From elegant Madame de Pompadour to outrageous Lola Montez, royal paramours have differed as greatly as the kings and princes they kept company. In "Cupid and the King", Princess Michael of Kent recounts the stories of five extraordinary women, each of whom became a celebrated, or notorious courtesan. Nell Gwyn was a bawdy, vivacious orange seller-turned actress when she became the favourite of Charles II and endeared herself to the public with her wit and down-to-earth manner. Flamboyant Lola Montez was an Irish beauty who reinvented herself as a Spanish aristocrat and won the heart of Ludwig I of Bavaria, scandalizing the Victorian world with her antics. Marie Waleska initially became the mistress of Napoleon in the hope of influencing him to save Poland, and their affair, which produced a son, developed into a deep, lasting friendship. Beautiful British actress Lillie Langtry became the most famous lover of Prince Edward, later Edward VII. Madame de Pompadour, the elegant chatelaine of Louis XV, became one of the great art patrons of her time, but her alleged extravagance enraged the people of France.
Frank yet sympathetic, and filled with astonishing, little-known facts, "Cupid and the King" takes readers on a fascinating journey into a controversial and neglected area of royal history.