Tell me something in the so called "regency" era of British history did the titled and royal set play around as much as the silly romance books claim they did

And were women as amendable to being a "kept woman " if they found someone that could afford to do so?

The reason is I just finished one where the setup is lord whats his name and the plucky assertive heroine (whos also a dreamy romantic) who works in a bookstore has a meet-cute where he’s a pompous ass and she gives him what for and he’s intrigued and sets up a series of incidents and accidents and its twue wuv after 6 or so chapters but what’s shocking is he’s in an arranged marriage to bail out another noble family whos on the financial downside in exchange for merging the titles when the offspring is born

Now the thing is book girl knows this is going to happen she’s pretty much resigned to the situation and her and the bride-to-be have a tense meeting where they discuss how the arrangement usually works as the bride knows shes is pretty much being sold off …

And when a friend of book girls inquires about whats going to happen after the wedding she all " well he had me pick out a nice little house with room for expanding the family and provide staff for the upkeep in a fashionable part of town and he’s going to let me work at the store to keep up appearances but I won’t see him until after the wedding and honeymoon which will be about 8 weeks or so and after that ill see him 4 days out of 7 " and the friend gives her a card of a discreet barrister so she can get the arrangement in writing “should his mind or taste change in later times” of course he changes his mind about the arranged marriage and she becomes a proper wife in the end …

So is there even the teensiest truth or basis in fact to any of it ?

Percy Bysshe Shelley had something to say about this:

England in 1819

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring;
Rulers who neither see nor feel nor know,
But leechlike to their fainting country cling
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow.
A people starved and stabbed in th’ untilled field;
An army, whom liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield;
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless—a book sealed;
A senate, Time’s worst statute, unrepealed—
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.

(NB despite what an American literature professor thought in an article I once read, ‘Rulers’ here refers to the political class and not the king and pinces.)

Is your book - which sounds like a gripping read - written at the time, or a modern take on the period?

The Prince Regent himself set the standard for extramarital behaviour. Since we’ve set a high bar by using classy literary references like Shelley, I can do no better than offer a highly detailed historical song about George IV.

As he says:

Actresses and duchesses
The great loves of my life
I loved more girls than I ate pies
But I couldn’t stand my wife.

Apart from that I suggest you Google or Youtube ‘Horrible Histories - Gorgeous Georgians’ and start taking notes.

Yeah read any first person account of the upper classes in the regency era and it’s a massive part of their lives. Of course you could argue that the amount of playing around was pretty much constant (and very high) for any era when people were expected to marry young, as virgins (well the women anyway) without much consideration of feelings or long term compatibility, and stay married for the rest of their lives. The only thing that changed over time was how acceptable it was to talk about it.

I think the historical record is replete with women who were quite happy with this arrangement

The issue was the cards were incredibly stacked against them once they were no longer the object of affection. Their male lovers would not suffer much approbation, as long as they were not so so blatant about it, to the point of embarrassing their wives. But the other woman was considered the lowest of the low and completely shunned, usually with very real economic consequences in their later lives.

There was a lot of class prejudice, but climbing the social ladder did happen occasionally.

Elizabeth Hervey ended up as a duchess. (Although she started out as the granddaughter of an earl, so it wasn’t quite a Horatio Alger story.)

Marta Helena Skowrońska began as a servant, and became Empress of Russia.

The date of this is significant. After the death in childbirth of Princess Charlotte in 1817, the only heirs to the throne were the sons of George III, all of whom were over forty and without legitimate heirs (lots of illegitimate ones, though). There was a rush to get wives for those who were not already married, the winner being George’s third son, Edward, Duke of Kent, who married in 1818 and sired Queen Victoria in 1919 (he died nine months after her birth). Given the date of the poem and assuming it was early in the year, the heirs were his elderly sons, who pretty much match the description.

Or a bodice-ripping yarn! :grin:

He sired Vicky in 1919? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Wow! A man of impressive virility! :grin:

Bear in mind that the upper classes drew a strict line between public and private life. After his wife died (and ceased making his life miserable with her affairs), Lord Melbourne was sober and staid in London, but weekends at the country estate was like the Los Angeles Riot Hyatt when Led Zeppelin was in town.

In the Poldark novels, the Vicar has a foot fetish and is banging his wife’s hot teenaged sister. This kind of thing goes on even today, though it might be more with choir boys instead.

Though should point out they were written in the 20th century. Not that any of that seems anachronistic, even (or maybe especially) in an Anglican clergyman:


Yes, Winston Graham obviously did a lot of research when writing the novels.