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The King's Mistress: Scandal, Intrigue and the True Story of the Woman Who Stole George I's Heart Hardcover – 26 Apr 2012
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'Claudia Gold's opening chapters are hectic and brilliant, like the Keystone Cops with chandeliers, as she attempts to track these ever fluctuating liaisons and dignities' Daily Express. (Daily Express)
'Gold has produced a vivid and enjoyable biography that highlights the sympathetic side of Melusine's character, while acknowledging the acquisitiveness and lack of scruple that made her so unpopular' Spectator. (Spectator)
About the Author
Claudia Gold holds a Masters degree in medieval history. She has researched and written for a number of TV documentaries. Her first book, Queen, Empress, Concubine: Fifty Women Rulers from the Queen of Sheba to Catherine the Great was published by Quercus in 2009. She lives in London with her husband and their two children.
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Sorry, not a page-turner for me as I find the book very easy to put down.
She was born in Emden, just two miles from the North Sea, on Christmas Day in 1667, the daughter ofCount Gustav Adolph and his first wife, Petronilla Ottilia. Her family were minor aristocrats whose ennoblement dated from the thirteenth century. Melusine’s father entered the service of the Elector of Brandenburg, where he was successful in forging a career. His daughter Melusine was therefore a good candidate when Sophia, the wife of the Elector of Hanover, was looking for women to serve her daughter-in-law Sophia Dorothea, wife of George, the eldest son of Elector Ernst August. Not that Hanover was an Electorate until 1692, so it was paramount to those ruling there that that exalted status be maintained, and if possible, bettered. Sophia’s potential to succeed Queen Anne in England on her childless death meant that she had lineage; and the Hanoverian dynasty was determined to succeed politically as well.
The author writes well of Melusine; almost immediately upon her arrival at the court of Hanover in 1690 she appears to have become involved in a relationship with George. There is little to suggest how they might actually have felt about each other; they carefully did not write private or intimate matters down, to ensure that such things should not fall into the wrong hands. This is a pity, as there is little to explain how their relationship actually developed. It seems to have been a fait accompli very quickly, and lasted until George’s death, King of Great Britain, in 1727. Melusine lived until 1743. Melusine and George had three daughters together, and the relationship was so entrenched (although never publicly acknowledged) that Melusine went with the Court to England on the Hanoverian succession in 1714. There, she was quickly noticed as a powerful influence, and built strong and profitable relationships with those in political and cultural power. She was clearly a remarkable woman; loyal and steadfast, discreet, affectionate and learned enough to be sought out by some of the most powerful men of the age, including Walpole. While she was never really appreciated by the English population at large, who ridiculed her appearance and lampooned her relationship with their often less-than-beloved King, she appears to have been a woman who inspired trust and affection, and loyal support from those who worked with her. She was staunchly family-oriented and stood by her daughters, as well as her siblings.
This is a wonderful read; the author has succeeded admirably in placing Melusine, a shadowy figure, in her times, and affording us a viewing of her life as part of an important era in both German and British aspects of European history. Well worth reading for anyone seeking to understand more of George of Hanover, and his Melusine.
Well Melusine von der Schulenburg belonged to this category. Of a minor baronial house she became in a short period of time George I mistress and remained his partner for the rest of his life. She was a "double Duchess (of Munster and of Kendal, a princess of the Empire and mother of his daughters. So why do we not know her well? Why is she not one of those well known royal mistresses like those of Charles II?
Well, I suppose first of all she was only duchess for life, the titles were not transmitted to her offsprings, her daughters by the King were not recogniszed and these girls did not founded great noble houses whose members played an important part in history. On top: George's scandalous marriage (a lover of his wife murdered, the divorce and imprisonment of the ex-wife). The author however seems to belive that in the end George even married Melusine, but there is no prove and rather believe that they did not marry. Melusine was not a Madame de Maintenant, the morganatic and "open-secret" second wife of Luois XIV of France.
The author has done a great job rescuing Melusine and putting her back into the rightful place as George's partner. The book is written with great style and flow. It is never boring and gives a great inside into her life. I enjoyed reading it.
However, I have a few misgivings: the first part of the book dealing with Melusine's backgroudn is fairly week. She does not even give the maiden name of her mother. There are a few, even if minor errors and the photos could have been more extensive.
All in all, a book I can recommended. It makes a wonderful addition to my ever expanding collection of books on the British royal famliy.
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