I love this kind of history.
By Christine Adams and Tracy Adams
When Louis XV of France elevated Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, later the Marquise de Pompadour, to the position of royal mistress in 1745, courtiers were shocked; the Duke of Luynes wrote that she could only be agalanterie(fling), not a mistress. It was inconceivable that a woman from a bourgeois background, “whose mother is named Mme Poisson” (French for fish) could be the nextmaîtresse déclaréeof the king.But while the tradition of choosing the royal mistress from among aristocratic ladies of the court came to an end with Pompadour’s elevation, she stepped into a position that had, by the eighteenth century, a long genealogy. Rulers throughout the world had always had extra-conjugal sexual partners; history is replete with stories of powerful mistresses and concubines.But only in early modern France did the royal mistress become a tradition, a quasi-institutionalized political position…
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