In 1898, the youngest daughter of a Scottish retired admiral and MP emerged from obscurity to become the publicly acknowledged mistress of the portly, fun-loving Prince of Wales, later crowned Edward VII. Hailed as one of the beauties of the "naughty nineties", Alice Keppel became a leader of the fashionable set, and as The Hon. Mrs George Keppel was one of the best-known society hostesses of the Edwardian era. The author of this study tells Alice's story against the backdrop of tempestuous world events, a racy royal court and an age of aristocratic adultery and mindless pleasure-seeking. The result is a portrait of a woman who loved, and was loved by, the king. At the same time that he met Alice Keppel, the Prince of Wales embarked on another close friendship, this time with Agnes Keyser, the daughter of a prominent member of the Stock Exchange. A financially independent and unconventional woman, Agnes defied social expectations by not marrying, and instead becoming involved in hospital charity work as a founder, with her sister, of the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers, first opened at her London home near Hyde Park. The relationship between Agnes and the King, enjoyed in parallel with Edward's affair with Alice Keppel, was much less in the public eye and less demonstrative, but their loving companionship, mutual support and intellectual exchange was just as important. For 12 years, she provided the King with an affection that often supplanted that of Alice Keppel, and was accepted by the royal family in a way that Alice was not. This volume examines the lives of the two women, their love for the monarch and the role they played in the declining years of one of the most active royal courts in Europe. The author reveals the two womens' separate, and often underrated, roles in politics and diplomacy.