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The Curse of Beauty: The Famous Mistresses in History

Updated on February 24, 2012

In the wedding vows, the wife promised to cherish and stay with her husband against all odds of life. This may not sound too interesting to you especially if there’s a hot , sizzling and gorgeous mistress who becomes your best companion. It may either be in your office, at the back of your car, in a bed at her home for a wild and peppery love-making which you can consider as a break from a monotonous routine in your married life. Kindly wipe that sly grin off your face! While these women did more harm than good to their masters, those who were attached to famous names shared an enjoyable amount of recognition and publicity. After all, not all get to play around with Kings, Presidents and Ministers. Most of the infamous mistresses of all time influenced the great men in the world in shaping mankind. They have managed to reserve a page in history, magazines, books and newspapers becoming the hot item in gossips , controversies and scandals. The following names were but a few of the famous mistresses in the annals of history from the time of Julius Caesar to date. Read on, learn and decide if they should be loved or hated.

Servilia Caepionis was Julius Caesar’s mistress who lived in Rome in 112 B.C. and died after 42 B.C. She was the mother of Brutus and mother-in-law of Cassius, both men were assassins of the Great Dictator who was prophesied to die on the Ides of March ( 15 March ). She was of royal blood and married at a young age and divorced after a few years living her with a son. She was a few years older than Caesar but was very beautiful, intelligent and influential. History has it that after winning one of the famous wars of the dictator, she was presented a priceless black pearl. Servilia was very bold and modern for her time because she did not behave like any typical Roman women. If she wanted to see Caesar, she will make it known to him thus making their affair public. Beside Servilia, Julius Caesar was very famous for his affair with the Serpent of the Nile and the last Pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra. She bore him a son named Caesarion in the hope of ruling both Rome and Egypt. Cleopatra was described as a wise and intelligent ruler and whose prowess in bed made her irresistible. Her “bath rituals” using milk made her very famous and her vanity influenced even women of the modern times. The assassination of Julius Caesar and the untimely death of her son, Caesarion brought her so much grief and desperation that she decided to end her life through the poisonous bite of an asp.

Anne Boleyn, mother to the iconic queen of England and the last of the Tudor dynasty, Elizabeth I, was a lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She was the daughter of a poor knight and her other sister Mary, became the king’s mistress before her. She was described as swarthy, slender but a wise and influential woman for her time. Unlike the other ladies-in-waiting in the palace, she did not surrender her womanhood to the king right away which served as a challenge to the king’s lustful apetite for women. The king fell in love with her and wrote her several love letters and his yearning for Anne Boleyn made him divorced the long suffering Catherine of Aragon. The divorce separated the country religiously and politically. Since the Pope won’t grant the divorce between Henry and Catherine, the former married Anne in secret thus, receiving an excommunication from Vatican. In the hope of having a male heir which Anne failed to produce, the king began to eye for another affair. This started their quarrels and miscarriages. Anne was viewed as a threat to some of the royalties in the palace and they decided to stage a story that the “queen” was having an incestuous affair with her brother thus causing both of them to lose their heads.

Still in England, if Henry VIII was famous for his “Merry Wives of Windsor”, Charles II was an extraordinarily active monarch who ran more than one mistress at a time and made no secret of his 14 illegitimate children. The infamous Nell Gwynne, a theatre orange-seller who became an actress, was one of the long-time lady companions of the king. She was described as having a wicked sense of humor and a foul mouth. What made her endearing to Charles despite her lowly background was she was faithful and committed to the King that one time she punched the Duke of Buckingham to the ear when the latter tried to kiss her. When Nell used her influence over Charles it was often for the cause of others. It was even said that on his deathbed, the King requested his successor to look after his mistress and not to let her starve. She died of smallpox in 1687 at a young age of 33 and was considered by her people as a good-natured girl from the slums who truly loved the king. Lillie Langtry or the” Jersey Lily “ was a famous actress in London and became one of Edward VII’s mistresses. In France, Napoleon the Great boasted a number of mistresses with extraordinary beauties. Countess Marie Walewski was the Polish wife of Count Athanasius. Her beauty aroused passions and charm to the Emperor and their affair bore him a son who later became a French statesman. Pauline Bellisle Foures was the wife of a French junior officer and became Napoleon’s Cleopatra in retaliation to Empress Josephine’s infidelity. Also in France, Jeanne Antoinette-Poisson a.k.a Madame de Pompadour, was a famous courtesan and mistress to King Louis XV.

The leaders of the 20th century, famous and infamous alike, shared a lists of their tempestuous affairs. Carrie Phillips was the long time mistress of President Warren Harding who successfully blackmailed the Republican Party earning travel money and a stipend for life to keep her silence. Lucy Mercer, a secretary to President Franklin D. Roosevelt almost caused the divorce with Eleanor when the latter discovered the love letters to each other.They still continued to keep in touch until his death in 1945. Eva Braun’s short-lived affair with Adolf Hitler made her famous because of the latter’s atrocities during the second World War. Carla Petacci , an upper-class Roman beauty became a mistress to Il Duce Benito Mussolini. Both their dead bodies were hang in the plaza to be shown and mocked upon by mobs. The controversial affair of Marilyn Monroe to JFK and RFK led to their deaths in the 60’s. Monica Lewinsky’s confession led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in the 90’s. The ongoing relationship of Prince Charles and Camille-Parker Bowles led to the divorce of the former to Princess Diana, thus causing her depression and anxiety . Her sudden death in 1987 was still clouded with an aura of mystery. I can go on all day with the names of mistresses and their influences. I wrote this article not to judge this women but to open our eyes that this gender played a big part in some of the major decisions made by our great leaders, both young and old alike. You can love them, hate them, or not feel anything at all, but one thing’s for sure, they’re real people like us who commits mistake and though judged by others as loose, bad and without dignity, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and check if we don’t have any dirt on our faces.

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    • AJRG profile image

      Alice Gordon 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      The affair of Eva Braun and Hitler was kind of long and she died for him. What was worse, genetic testing showed that she has Jewish ancestors that she did not know about.

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      TJ 3 years ago

      "The controversial affair of Marilyn Monroe to JFK and RFK led to their deaths in the 60’s" ?

      Really? What facts do you have to back that up?

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      DJL 4 years ago

      Diana died in 97 not 87 so do your research and get a proof reader