MISTRESSES

Подпись: Whatever Lola Wants... Lola Montez was renowned for getting, inspiring the above phrase. The 19th-century, Irish-born Eliza Gilbert eloped with Lieutenant Thomas James at 16. She was a mediocre actress with the reputation for being a 'liberated' woman who traded on her beauty. After taking on the role of a 'Spanish' dancer, she performed around Europe in the 1840s, achieving fame for her wild Spider Dance, which involved lifting her petticoats. She is believed to have had a number of affairs, her partners including writer Alexandre Dumas, composer Franz Liszt and, after performing in Munich, Ludwig I of Bavaria. When he publicly inquired if her bosom was real, she tore her dress open to reveal the proof. He later honoured her with the title of Countess. Following a revolt, she left and married journalist Patrick Hull in California where she received little acclaim and much ridicule for her exotic dancing. In a last-ditch tour of Australia, she caused uproar as apparently she wasn't wearing any underwear.

‘Women with pasts interest men because men hope that history will repeat itself.’ Mae West

LILLIE LANGTRY

The twice-married Victorian-Edwardian-era social beauty and actress’s most famous lover may have been the Prince of Wales – later Edward VII – but she could also name one or two other notables among her conquests. Edward himself is said to have lost interest in her when she got drunk at a party and slipped on an ice cube; his introduction of her to Prince Louis of Battenberg (father of Lord Louis Mountbatten) was supposedly in order to offload her. She apparently bore his child, a daughter, in 1881. Other lovers included Robert Peel and wealthy racehorse-owner George Baird.