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The genuine love match between Prince William and Kate Middleton has rekindled enthusiasm for the British monarchy. In the past, young princes reluctantly entered into arranged marriages and took mistresses. Perdita Robinson, a famous actress, was enticed from the stage with promises of money to live with the fickle Prince of Wales, who turned her and her child onto the street. Perdita fought back, won a financial settlement and became a pioneer of women's writing.
Edward VII's most fascinating mistresses were aristocrats' wives like the multi-talented unconventional Lady Jennie Churchill, mother of Winston, and the headstrong heiress, Daisy, Countess of Warwick, mother of one of Edward's love children. Beautiful Alice Keppel became the love of Edward's life and was the great-grandmother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, yet another royal mistress.
Edward's grandson, Edward VIII suffered an attack of mumps that left him physically and mentally immature. He implored Mrs Freda Dudley Ward to elope but she refused. Another mistress, Lady Thelma Furness, star of Hollywood's silent screen, introduced Edward to the domineering Wallis Simpson who insisted the impotent king seek psychiatric help. In order that Wallis could look like a queen the Duke of Windsor lavished her with jewels and forgave her infidelities in this most intriguing of all royal stories.