Title: The King’s Bed: Sex and Power in the Court of Charles II
Authors: Don Jordon and Michael Walsh
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Subject: Stuart Dynasty
Source: Borrowed copy from the library
Rating: 5 Stars
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.