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  • Maria Andreyevna gr. Rumianceva (1698 - 1788)
    Countess Maria Andreyevna Rumyantseva née Matveyeva (1699–1788) was a Russian lady in waiting and alleged royal mistress of Tsar Peter the Great. She was the daughter of privy councilor of Count An...
  • Anne Hungerford (c.1534 - 1557)
    Anne Bassett was an English courtier of the Tudor period, whose charms attracted the attention of King Henry VIII.[1] Anne was born in 1521,[2] the fourth child of Sir John Bassett and Honor (daughte...
  • Wilhelmine Gravin Enke, Gräfin von Lichtenau (1753 - 1820)
    \ Wilhelmine, Gräfin von Lichtenau, born as Wilhelmine Enke, also spelled Encke, (29 December 1753 in Potsdam – 9 June 1820 in Berlin), was the official mistress of King Frederick William II of Pruss...
  • Harriett Wilson (1786 - 1845)
    Harriett Wilson (Dubochet) Father was a Swiss Clock Maker in Mayfair, London of Swiss Nationality who took the name Wilson in 1801. Her parents had 15 children. Lovers included: William Craven,...

Royal mistress

A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or an heir apparent. Some mistresses have had considerable power. These powerful mistresses have been commonly referred to as the "power behind the throne". The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space for the monarch's personal preferences in the choice of a mate.

In European history the children of mistresses were not normally included in the line of succession, except perhaps when secret marriages were alleged. Hence the Monmouth Rebellion when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth claimed the thrones of England and Scotland on the grounds that his mother had been the wife, rather than a mistress of Charles II.

Lists of Royal mistresses