Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics by Eleanor Herman

16179I saw this book at Barnes & Noble while looking for something else and decided to grab it from the library. I was clearly still on my monarchy kick from my trip to London and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This book is a companion and/or sequel to the author’s Sex With Kings book, which seems to have gotten good reviews.

Sex with the Queen was an enjoyable read, though it lags at times. Several of the chapter-long anecdotes were well-known to me, such as the wives of Henry VIII; others I wasn’t as familiar with. The focus of the book is not sex between the King and his wife the Queen, but the extramarital sex she was having and the reasons for it. After introducing us to royal life and how most princesses were brought to a foreign country with no friends, the book proceeds with case studies about various royal women. It’s broken up by century, starting with the medieval queens and ending with Diana, Princess of Wales (who had far more affairs that I was aware of). The length of the particular queen’s case study seems to be directly related to the source material available, not necessarily the queen’s significance to history or the significance of the affair.

It’s a fairly quick read, though I stalled out during the chapter on Catherine the Great. She was having sex with a LOT of men and it got very tedious to read about. The author also loves to paint mental pictures with her words, which may or may not be based in fact and squicked me out on more than one occasion. I guess, like one’s parents, I don’t like to think about certain historical figures having crazy and/or disturbing sex.

Unfortunately, the Olympics tripped me up and it took me far longer to finish this book than it should. I have to return it along with the next two on my list so I don’t get a library fine. Next time, I’ll have to request them one at a time from inter-library loan. Lesson learned!

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