Showing posts from August, 2008

Royal Mistresses: Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester

'Good God, who would have thought that we three whores should have met here!' The Countess of Dorchester , mistress of James Ii on encountering the Duchess of Portsmouth ,mistress of Charles II, and the Countess of Orkney, mistress of William III, at the coronation of George I, October 20, 1714 Poor James II, he gets no love, not from his people, his daughters, or from biographers. And the same for his mistresses as well, apart from Anne Hyde, the daughter of the Earl of Clarendon, who he married in 1660 after being forced into it by his brother Charles II, who took the view that James 'must drink as he has brewed.' Over the 11 years of their most unhappy marriage, she bore him 8 children, only two of whom lived, the future Mary II, and Queen Anne. But James had many mistresses, in fact he was as big of a rake as his brother Charles II. He was taller, handsomer, if somewhat dimmer than his brother. While Charles was swarthy, favoring his Bourbon ancestors, James was fa

Princess Pushy: The Fabulous Life of Princess Michael of Kent

She's tall, blonde and striking, married to a handsome prince, a member of The Royal Family. She's also haughty, gaffe (she once complained "The English distrust foreigners, they think the wogs begin at Calais") prone, and been linked to other men. Princess Anne dubbed her 'Princess Pushy' and the Queen once remarked mischievously to her husband's uncle, Lord Mountbatten 'that she sounds a bit grand to us.' Also known amongst the Royal Family as "Our Val" for Valkryie, Princess Margaret's son was said when asked what he would wish on his worst enemy, 'Dinner with Princess Michael of Kent.' The media have dubbed her the "Rent-a-Kents," for their habit of turning up at the opening of an envelope. Who is this woman that has provoked such a sharp reaction in both the establishment and the media? How did the wife of a minor royal become such a lighting rod for bad behavior in a family where Prince Charles's youngest s

The Polls Are In!

And it's Mata Hari by 11 votes! There were 7 votes each for both Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni and Elizabeth Bathory, as well as 6 votes apiece for Sarah Bernhardt and Pope Joan. So look forward to a post on Mata Hari: Spy or Innocent Victim? in September, along with a post on Boudicca and Eva Peron.

Uncivil Wars: Lillian Hellman vs. Mary McCarthy and the Question of Julia

Author Lillian Hellman Everyone’s memory is tricky and mine’s a little trickier than most --- Lillian Hellman “A foremost literary fabulator of her generation, Lillian Hellman invented her life, so that by the end even she was uncertain about what had been true,” Joan Mellen. In January 1980, a seemingly off the cuff remark by Mary McCarthy regarding Lillian Hellman sparked off a literary feud and a debate about truth, particularly in memoirs, that has raged on till this day. McCarthy was a guest on the Dick Cavett show on PBS. The interview was begging to flag when Cavett asked McCarthy what writers she thought were overrated. Among the writers that she mentioned were Pearl S. Buck, John Steinbeck and Hellman who McCarthy said, "who I think is tremendously overrated, a bad writer, a dishonest writer, but she really belongs to the past." Cavett, of course, asked McCarthy what was overrated about Hellman. McCarthy replied that "Everything. I once said in an interview tha

New Poll Up!

I've just put up a new poll to get your feedback on what Scandalous Women you want to see featured on the blog in the next few weeks. Coming up in October, I will be doing Tudor Month (which may kill me!) where I will be featuring some of the most scandalous women of that era, including Bess of Hardwick, Bloody Mary and Lettice Knollys.