Book review for "Sex with kings"

Herman takes his readers on a delightful walk through history and gives us an insight into what it’s like to have sex with kings. Masterfully written and easy to read, the story comes to life in ways the reader might not expect.

Herman takes a look at some of the most famous kings in history: Charles VII of France, Francois I, Henry II, Louis XIV, and Louis XV. It also gives us a look at the English kings, including Edward III, Henry VIII, Charles II, and even Prince Charles.

Sex with kings was an art and no one was more skilled than royal mistresses. Herman points out that kings used to give their hearts to their lovers; their wives were rarely treated with the same affection. Louis XIV fell in love with his last mistress, Madame de Maintenon, while she served as governess to the children he had with his second mistress, Madame de Montespan. While he was fond of his wife, it was not the great passion he reserved for his lovers.

There was a lot to consider if one was to have sex with a king. The first consideration was the fine art of giving him pleasure. The lover had to appeal to her sensual side. Their wives were seldom chosen for their sensuality. Henry II of France clearly preferred Diane de Poitiers over his wife, Catherine de Medici. After nine years of marriage, Henri still had not had a child with his wife because he spent a lot of time with Diane. An agreement was reached where Diane would work with Henri and then send him to Catherine to finish the job.

The lovers had appearances to preserve. Generally, they did not scold or launch attacks. They were always in a good mood, even if they weren’t. They never frowned. They had to enjoy the king’s pastimes, even if they didn’t. After all, the benefits outweighed the discomfort.

Mistresses were generally well paid. The king provided her with everything she needed or wanted, and generally took care of the bastard children. Herman points out that the children the king used to have with his lovers were healthy and prospered. The children with his wife were generally sicker. This was due to the fact that the royal bloodlines were intermingled. Marie-Theresa, the wife of Louis XIV, was a sickly woman of short stature due to the inbreeding of her family. Of her six children, only one reached adulthood, and she resembled her mother in her dull and unattractive appearance.

The lovers were provided with jewelry, apartments, real estate, and titles. Most knew better than to get involved in political intrigues with the king, but some tried. Diane de Poitiers was about to lead the government of Henry II, but her grandson, Louis XIV, did not mind that his lovers were actively involved in his political life.

The book ends with Herman taking a look at modern lovers, Wallis Simpson and Camilla Parker-Bowles. While times change, the appeal of having a lover doesn’t.

Herman’s writing is energetic and crisp. His anecdotes about the different kings throughout history are interesting. The book includes several color portraits of various royal lovers and a reader’s guide to help satisfy the demanding reader. “Sex with Kings” is a hard book to put down.

“Sex with kings”

Written By: Eleanor Herman

Harper Collins Editors

ISBN: 978-0-06-058544-0

$ 13.95

5 stars

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