The Merry Sex Life of Charles II
No one knows the exact number of women, King Charles II of Britain had sex with, in his lifetime.
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.”
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’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 on, 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.
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 ‘sixteen 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.
And 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.’
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I am an executive who likes spending time reading and writing about almost everything under the sun.I love writing within the cusp of relationships, history, and creativity where boundaries are blurred, and possibilities are immense.