Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a royal mistress of much decorum - a delightful entertaining book, 12 July 2008
This review is from: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant: The Life and Times of Henrietta Howard (Paperback)
Henrietta Howard (1688 - 1767), was the daughter of Sir Henry Hobart, a Norfolk landowner who was killed in a duel when Henrietta was still a child. Having become the ward of the Earl of Suffolk, she married his youngest son, Charles Howard, in 1706. The marriage was a very unhappy one as Charles was violent, a drunkard and squandering the few resources of the couple. She was able to acquire the respect to Princess Caroline of Ansbach, wife of the Electoral Prince George and future princess of Wales and Queen Consort. On the accession of George I she became a Woman of the Bedchamber and her husband was appointed to the household of the new king. Very unusual Henrietta managed to secure a legal separation, not a divorce, in 1723, but lost her only son to her husband. In June 1718 she became the Prince of Wales mistress and remained in this position for near 20 years, a position held with the approval of the Queen who tightly controlled the King and any influence on him. Being in the service of the Queen did leave Henrietta not much room for manoevre. After her husband had become quite unexpected the Earl of Suffolk and Henrietta the countess of Suffolk, in spite of being separated from him, she was appointed mistress of the robes of the Queen. However that signaled the slow end of her career at court. In 1734 she left the court, settled in her house at Twickenham, Marble Hill, married George Berkeley, younger son of the Earl of Berkeley in 1735, and lived the live of well to do countess, with a wide circle of influential friend like Alexander Pope or Horace Walpole. She was a well respected lady and a model of decorum.

Royal mistresses have always been a favorite subject for biographies or novels. Many royal mistresses are still well known and their scandalous antics are still well known and their semi-royal off-springs feature prominently in the peerage. Well Henrietta Howard, later to be the Countess of Suffolk, was in many ways different.

First she is not one of the very well known royal mistresses, maybe because her royal lover, King George II is equally not well known. He seems to have been one of the most boring royal ever to sit on the British throne. His reign seems to be a "forgotten one" and with him his mistress. But her position of a royal mistress was hardly attached to notion of scandal. It was known, but conducted with tact and under the tight control of Queen Caroline herself.

This excellent biography is a great study of the court life under George I and George II. It is a biography as well on George II and his Queen Caroline as much as on Henrietta. I value most how Tracy Borman clearly explains the position of women at this time and the inferior treatment they received in life, in the legal world. It is pure discrimination and one of the many reasons why the "good old times" where not as good as some want us to believe. Henrietta managed to escape the clutches of her husband, rather the exception than the rule. The book is written with a great flow, knowledge, sympathy but the necessary distance to the subject.

Alison Weir said "This is a delightful entertaining book". Yes, she is absolutely right. I hope you will enjoy as much as I did to meet this extraordinary woman, a royal mistress of much decorum.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Amelrode
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: Vilvoorde

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,932