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A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or an heir apparent. Some mistresses have had considerable power; such mistresses have sometimes been referred to as the "power behind the throne". The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space for the monarch's personal preferences in the choice of a mate.

In European history the children of mistresses were not normally included in the line of succession, except perhaps when secret marriages were alleged. Hence the Monmouth Rebellion when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth claimed the thrones of England and Scotland on the grounds that his mother had been the wife, rather than a mistress, of Charles II.


Royal mistresses in English historyEdit

Royal mistresses in Scottish historyEdit

Royal mistresses in British historyEdit

Royal mistresses in European historyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Mary Scott". Oxford dictionary of national biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 5 May 2010.

Further readingEdit

  • Friedman, Dennis. (2003). Ladies of the Bedchamber:The Role of the Royal Mistress. U.K: Peter Owen Publishers. ISBN 0-7206-1244-6
  • Powell, Roger. (2010). ROYAL SEX: Mistresses and the Lovers of the British Royal Family. Amberley. ISBN 1-84868-212-3
  • Carlton, Charles. (1990). Royal Mistresses. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-00769-6
  • Cawthorne, Nigel. (1994). The Sex Lives of the Kings and Queens of England: from Henry VIII to the present day. Prion. ISBN 1-85375-139-1