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The Most Notorious Womanizer King in History

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Ravi loves writing within the cusp of relationships, history, and the bizarre, where boundaries are blurred and possibilities are immense.

There were many reasons that King Charles II of Britain was also called the “merry monarch.” But one of the main reasons was his compulsive womanizing.

There were many reasons that King Charles II of Britain was also called the “merry monarch.” But one of the main reasons was his compulsive womanizing.

There were many reasons, Charles II (1660-1685) of Britain was known as the "merry monarch."

To begin with, he was the symbol of Restoration England, following 11 years of unrest and instability that ended with the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland when Charles II ascended the throne. Without Charles’ royal patronage there would have been no St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington Palace, Chelsea Royal Hospital, or even No. 10 Downing Street.

And, at a personal level, Charles was a people’s king: witty, generous, and immensely accessible. He never even once lost touch with the common people or his enormous popularity. Charles II was sporty, handsome, and smart and soon captured the public imagination he reinstated Christmas, makeup, sports, and even theatre.

But having said that, his biggest weakness in life were women and more than his other achievements Charles is best known today for his prolific love life and the bevy of mistresses he had cultivated since the age of 16. From high-born ladies to lowly milkmaids, he was a compulsive womanizer who loved women, particularly women who are witty both in words and in the bed.

It was not known exactly the number of women Charles bedded in his lifetime but the man knew no sleep as he could call upon a mistress in the afternoon, visit the queen in the evening, bed another mistress in the evening, and finally end the night at a brothel after that. Indeed, his personal motto in life was quite simple.

“God will never damn a man for allowing himself a little pleasure.”

Charles II had officially married Catherine of Braganza but it was an unhappy marriage due to the king's womanizing ways.

Charles II had officially married Catherine of Braganza but it was an unhappy marriage due to the king's womanizing ways.

The Story of Charles II

Charles II was born on 29 May 1630, to King Charles I and his French-Catholic wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. Charles had a turbulent childhood and was soon forced to exile as civil war broke between his father Charles I’s forces and the parliament led by Oliver Cromwell. Charles, I lost the war after a brief but gallant attempt to rally his troops, fled, and finally was killed in 1649.

In 1658, however, Cromwell died and events took a decisive turn when George Monck, one of Cromwell's generals, marched his army from Scotland to London in January of 1660, unseated the Parliament, and invited Charles II home again. Charles finally returned home to a wild and rapturous welcome.

He was 30 years old, young, handsome, witty, and a compulsive womanizer since the age of 15.

Charles was so much infatuated with Barbara Villiers that she went on to become the first ‘Royal mistress” of England

Charles was so much infatuated with Barbara Villiers that she went on to become the first ‘Royal mistress” of England

Charles II Was a Compulsive Womanizer

Charles’s experiences with women started quite early in life when at 15 when he was seduced by his former wet nurse, Christabella Wyndham, the wife of the royalist governor of Bridgewater.

It was supposedly a one-night stand, but it was a start to a long list of mistresses from France to England. A year later he seduced Margaret de Carteret, the daughter of a local aristocrat in France who bore him a child. He was Charles’s first bastard.

Later, during his extensive travels in Holland, Germany, and Spain, Charles had numerous affairs with women with unconfirmed reports even going up to 17-18 mistresses at that point in time.

Charles obliged every woman happily as the tales of his fornication, drunkenness, and adultery were blatantly advertised by his enemies. By the time he returned to England as King, he had at least 3 confirmed royal bastards, all through the daughters of exiled supporters of Charles I.

Nell Gwyn was an actress who became yet another favorite of Charles II and was promoted to the title of "royal mistress"

Nell Gwyn was an actress who became yet another favorite of Charles II and was promoted to the title of "royal mistress"

Charles II Treated His Women Well

It was at this time he met the beautiful seductress Barbara Villiers. Charles was so much infatuated by her good looks and simmering sexuality, that she continued to stay in his life and went on to become the first ‘Royal mistress” of England staying in the palace itself.

Barbara was an expert in exotic sexual positions and soon she outperformed all her rivals to becomes Charles’s favorite concubine, becoming his regular bed partner in the royal chambers.

She was the first royal mistress. Later, Charles would take two more ladies, Nell Gwyn an actress, and Louise de Keroualle, a French noblewoman and promote them as royal mistresses staying in the palace along with his official long-suffering Portuguese wife Catherine of Braganza.

These were also the women who were generously rewarded by Charles for their services with titles, houses, estates, incomes, and jewels, and political power. Luckily for them, Charles never abandoned them, no matter how many other women he was sleeping with. He retained ‘equal’ affection for them, his children while continuing his amorous activities.

Louise de Keroualle, a French noblewoman was another woman who became the favorite of Charles II

Louise de Keroualle, a French noblewoman was another woman who became the favorite of Charles II

Charles II Had No Legitimate Descendants

At the peak of his sexual prowess, the king also appointed William Chiffinch as his ‘page and keeper of the closet’. William Chiffinch wielded enormous powers as his job was to act as a ‘confidential go-between in every kind of ‘illicit affair’ of the King. He soon earned the nickname of the ‘royal pimp master ‘for his role in discreetly handling and organizing the king’s steamy affairs.

And perhaps his greatest irony in life was that he had no legitimate descendants. Yes, while he sired at least 14 known royal bastards(whom he acknowledged with titles), his wife never bore him a legitimate child and heir and the crown thus passed to his incompetent brother James II.

On Sunday, Feb. 1, 1685, Charles breathed his last after days of illness. He begged pardon to his wife and brother and urged the latter to look after his mistresses mouthing his famous last words,

“Do not let poor Nelly (Nell Gwyn) starve.”

Today out of the 26 dukes in England, five are direct descendants of Charles II and his mistresses. His extramarital activities were also responsible for several marquises and earls. Charles II was undoubtedly a shameless womanizer and England never again had a ruler as merry as Charles, the "merry monarch".

Sources

© 2021 Ravi Rajan

Comments

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 09, 2021:

Thanks Miebakagh

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 09, 2021:

Thanks Flourish

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 09, 2021:

Interestly enough, they're duke, and prince who are stained along the line, in the same history.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 09, 2021:

Interesting that so many current earls, dukes, etc. hail from this history. His behavior is detestable.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 08, 2021:

Interesting article and I had no idea about the most notorious womanizer king in history!

Thank you for sharing these unique parts of history!

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 08, 2021:

Thanks Devika

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 08, 2021:

Interesting topic I like the history lessons you share with us here. Writing is a gift and you have that in you.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 08, 2021:

Thanks

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on June 08, 2021:

Thanks

Nayanjyoti Mirdha on June 08, 2021:

Interesting content.

Keep writing!!!

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