The First Official Royal Mistress
This chapter tells the life story of Agnes Sorel, who became the first officially designated French royal mistress in 1444. During his reign, forty-year-old king Charles VII selected the extraordinarily beautiful, twenty-two-year-old Agnes as his mistress, which led to him defining a new role for women in the courts and a new practice for French kings. Being presented to Charles VII's court gave Agnes a quasi-official status, not to mention bringing her into greater prominence than earlier mistresses. Unintentionally, Charles VII's designation of Agnes as royal mistress had long-term ramifications, specifically for the roles of the king and queen, and for their relationship. The position also offered new ways for a king's contemporaries and subsequent historians to assess his reign.
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