit for sketches, so the painter got the body size and proportions correct; then do the background and clothin with the sitter absent; then have the sitter come back for the hands and face.
    Frequently, the background and clothing was painted by apprentices or journeymen working in the portraitist’s studio. The closer they were to being full-fledged artists in their own right, the closer their painting came to the center of the canvas.

    Reply
  8. He didn’t make the boy sit still while he painted all that elaborate clothing. He put it on a mannequin. That’s one reason that the poses in many early modern portraits look so stiff.
    The usual approach was to have the subject of the portrait sit for sketches, so the painter got the body size and proportions correct; then do the background and clothin with the sitter absent; then have the sitter come back for the hands and face.
    Frequently, the background and clothing was painted by apprentices or journeymen working in the portraitist’s studio. The closer they were to being full-fledged artists in their own right, the closer their painting came to the center of the canvas.

    Reply
  9. He didn’t make the boy sit still while he painted all that elaborate clothing. He put it on a mannequin. That’s one reason that the poses in many early modern portraits look so stiff.
    The usual approach was to have the subject of the portrait sit for sketches, so the painter got the body size and proportions correct; then do the background and clothin with the sitter absent; then have the sitter come back for the hands and face.
    Frequently, the background and clothing was painted by apprentices or journeymen working in the portraitist’s studio. The closer they were to being full-fledged artists in their own right, the closer their painting came to the center of the canvas.

    Reply
  10. He didn’t make the boy sit still while he painted all that elaborate clothing. He put it on a mannequin. That’s one reason that the poses in many early modern portraits look so stiff.
    The usual approach was to have the subject of the portrait sit for sketches, so the painter got the body size and proportions correct; then do the background and clothin with the sitter absent; then have the sitter come back for the hands and face.
    Frequently, the background and clothing was painted by apprentices or journeymen working in the portraitist’s studio. The closer they were to being full-fledged artists in their own right, the closer their painting came to the center of the canvas.

    Reply
  11. Fascinating history! I can’t help but laugh when writers comment about populating the ton with fictional dukes (since there were so few) yet here is a real duke with four ducal titles!

    Reply
  12. Fascinating history! I can’t help but laugh when writers comment about populating the ton with fictional dukes (since there were so few) yet here is a real duke with four ducal titles!

    Reply
  13. Fascinating history! I can’t help but laugh when writers comment about populating the ton with fictional dukes (since there were so few) yet here is a real duke with four ducal titles!

    Reply
  14. Fascinating history! I can’t help but laugh when writers comment about populating the ton with fictional dukes (since there were so few) yet here is a real duke with four ducal titles!

    Reply
  15. Fascinating history! I can’t help but laugh when writers comment about populating the ton with fictional dukes (since there were so few) yet here is a real duke with four ducal titles!

    Reply
  16. Susan here:
    Maggie, I agree, I thought the Coppola Marie Antoinette did a good job of showing the excess of life at the French Court. Some of the other parts of the movie kind of fell apart for me, but it sure looked good! *g*
    Virginia, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I asked how the first little Duke of Richmond was made to sit still for his portrait — I suppose was my sarcasm was so dry as to be imperceptible. *g*
    You are right that he likely only had to sit for his face. The painting is entirely stylized, and a customary pose for royalty. I’m guessing Louise, who was very aware of such things, probably suggested it herself as one more way to show her son had royal blood. (Check out this portrait of Charles II: http://www.pepysdiary.com/p/344.php)
    William Wissing wasn’t the most skilled portrait painter of the time, either, but if he wasn’t as adept at capturing a likeness as Kneller or Lely, he was very good at portraying the trappings of power, and the symbols of the boy’s titles are certainly lovingly depicted. As portraits go, this one is less concerned with showing a young boy than showing a young duke, the son of a king — which is probably exactly what Louise ordered.

    Reply
  17. Susan here:
    Maggie, I agree, I thought the Coppola Marie Antoinette did a good job of showing the excess of life at the French Court. Some of the other parts of the movie kind of fell apart for me, but it sure looked good! *g*
    Virginia, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I asked how the first little Duke of Richmond was made to sit still for his portrait — I suppose was my sarcasm was so dry as to be imperceptible. *g*
    You are right that he likely only had to sit for his face. The painting is entirely stylized, and a customary pose for royalty. I’m guessing Louise, who was very aware of such things, probably suggested it herself as one more way to show her son had royal blood. (Check out this portrait of Charles II: http://www.pepysdiary.com/p/344.php)
    William Wissing wasn’t the most skilled portrait painter of the time, either, but if he wasn’t as adept at capturing a likeness as Kneller or Lely, he was very good at portraying the trappings of power, and the symbols of the boy’s titles are certainly lovingly depicted. As portraits go, this one is less concerned with showing a young boy than showing a young duke, the son of a king — which is probably exactly what Louise ordered.

    Reply
  18. Susan here:
    Maggie, I agree, I thought the Coppola Marie Antoinette did a good job of showing the excess of life at the French Court. Some of the other parts of the movie kind of fell apart for me, but it sure looked good! *g*
    Virginia, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I asked how the first little Duke of Richmond was made to sit still for his portrait — I suppose was my sarcasm was so dry as to be imperceptible. *g*
    You are right that he likely only had to sit for his face. The painting is entirely stylized, and a customary pose for royalty. I’m guessing Louise, who was very aware of such things, probably suggested it herself as one more way to show her son had royal blood. (Check out this portrait of Charles II: http://www.pepysdiary.com/p/344.php)
    William Wissing wasn’t the most skilled portrait painter of the time, either, but if he wasn’t as adept at capturing a likeness as Kneller or Lely, he was very good at portraying the trappings of power, and the symbols of the boy’s titles are certainly lovingly depicted. As portraits go, this one is less concerned with showing a young boy than showing a young duke, the son of a king — which is probably exactly what Louise ordered.

    Reply
  19. Susan here:
    Maggie, I agree, I thought the Coppola Marie Antoinette did a good job of showing the excess of life at the French Court. Some of the other parts of the movie kind of fell apart for me, but it sure looked good! *g*
    Virginia, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I asked how the first little Duke of Richmond was made to sit still for his portrait — I suppose was my sarcasm was so dry as to be imperceptible. *g*
    You are right that he likely only had to sit for his face. The painting is entirely stylized, and a customary pose for royalty. I’m guessing Louise, who was very aware of such things, probably suggested it herself as one more way to show her son had royal blood. (Check out this portrait of Charles II: http://www.pepysdiary.com/p/344.php)
    William Wissing wasn’t the most skilled portrait painter of the time, either, but if he wasn’t as adept at capturing a likeness as Kneller or Lely, he was very good at portraying the trappings of power, and the symbols of the boy’s titles are certainly lovingly depicted. As portraits go, this one is less concerned with showing a young boy than showing a young duke, the son of a king — which is probably exactly what Louise ordered.

    Reply
  20. Susan here:
    Maggie, I agree, I thought the Coppola Marie Antoinette did a good job of showing the excess of life at the French Court. Some of the other parts of the movie kind of fell apart for me, but it sure looked good! *g*
    Virginia, I wasn’t being entirely serious when I asked how the first little Duke of Richmond was made to sit still for his portrait — I suppose was my sarcasm was so dry as to be imperceptible. *g*
    You are right that he likely only had to sit for his face. The painting is entirely stylized, and a customary pose for royalty. I’m guessing Louise, who was very aware of such things, probably suggested it herself as one more way to show her son had royal blood. (Check out this portrait of Charles II: http://www.pepysdiary.com/p/344.php)
    William Wissing wasn’t the most skilled portrait painter of the time, either, but if he wasn’t as adept at capturing a likeness as Kneller or Lely, he was very good at portraying the trappings of power, and the symbols of the boy’s titles are certainly lovingly depicted. As portraits go, this one is less concerned with showing a young boy than showing a young duke, the son of a king — which is probably exactly what Louise ordered.

    Reply
  21. Susan again:
    MJ, you’re right — whiile fictional dukes do litter the landscape *g*, in truth they’re really pretty rare.
    Charles II is responsible for creating a record number of dukedoms for his natural sons. In addition to the Duke of Richmond, the Duke of Southampton, Duke of Cleveland, Duke of Grafton, Duke of Northumberland, and Duke of St. Albans all owe their dukedoms to their royal ancestor. For the most part, his daughters were made countesses, and married other peers. In addtion, Charles made two of his mistresses — Barbara Palmer and Louise de Keroualle — duchesses in their own right.
    For all the old jokes about George Washington being the “father of our country”, Charles II seems to have come pretty close to fathering a sizable part of the peerage. *g*

    Reply
  22. Susan again:
    MJ, you’re right — whiile fictional dukes do litter the landscape *g*, in truth they’re really pretty rare.
    Charles II is responsible for creating a record number of dukedoms for his natural sons. In addition to the Duke of Richmond, the Duke of Southampton, Duke of Cleveland, Duke of Grafton, Duke of Northumberland, and Duke of St. Albans all owe their dukedoms to their royal ancestor. For the most part, his daughters were made countesses, and married other peers. In addtion, Charles made two of his mistresses — Barbara Palmer and Louise de Keroualle — duchesses in their own right.
    For all the old jokes about George Washington being the “father of our country”, Charles II seems to have come pretty close to fathering a sizable part of the peerage. *g*

    Reply
  23. Susan again:
    MJ, you’re right — whiile fictional dukes do litter the landscape *g*, in truth they’re really pretty rare.
    Charles II is responsible for creating a record number of dukedoms for his natural sons. In addition to the Duke of Richmond, the Duke of Southampton, Duke of Cleveland, Duke of Grafton, Duke of Northumberland, and Duke of St. Albans all owe their dukedoms to their royal ancestor. For the most part, his daughters were made countesses, and married other peers. In addtion, Charles made two of his mistresses — Barbara Palmer and Louise de Keroualle — duchesses in their own right.
    For all the old jokes about George Washington being the “father of our country”, Charles II seems to have come pretty close to fathering a sizable part of the peerage. *g*

    Reply
  24. Susan again:
    MJ, you’re right — whiile fictional dukes do litter the landscape *g*, in truth they’re really pretty rare.
    Charles II is responsible for creating a record number of dukedoms for his natural sons. In addition to the Duke of Richmond, the Duke of Southampton, Duke of Cleveland, Duke of Grafton, Duke of Northumberland, and Duke of St. Albans all owe their dukedoms to their royal ancestor. For the most part, his daughters were made countesses, and married other peers. In addtion, Charles made two of his mistresses — Barbara Palmer and Louise de Keroualle — duchesses in their own right.
    For all the old jokes about George Washington being the “father of our country”, Charles II seems to have come pretty close to fathering a sizable part of the peerage. *g*

    Reply
  25. Susan again:
    MJ, you’re right — whiile fictional dukes do litter the landscape *g*, in truth they’re really pretty rare.
    Charles II is responsible for creating a record number of dukedoms for his natural sons. In addition to the Duke of Richmond, the Duke of Southampton, Duke of Cleveland, Duke of Grafton, Duke of Northumberland, and Duke of St. Albans all owe their dukedoms to their royal ancestor. For the most part, his daughters were made countesses, and married other peers. In addtion, Charles made two of his mistresses — Barbara Palmer and Louise de Keroualle — duchesses in their own right.
    For all the old jokes about George Washington being the “father of our country”, Charles II seems to have come pretty close to fathering a sizable part of the peerage. *g*

    Reply
  26. I’m interested in how acceptable mores/morals vary over time and according to rank. Charles had a large number of children outside wedlock, but as children of a king it’s clear none of them had to worry about being ostracized due to their illegitimacy. It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time. To see Charles littering the ground with his illegitimate offspring must have made it even more painful.
    As an all-too-rapidly aging reader, I would love a copy of your large print book but would be happy with regular size as well.

    Reply
  27. I’m interested in how acceptable mores/morals vary over time and according to rank. Charles had a large number of children outside wedlock, but as children of a king it’s clear none of them had to worry about being ostracized due to their illegitimacy. It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time. To see Charles littering the ground with his illegitimate offspring must have made it even more painful.
    As an all-too-rapidly aging reader, I would love a copy of your large print book but would be happy with regular size as well.

    Reply
  28. I’m interested in how acceptable mores/morals vary over time and according to rank. Charles had a large number of children outside wedlock, but as children of a king it’s clear none of them had to worry about being ostracized due to their illegitimacy. It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time. To see Charles littering the ground with his illegitimate offspring must have made it even more painful.
    As an all-too-rapidly aging reader, I would love a copy of your large print book but would be happy with regular size as well.

    Reply
  29. I’m interested in how acceptable mores/morals vary over time and according to rank. Charles had a large number of children outside wedlock, but as children of a king it’s clear none of them had to worry about being ostracized due to their illegitimacy. It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time. To see Charles littering the ground with his illegitimate offspring must have made it even more painful.
    As an all-too-rapidly aging reader, I would love a copy of your large print book but would be happy with regular size as well.

    Reply
  30. I’m interested in how acceptable mores/morals vary over time and according to rank. Charles had a large number of children outside wedlock, but as children of a king it’s clear none of them had to worry about being ostracized due to their illegitimacy. It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time. To see Charles littering the ground with his illegitimate offspring must have made it even more painful.
    As an all-too-rapidly aging reader, I would love a copy of your large print book but would be happy with regular size as well.

    Reply
  31. So cool that you found the image of the real Letters Patent! This is the aspect of the internet that’s so ravishing.
    I’d heard of the double duchess, but I didn’t realize there was a quadruple duke. A waste of good titles, to concentrate them all in one man!
    Mary Jo, who occasionally uses a duke in a book, but only if she wants to make the hero’s life difficult.

    Reply
  32. So cool that you found the image of the real Letters Patent! This is the aspect of the internet that’s so ravishing.
    I’d heard of the double duchess, but I didn’t realize there was a quadruple duke. A waste of good titles, to concentrate them all in one man!
    Mary Jo, who occasionally uses a duke in a book, but only if she wants to make the hero’s life difficult.

    Reply
  33. So cool that you found the image of the real Letters Patent! This is the aspect of the internet that’s so ravishing.
    I’d heard of the double duchess, but I didn’t realize there was a quadruple duke. A waste of good titles, to concentrate them all in one man!
    Mary Jo, who occasionally uses a duke in a book, but only if she wants to make the hero’s life difficult.

    Reply
  34. So cool that you found the image of the real Letters Patent! This is the aspect of the internet that’s so ravishing.
    I’d heard of the double duchess, but I didn’t realize there was a quadruple duke. A waste of good titles, to concentrate them all in one man!
    Mary Jo, who occasionally uses a duke in a book, but only if she wants to make the hero’s life difficult.

    Reply
  35. So cool that you found the image of the real Letters Patent! This is the aspect of the internet that’s so ravishing.
    I’d heard of the double duchess, but I didn’t realize there was a quadruple duke. A waste of good titles, to concentrate them all in one man!
    Mary Jo, who occasionally uses a duke in a book, but only if she wants to make the hero’s life difficult.

    Reply
  36. Fasinating history. It’s amazing the things that remain in this ole world after so long. I’d be interested in the large print.

    Reply
  37. Fasinating history. It’s amazing the things that remain in this ole world after so long. I’d be interested in the large print.

    Reply
  38. Fasinating history. It’s amazing the things that remain in this ole world after so long. I’d be interested in the large print.

    Reply
  39. Fasinating history. It’s amazing the things that remain in this ole world after so long. I’d be interested in the large print.

    Reply
  40. Fasinating history. It’s amazing the things that remain in this ole world after so long. I’d be interested in the large print.

    Reply
  41. Susan again:
    Susan/DC wrote: “It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time.”
    It was a great sorrow & shame to Catherine of Braganza, Charles’s queen. I’ve always felt sorry for her: she was short, dark, and by report not attractive in a court full of beautiful women. Perhaps worse, her husband and his court delighted in wit and wordplay, and all her life she had trouble with the English language. Couple those liabilities with her inability to bear the required heir (and what else is a queen for?), and her life must have been difficult indeed.
    Yet despite all this, and despite his own constant infidelities, Charles respected her as his wife, and seemed to have loved her, too. He was endlessly kind to her, and protected her against those who hated her for her Catholicism. He also refused to follow the advice of many of his ministers who suggested he divorce her in favor of a more fertile new queen — i.e., follow the course of his ancestor Henry VIII, though not quite so fatally to his queen! — though his insistence on honoring that portion of his marital vows led to all sorts of trouble after his death.
    For her part, Catherine seems to have loved Charles with equal affection and devotion, and though she tried to object to Lady Castlemaine’s position as royal mistress, she was actually good friends with Louise, and also liked Nell Gwyn as well. Still, it must have hardly been an enviable role….

    Reply
  42. Susan again:
    Susan/DC wrote: “It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time.”
    It was a great sorrow & shame to Catherine of Braganza, Charles’s queen. I’ve always felt sorry for her: she was short, dark, and by report not attractive in a court full of beautiful women. Perhaps worse, her husband and his court delighted in wit and wordplay, and all her life she had trouble with the English language. Couple those liabilities with her inability to bear the required heir (and what else is a queen for?), and her life must have been difficult indeed.
    Yet despite all this, and despite his own constant infidelities, Charles respected her as his wife, and seemed to have loved her, too. He was endlessly kind to her, and protected her against those who hated her for her Catholicism. He also refused to follow the advice of many of his ministers who suggested he divorce her in favor of a more fertile new queen — i.e., follow the course of his ancestor Henry VIII, though not quite so fatally to his queen! — though his insistence on honoring that portion of his marital vows led to all sorts of trouble after his death.
    For her part, Catherine seems to have loved Charles with equal affection and devotion, and though she tried to object to Lady Castlemaine’s position as royal mistress, she was actually good friends with Louise, and also liked Nell Gwyn as well. Still, it must have hardly been an enviable role….

    Reply
  43. Susan again:
    Susan/DC wrote: “It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time.”
    It was a great sorrow & shame to Catherine of Braganza, Charles’s queen. I’ve always felt sorry for her: she was short, dark, and by report not attractive in a court full of beautiful women. Perhaps worse, her husband and his court delighted in wit and wordplay, and all her life she had trouble with the English language. Couple those liabilities with her inability to bear the required heir (and what else is a queen for?), and her life must have been difficult indeed.
    Yet despite all this, and despite his own constant infidelities, Charles respected her as his wife, and seemed to have loved her, too. He was endlessly kind to her, and protected her against those who hated her for her Catholicism. He also refused to follow the advice of many of his ministers who suggested he divorce her in favor of a more fertile new queen — i.e., follow the course of his ancestor Henry VIII, though not quite so fatally to his queen! — though his insistence on honoring that portion of his marital vows led to all sorts of trouble after his death.
    For her part, Catherine seems to have loved Charles with equal affection and devotion, and though she tried to object to Lady Castlemaine’s position as royal mistress, she was actually good friends with Louise, and also liked Nell Gwyn as well. Still, it must have hardly been an enviable role….

    Reply
  44. Susan again:
    Susan/DC wrote: “It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time.”
    It was a great sorrow & shame to Catherine of Braganza, Charles’s queen. I’ve always felt sorry for her: she was short, dark, and by report not attractive in a court full of beautiful women. Perhaps worse, her husband and his court delighted in wit and wordplay, and all her life she had trouble with the English language. Couple those liabilities with her inability to bear the required heir (and what else is a queen for?), and her life must have been difficult indeed.
    Yet despite all this, and despite his own constant infidelities, Charles respected her as his wife, and seemed to have loved her, too. He was endlessly kind to her, and protected her against those who hated her for her Catholicism. He also refused to follow the advice of many of his ministers who suggested he divorce her in favor of a more fertile new queen — i.e., follow the course of his ancestor Henry VIII, though not quite so fatally to his queen! — though his insistence on honoring that portion of his marital vows led to all sorts of trouble after his death.
    For her part, Catherine seems to have loved Charles with equal affection and devotion, and though she tried to object to Lady Castlemaine’s position as royal mistress, she was actually good friends with Louise, and also liked Nell Gwyn as well. Still, it must have hardly been an enviable role….

    Reply
  45. Susan again:
    Susan/DC wrote: “It’s also clear that this is one time when the assumption that it was the woman who was barren is true in relation to King Charles versus his Queen. I wonder how she must have felt, knowing that her primary purpose in life was to bear the next king of England, only to fail time after time.”
    It was a great sorrow & shame to Catherine of Braganza, Charles’s queen. I’ve always felt sorry for her: she was short, dark, and by report not attractive in a court full of beautiful women. Perhaps worse, her husband and his court delighted in wit and wordplay, and all her life she had trouble with the English language. Couple those liabilities with her inability to bear the required heir (and what else is a queen for?), and her life must have been difficult indeed.
    Yet despite all this, and despite his own constant infidelities, Charles respected her as his wife, and seemed to have loved her, too. He was endlessly kind to her, and protected her against those who hated her for her Catholicism. He also refused to follow the advice of many of his ministers who suggested he divorce her in favor of a more fertile new queen — i.e., follow the course of his ancestor Henry VIII, though not quite so fatally to his queen! — though his insistence on honoring that portion of his marital vows led to all sorts of trouble after his death.
    For her part, Catherine seems to have loved Charles with equal affection and devotion, and though she tried to object to Lady Castlemaine’s position as royal mistress, she was actually good friends with Louise, and also liked Nell Gwyn as well. Still, it must have hardly been an enviable role….

    Reply
  46. Can’t wait to read this book, it sounds as fantastic as your other ones in the series. Please enter me for the large type book since I haven’t read that one. Thank you.

    Reply
  47. Can’t wait to read this book, it sounds as fantastic as your other ones in the series. Please enter me for the large type book since I haven’t read that one. Thank you.

    Reply
  48. Can’t wait to read this book, it sounds as fantastic as your other ones in the series. Please enter me for the large type book since I haven’t read that one. Thank you.

    Reply
  49. Can’t wait to read this book, it sounds as fantastic as your other ones in the series. Please enter me for the large type book since I haven’t read that one. Thank you.

    Reply
  50. Can’t wait to read this book, it sounds as fantastic as your other ones in the series. Please enter me for the large type book since I haven’t read that one. Thank you.

    Reply
  51. Susan again:
    One more note I meant to include in this blog…
    The lives of the great-grandchildren of Charles and Louise — the third Duke of Richmond and his sisters — are wonderfully chronicled in “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard:
    (http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Caroline-Louisa-Lennox-1740-1832/dp/0374524475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237641671&sr=1-1)
    This collective biography reads more like fiction, and it’s a great introduction into the lives of real 18th century English ladies. The book was also adapted into a BBC miniseries, shown in the US on Masterpiece Theatre, and now out on dvd:
    http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Serena-Gordon/dp/B000G6BM0K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1237641764&sr=1-2
    Lovely to look at, beautiful costumes and locations, but a little lacking in the drama. Still, does reinforce the old F.Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The rich are different from you and me.” No kidding! 🙂

    Reply
  52. Susan again:
    One more note I meant to include in this blog…
    The lives of the great-grandchildren of Charles and Louise — the third Duke of Richmond and his sisters — are wonderfully chronicled in “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard:
    (http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Caroline-Louisa-Lennox-1740-1832/dp/0374524475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237641671&sr=1-1)
    This collective biography reads more like fiction, and it’s a great introduction into the lives of real 18th century English ladies. The book was also adapted into a BBC miniseries, shown in the US on Masterpiece Theatre, and now out on dvd:
    http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Serena-Gordon/dp/B000G6BM0K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1237641764&sr=1-2
    Lovely to look at, beautiful costumes and locations, but a little lacking in the drama. Still, does reinforce the old F.Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The rich are different from you and me.” No kidding! 🙂

    Reply
  53. Susan again:
    One more note I meant to include in this blog…
    The lives of the great-grandchildren of Charles and Louise — the third Duke of Richmond and his sisters — are wonderfully chronicled in “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard:
    (http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Caroline-Louisa-Lennox-1740-1832/dp/0374524475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237641671&sr=1-1)
    This collective biography reads more like fiction, and it’s a great introduction into the lives of real 18th century English ladies. The book was also adapted into a BBC miniseries, shown in the US on Masterpiece Theatre, and now out on dvd:
    http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Serena-Gordon/dp/B000G6BM0K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1237641764&sr=1-2
    Lovely to look at, beautiful costumes and locations, but a little lacking in the drama. Still, does reinforce the old F.Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The rich are different from you and me.” No kidding! 🙂

    Reply
  54. Susan again:
    One more note I meant to include in this blog…
    The lives of the great-grandchildren of Charles and Louise — the third Duke of Richmond and his sisters — are wonderfully chronicled in “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard:
    (http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Caroline-Louisa-Lennox-1740-1832/dp/0374524475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237641671&sr=1-1)
    This collective biography reads more like fiction, and it’s a great introduction into the lives of real 18th century English ladies. The book was also adapted into a BBC miniseries, shown in the US on Masterpiece Theatre, and now out on dvd:
    http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Serena-Gordon/dp/B000G6BM0K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1237641764&sr=1-2
    Lovely to look at, beautiful costumes and locations, but a little lacking in the drama. Still, does reinforce the old F.Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The rich are different from you and me.” No kidding! 🙂

    Reply
  55. Susan again:
    One more note I meant to include in this blog…
    The lives of the great-grandchildren of Charles and Louise — the third Duke of Richmond and his sisters — are wonderfully chronicled in “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard:
    (http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Caroline-Louisa-Lennox-1740-1832/dp/0374524475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237641671&sr=1-1)
    This collective biography reads more like fiction, and it’s a great introduction into the lives of real 18th century English ladies. The book was also adapted into a BBC miniseries, shown in the US on Masterpiece Theatre, and now out on dvd:
    http://www.amazon.com/Aristocrats-Serena-Gordon/dp/B000G6BM0K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1237641764&sr=1-2
    Lovely to look at, beautiful costumes and locations, but a little lacking in the drama. Still, does reinforce the old F.Scott Fitzgerald quote: “The rich are different from you and me.” No kidding! 🙂

    Reply
  56. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  57. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  58. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  59. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  60. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  61. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  62. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  63. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  64. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  65. I love reading books about the English nobility. The history in this blog was fascinating. Please enter me in the drawing for the copy of ROYAL HARLOT.

    Reply
  66. Very interesting blog. I like reading about real people in history, and enjoy your books. Please enter me in the contest for the large type book.

    Reply
  67. Very interesting blog. I like reading about real people in history, and enjoy your books. Please enter me in the contest for the large type book.

    Reply
  68. Very interesting blog. I like reading about real people in history, and enjoy your books. Please enter me in the contest for the large type book.

    Reply
  69. Very interesting blog. I like reading about real people in history, and enjoy your books. Please enter me in the contest for the large type book.

    Reply
  70. Very interesting blog. I like reading about real people in history, and enjoy your books. Please enter me in the contest for the large type book.

    Reply
  71. The pictures in this post were really fun. I love seeing what the characters in books look like, especially when they were real. I always learn something from this blog.
    I’d like to be entered in the contest, please.

    Reply
  72. The pictures in this post were really fun. I love seeing what the characters in books look like, especially when they were real. I always learn something from this blog.
    I’d like to be entered in the contest, please.

    Reply
  73. The pictures in this post were really fun. I love seeing what the characters in books look like, especially when they were real. I always learn something from this blog.
    I’d like to be entered in the contest, please.

    Reply
  74. The pictures in this post were really fun. I love seeing what the characters in books look like, especially when they were real. I always learn something from this blog.
    I’d like to be entered in the contest, please.

    Reply
  75. The pictures in this post were really fun. I love seeing what the characters in books look like, especially when they were real. I always learn something from this blog.
    I’d like to be entered in the contest, please.

    Reply
  76. I remember that BBC series about the English aristocracy. They do the costume dramas up right, and that one was exceptional. I hadn’t made the connection between the characters in Aristocrats and your books, however. Good to know!
    Count me in to the contest, too.

    Reply
  77. I remember that BBC series about the English aristocracy. They do the costume dramas up right, and that one was exceptional. I hadn’t made the connection between the characters in Aristocrats and your books, however. Good to know!
    Count me in to the contest, too.

    Reply
  78. I remember that BBC series about the English aristocracy. They do the costume dramas up right, and that one was exceptional. I hadn’t made the connection between the characters in Aristocrats and your books, however. Good to know!
    Count me in to the contest, too.

    Reply
  79. I remember that BBC series about the English aristocracy. They do the costume dramas up right, and that one was exceptional. I hadn’t made the connection between the characters in Aristocrats and your books, however. Good to know!
    Count me in to the contest, too.

    Reply
  80. I remember that BBC series about the English aristocracy. They do the costume dramas up right, and that one was exceptional. I hadn’t made the connection between the characters in Aristocrats and your books, however. Good to know!
    Count me in to the contest, too.

    Reply
  81. I enjoyed this post, just as I enjoy your books. In theory I shouldn’t like Charles II at all. He’s such a dreadful rake and womanizer, which does not make good hero potential. But somehow you’ve managed to make him appealling, and I can see why so many women were in love with him. There’s something about his face in his portraits that’s very intriguing. I’m still not sure he’s a real hero with a capital H, but then what real kings are?
    Have you ever considered writing the Queen’s side of the story?

    Reply
  82. I enjoyed this post, just as I enjoy your books. In theory I shouldn’t like Charles II at all. He’s such a dreadful rake and womanizer, which does not make good hero potential. But somehow you’ve managed to make him appealling, and I can see why so many women were in love with him. There’s something about his face in his portraits that’s very intriguing. I’m still not sure he’s a real hero with a capital H, but then what real kings are?
    Have you ever considered writing the Queen’s side of the story?

    Reply
  83. I enjoyed this post, just as I enjoy your books. In theory I shouldn’t like Charles II at all. He’s such a dreadful rake and womanizer, which does not make good hero potential. But somehow you’ve managed to make him appealling, and I can see why so many women were in love with him. There’s something about his face in his portraits that’s very intriguing. I’m still not sure he’s a real hero with a capital H, but then what real kings are?
    Have you ever considered writing the Queen’s side of the story?

    Reply
  84. I enjoyed this post, just as I enjoy your books. In theory I shouldn’t like Charles II at all. He’s such a dreadful rake and womanizer, which does not make good hero potential. But somehow you’ve managed to make him appealling, and I can see why so many women were in love with him. There’s something about his face in his portraits that’s very intriguing. I’m still not sure he’s a real hero with a capital H, but then what real kings are?
    Have you ever considered writing the Queen’s side of the story?

    Reply
  85. I enjoyed this post, just as I enjoy your books. In theory I shouldn’t like Charles II at all. He’s such a dreadful rake and womanizer, which does not make good hero potential. But somehow you’ve managed to make him appealling, and I can see why so many women were in love with him. There’s something about his face in his portraits that’s very intriguing. I’m still not sure he’s a real hero with a capital H, but then what real kings are?
    Have you ever considered writing the Queen’s side of the story?

    Reply
  86. Very interesting and informative blog. Can’t say I care much for Charles II, but he was the king, and whatever the king says or/and does, goes.
    Please enter me for the contests. Thanks.

    Reply
  87. Very interesting and informative blog. Can’t say I care much for Charles II, but he was the king, and whatever the king says or/and does, goes.
    Please enter me for the contests. Thanks.

    Reply
  88. Very interesting and informative blog. Can’t say I care much for Charles II, but he was the king, and whatever the king says or/and does, goes.
    Please enter me for the contests. Thanks.

    Reply
  89. Very interesting and informative blog. Can’t say I care much for Charles II, but he was the king, and whatever the king says or/and does, goes.
    Please enter me for the contests. Thanks.

    Reply
  90. Very interesting and informative blog. Can’t say I care much for Charles II, but he was the king, and whatever the king says or/and does, goes.
    Please enter me for the contests. Thanks.

    Reply

Leave a Comment