The sexual appetites of King Edward VII are well known: from the scandal of Nellie Cliffden, which Victoria blamed for her beloved Albert’s death, to the perfumed bosoms of aristocratic French ladies and courtesans, to Sarah Bernhardt and Lillie Langtry, to his long-time mistresses, Daisy Warwick and Alice Keppel, Bertie was very much a ladies’ man. His reputation and exploits not only opened the doors for the sophisticated spouse-swapping of the Marlborough House Set, but were so notorious, women openly propositioned him when he traveled to Europe to visit heads-of-state and to take the waters at Homburg or Marienbad. However renowned was his appetite or his mistresses, His Royal Highness preferred to take his pleasures in the exclusive Parisian brothels, particularly La Chabanais, the most exclusive of them all.

La Chabanais was founded in 1878 by the Irish Madame Kelly, and operated near the Louvre at 12 rue Chabanais. Madame Kelly was shrewd, aligning her brothel with the Jockey-Club de Paris and selling shares of the incredibly profitable business to wealthy, but anonymous investors. The interior was lavish, each bedroom styled in its own theme–Hindu, Pompeii, Japanese, Moorish, Louis XVI–at a cost rumored to be 1.7 million francs. Bertie was a frequent visitor during the 1880s and 1890s and was allotted his own chamber, decorated with his coat of arms. The most interesting features of the bed room were the copper tub decorated with a half-swan-half-woman, in which Bertie liked to bathe with a prostitute or two in champagne, and a chair, a siège d’amour (love seat) actually, in which the overweight Prince of Wales could do…well…whatever he wished with the cocotte of his choice.

Siège d'amour

The photo is of a replica chair located in a sex museum in Prague, but Sean Thomas of The First Post did some investigating, and the original chair used by Bertie himself is apparently still in use.

For an explanation of its use, here is a video from Tony Perrottet’s The Sinner’s Grand Tour (NSFW or for the easily scandalized!)

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Comments

13 Comments on The Amorous Life of Edward VII

  1. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
    August 10, 2010 at 8:07 AM (9 years ago)

    I’ve always adored Edward VII because he was so unabashed about his appetites. Interesting chair.

  2. Portia Da Costa
    August 10, 2010 at 8:21 AM (9 years ago)

    He was a bit of a lad, Bertie, wasn’t he?

    Have seen photos of that special chair at a number of sites, and always accompanied by reams of speculation, in commentary, as to… um… what went where. LOL

  3. Lucy
    August 11, 2010 at 3:53 AM (9 years ago)

    Great post, and that chair! I wish he had been a little more attractive tho, for the sake of the ladies…

  4. Hels
    August 11, 2010 at 4:15 AM (9 years ago)

    I wonder if he really did get that amount of leg-over. Not because he had had a wife since 1863 and certainly not because he had six children to raise. But because his life was so damned busy.
    *
    Since he was largely excluded from real political power, Prince Albert had a fashionable, leisured section of society to lead. He must have been so busy with horse racing, country home weekends, eating gigantic meals, hunting, shooting, parties etc.. when did he get some quiet time? If I had Queen Victoria for a mum, I would be looking to conduct my private consorting well and truly in secret.

  5. Matt Evans
    February 22, 2012 at 9:34 AM (8 years ago)

    I believe I am of his first line, where he bore a child with a mistress set up in America by President Buchanan.

  6. Harlowrose
    August 22, 2013 at 2:10 AM (6 years ago)

    I’m trying to figure out this chair… Oh, dear. It’s a mystery.

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