Book Review:The King’s Bed: Ambition and Intimacy in the Court of Charles II

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Title: The King’s Bed: Sex and Power in the Court of Charles II

Authors: Don Jordon and Michael Walsh

Publisher:  Pegasus Books

Genre: Biography/Nonfiction

Pages: 368

Format: Hardback

Subject: Stuart Dynasty

Source: Borrowed copy from the library

Rating: 5 Stars

 

My Thought’s

The King’s bed is a nonfiction account of the private life of  King Charles II of England. 

The authors take us inside Charles’ palace, where we will meet court favorites, amusing confidants, advisors jockeying for political power, mistresses past and present as well as key figures in his inner circle such as his ‘pimpmasters’ and his personal pox doctor.

While reading this book I learned that this book was born out of the research that the authors were doing for “The King’s Revenge” which is the second book of theirs that just recently came out.  

I liked how this book  kept to the  subject,  only briefly touching on Charles I and the hunt for his regicides.

I would not classify this book as a biography on  Charles II  though it does talk a lot about his early life and other key moments that took place during Charles reign.  The authors mostly focuses on the women in Charles life,  this includes his wife Catherine of Braganza and his mistresses.

For people who are knowledgeable when it comes to Charles II reign I don’t think that your going to learn anything knew then you already know.  But I do think that for people just starting to learn about Charles I think this is a great start.

I really liked how this book was written.  Charles did have a lot of mistresses so it was hard for me to keep track of them all. 

I like how the authors wrote in chronological order from the women who Charles met at the beginning of his life and then later on towards the end.  You get a pretty good idea whose who and who played an important role in Charles life.   Like Lucy Walters who  gave birth to Charles  first son.

When I picked this book Up I thought that they were just going to talk about his mistresses,  but I was in for a pleasant surprise.  The  authors also went into great detail when it came to Catherine of Braganza. 

I always found Catherine to be a sympathetic figure.   I think that Charles cared for her, but he was not attracted to her.  I think that in some ways  he wanted her to be like his mistresses, but she was his wife/Queen she had act and appear in a different way, which in a way was a double edge sword for her.

 The book also talked about various other courtiers and advisers to Charles.  One being The 2nd Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers,  who is a colorful character in his own right.

I would highly recommend this if your looking for a good book on Charles II.

 

 

 

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1534: First Act of Supremacy

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One of the pivotal moments in Tudor history is the execution of Sir Thomas More.  Who was executed because he refused to recognize Henry VIII as supreme leader of the church of England.  He violated the Treason Act which stated that to disavow The Act of Supremacy and deprive the King of his “dignity, title, or name”  was to be considered treason.   Your probably wondering why I am bringing up Sir Thomas More and the circumstances of his death?

Today marks the anniversary  of the First Act of Supremacy which was passed by Parliament on November 3, 1534.  Thomas More is probably the well known figures to resist The Act of Supremacy. 

The Act of Supremacy  declared that the King  was “the only supreme head on earth of the church” and that the English crown  shall enjoy ” all honors, dignities, preeminence’s,  jurisdiction,  privileges,  authorities, immunities,  profits, and commodities to the said dignity.  The wording of the Act made clear that Parliament  was not granting  the King  the title (Thereby suggesting later that they had the right to withdraw it later)  Rather it was acknowledging  an established fact.

In the Act of Supremacy.  Henry abandoned Rome completely.  He thereby asserted the Independence of the Ecclesia Anglicana. He appointed  himself and his successors as the Supreme rulers  of the English church.

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The 1534 Act is often taken to mark the beginning of the English Reformation, although  other sources  suggest that it had been brewing  for more then a century.   There is a number of reasons for this act.  Primarily the need for Henry to obtain an annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, because she had not been successful in providing Henry with a son.  And because of Henry alleged misgivings about the legitimacy to his later brother ( Prince Arthur) wife.

Another reason was  that Pope Clement VII,  as he was virtual  prisoner  of Charles V, The Holy Roman Emperor  and Katherine’s nephew,  refused  to grant the annulment  because according  to  Roman Catholic teaching,  a validly contracted marriage is indivisible until death,  and thus the Pope cannot annual  a marriage  simply because of a canonical  impediment previously dispensed.

Later in 1537,  the Irish supremacy Act was passed by the Parliament of Ireland, establishing Henry VIII as the supreme head of the church of Ireland,  as earlier had been done in England.

Henry’s Act of Supremacy was repealed in 1554 in the reign of his staunchly Catholic daughter, Queen Mary I.   It was then later reinstated by Mary’s half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I.  

Sources:

Wikipedia

 Britain Express