- Education and Science
Royal Romps and Rumpy Pumpy
Royalty - kings and queens through the ages and their romps in private life
I really have to share this book with you. I've always been interested in the lives of royalty - both today's regal families and the monarchs of days gone by.
When I bought this book, I thought it was yet another fascinating book about the history of some of the characters that I'm so interested in such as Henry the Eighth (and all the wives he disposed of), Elizabeth the First and so on, but it turns out that this is a completely hilarious book about the 'seamier' side of royalty.
It covers nine hundred years of kings, queens, their lovers and their mistresses. If you like a chuckle - and a touch of light-hearted scandal - this is really a book you'll truly enjoy.What amazing stories they are. And author Eleanor Herman writes in a style that has me laughing every time I pick up the book.
There were queens who were very casual with their favors, queens who were just the opposite and would have preferred to be nuns, kings who either had no interest at all or couldn't think about anything else and of course, kings who were actually what we would call 'queens' today.
A must read
Have you ever looked at history books and thought what stuffy and restrained lives monarchy must have lived? You're in for a surprise. This book is incredibly well researched and the author is actually related to most of the European royal families of past and present. What's more, it's written in a truly funny and entertaining way.
Scandals, sires and strumpets
The book you see here explains that royal marriages in earlier days were invariably arranged and were created for primarily political reasons. This means that the bride and groom sometimes hadn't even clapped eyes on each other until they met at the altar. (And I use the word 'clap' advisedly - many of the upper echelons were prone to ailments caused by excessive rumpy pumpy.)
So it's easy to see that many of these liaisons weren't exactly conducive to marital bliss.
Just one story from the book
One of the splendid things about this book is that each regal series of indiscretions is given its own chapter so it's the sort of book you can dip into at will. (Willy nilly, in fact). And many of the stories cannot be reproduced here - after all, this is a family show.
However, to give you a flavor, one of my favorite (and publishable) stories from the book is that of Princess Maria Francisca who in the seventeenth century was just eighteen years old and betrothed, sight unseen, to the ruler of Portugal, Alfonso VI.
She had heard quite a lot about her husband-to-be. Some said that he was physically deformed. Other told her that he was quite negligible in the brain department (which is a nice way of saying completely nuts).
She heard that he was unlikely to be able to perform his intimate marital duties and that he was remarkably fat.
However, the young girl relished the idea of being a queen and as her intended was only a couple of years older than her, how bad could he be? Worse than she'd been told, as it happens.Her ship arrived in Lisbon and she was eager to see her new husband.
He wasn't there to greet her but was hiding in his palace. The marital four poster was the last thing he wanted. But he knew that he had to marry to keep his throne.Maria couldn't understand why her new husband didn't join her in her boudoir. She was attractive.
She'd heard that he was behind the door when they were giving out manliness but she also was told that he had a daughter born out of wedlock. (In fact, Alfonso had found a child that slightly resembled him and paid her mother to spread the rumor that he was the father). Maria, disappointed and eager for love, found comfort with Alfonso's younger brother Pedro, a tall, dark and handsome young man - and the rest was literally history.
Maria had no luck with her lack-luster husband
After a year of this nonsense, and with Alfonso now accepted as being a crackpot, Maria successfully had her marriage annulled and the government of the day pleaded with her and Pedro to marry and rule the country; exactly as the couple had wished.
Alfonso was placed in ‘genteel confinement’ and Pedro, gallant knight that he was, declared that he would be regent only and not rule until after Alfonso’s death.
The country applauded his gallantry and family feeling, unaware that Pedro was making sure that his brother received unlimited amounts of alcohol in the hopes that his greed would bring about a hasty demise.
Eventually though, it was his love of food that was his downfall. He was so huge that he rarely arose from his bed. It was required that he hear mass every morning but insisted that this was done at the foot of his bed and that he wasn't woken up.
He rarely left his bed and when he did he had trouble getting through doors. In fact, if he couldn't be bothered to move, he’d simply lie down and his courtiers and servants would roll him from place to place. The mental image of this almost has me on the floor rolling around in laughter!
I can't wait to read more books by Eleanor Herman. She is completely nuts, in the best possible way. This book was the first in the series and next on my list to read. Here, she is looking at the marital monarchy situation concentrating on the males and their dalliances and mistresses. Like the book above, this is up to the minute with a chapter about Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.
Blackadder DVDs - more historical laughs, fun and games.
When this first appeared on British television in 1983, it was shown every Thursday evening at 9pm. It's a strong testament that I remember the exact time! We'd set the VCR (yes, it was a long time ago) and watch the tapes over and over again. To this day I can watch them over and over again and know hundreds of quotes from the episodes. Lovers of British comedy must have these in their collection.
Nine hundred years
I mentioned that this book covers a huge period of time. How up-to-date does it go? Here's the answer - the story about Diana, Princess of Wales, is a fascinating chapter in itself.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson