Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wives And Mistresses

Over the centuries men have had wifes and naturally , mistresses.
And the wealthier the man , the more numerous the mistresses.
As it were , it was a Requirement for a King to have mistresses , especially while their wives were pregnant.
And nowadays not much has changed every once in a while a story erupts about a famous man who's been keeping a secret affair.
And so as the centuries go we keep memories of famous mistresses who had a big influence whether politically or financially and managed to go down in history as great women who managed to stand out at times when women were considered as nobodies.
Women like Madame Pompadour , mistress of the King Louis XV of France or Lady Elizabeth Foster , mistress to Duke of Devonshire or Marylin Monroe, mistress to John F. Kennedy , or even more recently Camilla Paker Bowles , mistress To Prince Charles , of Wales.
But , while i was researching this subject that has always interested me i noticed that no one mentioned how tight knit the relation between wifes and mistresses became and how the presence of the mistress actually , on many occasions became as vital for the wife as for the husband.
In Georgiana Cavendish's case , Lady Elizabeth was a sure ally on many occasions. The women's relation started out as friendship, when Cavendish met Lady Foster at Bath , and learned about Elizabeth's problems with her husband, who kicked her out and deprived her of her children.
So, sympathetic Georgiana takes her in and develop a growingly affectionate relationship with her , until one day she walked in on her husband and her best friend.
This discovery destroyed Georgiana on many levels, even though her husband had showed her any affection , it was more loosing Elizabeth that caused her pain.And , as time went by Georgiana couldn't stand living under the same roof with the lovers. When the time came it was Elizabeth who helped her stand up to her husband and manage to keep her children and live a decent life.
In the book , The Color Purple , the relation between the abused and demure wife Celie and proud extravagant mistress Shug Avery. Celie is constantly beaten and morally abused , it's only when Avery walks into her life , as her husband's mistress that it starts to change she is confronted to the other kind of woman, the kind liberated and strong.
Many years after she meets Avery Celie develops feelings for her and the two start a love affair , and that only pushes Celie further through to liberation as she is now convinced that she worthy of being loved and starts standing up to her husband and manages to obtain her liberty and reestablish her pride.
In the case of Henry VII , his mistress Anne Boleyn , who later became his wife suffered from his choice of mistresses, one of which was Mary Boleyn , Anne's sister.
But it was later discovered that Anne picked Mary to be Henry's lover herself as she was worried that an outsider to her family would come in and cause actual damage to the marriage.
I also noticed that mistresses really were the pioneers of what is now a feminist as they firmly instated themselves and managed to remain some of the most powerful influences of their lover's lives. It is also very ironic to notice that most of the Kings' mistresses are usually their wifes' maids of honor who are supposed to be their to support the Queen and become her confidants.
The ability of women to cope with the presence of a mistress has always been brought on because of helplessness and dependence but in some peculiar case the mistresses became the wife's best friend and ally as they had true influence on the Man.
And so after i struggled with is idea for a long time i have finally come to terms with it , as girls were raised around their father's mistresses , and so expect their children's lives to be similar.

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