I adore Queen Elizabeth II.
Many people have lauded QE2 for her scandal-free life. Her kids have scandals and her relatives have scandals and her husband gets in trouble for gaffes (i.e. he says racist, stupid things sometimes), but the Queen does none of that. Queen Victoria has had more ‘sex scandals’ than Queen Elizabeth.
Let that sink in.
But morality and propriety are not the sum of Queen Elizabeth. The woman has a good brain and a backbone of steel. For that, lets also give some credit to the strong-minded jezebels who make up a portion of her lineage.
Like Queen Elizabeth I, the current Queen Elizabeth has a Boleyn in her family tree, inasmuch as she is descended from Mary Boleyn, who is one of the women discussed in The Jezebel Effect: Why the Slut Shaming of Famous Historical Queens Still Matters. As I explain:
“Mary Boleyn has been erroneously and viscously slut shamed … because she is rumored to have been the lover of both the king of France and the king of England, and because of spurious accusations that she had sex with other French courtiers [but] the “evidence” of her affair is ridiculously scant … Mary was only in France for six months, from the fall of 1514 to the spring of 1515. She would have been a well-born virgin in her mid-teens and thus would have been under intense chaperonage … If the French king had deflowered Mary, the young daughter of … [an] ambassador, it would have raised some dust vis-à-vis diplomacy … At the very least the Francis would have had to have given Mary a nice gift for her dowry or made a present to her father. Let’s also not forget that Francis I became King in January 1515, but at no time in the years following his coronation was Mary Boleyn ever listed by a contemporary as one of his mistresses … It was only during the height of Anne Boleyn’s unpopularity and demonization that Mary became the “great slut”. Out of the blue people started claiming that Francis I had called her his “English Mare” because he had “ridden” her so much … as far as historical evidence suggests, Mary shared her favors with three men in the course of her lifetime, two of whom were married to her at the time [the other being Henry VIII]. That is hardly promiscuity … Perhaps the real sluttiness of Mary Boleyn is the fact that she, in an age which demanded compliance of women, was noncompliant? She married for love in defiance of kinship and protocol. She chose happiness over wealth and fame. She rebelled, she was a troublemaker, and she considered her own needs to be important. She was, in short, her own person determined to live her own life. As a result, to this day she is remembered and frequently depicted as the slutty and slightly dim older sister of a famous queen, a “mare” to be “ridden” by any man.”
In the summer of 1806, Anne married Sir William Abdy, 7th Baronet, and in the autumn of 1815 she eloped with one of his friends, Lord Charles Bentinck, the younger son of former British Prime Minister William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland. The scandal was immense, and was in almost every newspaper in the land.
Angry and humiliated, Abdy took Betntinck to court for adultery, which was known by the polite euphemism of criminal conversation, and won seven thousand pounds in “damages” from Lord Bentinck for absconding with Abdy’s “property” (his wife). After Abdy divorced her, Anne and Charles were able to marry on on 23 July 1816 — just in time for their first daughter to be born in wedlock. The happy couple had 4 children in total, and their oldest son, Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck, is Queen Elizabeth’s maternal great-grandfather.
Perhaps most intriguingly of all is the fact that via Anne Wellesley, the queen is descended from a French actress and courtesan named Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland.
She was mistress to Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley. Following years of happy co-habitation and 5 children, Hyacinthe and Richard married in 1794, after which Richard made sure their offspring were legitimized. Hyacinthe was miserable in London, desperately homesick for Paris and ostracized by members of the beau monde. Lady Caroline Lamb, who would one day cause a scandal herself by taking Lord Byron as a lover, “was warned by her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Milbanke, a noted judge of what was socially acceptable, that no respectable woman could afford to be seen in Hyacinthe’s society.”
I find it absolutely marvelous that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, is the great-great-great-granddaughter of a low-born French harlot as much as she is the great-great-great-granddaughter of King George III.