How public were mistresses way back then, ala 1600s, 1700s, 1800s? Did the general population know? Did the wives know? Did the men actually like the women, or were they just interested for the sex? Were they always paid?
Well, situations varied. Generally the wife knew, the court knew, but the general population either didn’t know or only heard unverifiable gossip. Some were pretty well known, like Nell Gwyn, who was a famous actress. She was actually quite popular in her day. Usually the ones who got their names into history meant more to their royal lover than just sex. When you’re King you can get sex pretty easily. All of them were paid in some way or another, whether it was jewelry or money or property, but they weren’t hookers and it wasn’t a by the hour situation or anything. Some of these women had money in their own right or were married to wealthy men so it was more about prestige than money. I’d imagine at least a few mistresses did actually like the royal they were sleeping with anyway.
Now, in France things were a bit more interesting and most of the kings had official recognized mistresses at court. It was a position at court, like being a lady-in-waiting. The Maîtresse-en-titre. You got special rooms and everything.
On the topic of royal children's names. I was flicking through a magazine at work today (don't ask me what it was; I was bored and it was my last hope of entertainment while on break) and it had some "facts" about William and Catherine. On of them was about names for their, eventual, children (according to a "source"). Michael for a boy and Charlotte for a girl, are apparently names they like.
Truth in this is very dubious, but it's more than nothing.
Could be. I would not be surprised if Diana was a first or middle name for a potential daughter as well. My guess would be Kate may pick the first name and William will pick the middle name. Michael is not a usual name for an heir, but if they want to they can pick it I suppose. It’s a royal name, but not common in the British royal family (Prince Michael was named for a relative of his mom). Charlotte is a royal name and there have been many Princess Charlotte’s including one who was meant to be Queen.
Even if that story is legit those may not be the final names. She’s not even pregnant yet. I always doubt stuff from “a source” anyway. But baby names is pretty harmless so I guess the motive to lie is less.
Are their restrictions in naming a royal child or is just custom to name them after family members it just seems like they recycle a lot of names
There aren’t really any rules about it, but it’s a very strong tradition to use certain names. It also must be remembered that when you go back into English history a few centuries the naming pool was very small compared to what us modern folks are used to. And the Windsors was very old-fashioned. It can get very confusing. I remember a casual royal fan asking me if “Edward and Victoria” got along and I needed for her to be a bit more specific before I could answer.
Kids tend to be named after relatives. For instance, Victoria wasn’t a royal name before Queen Victoria’s mother (another Victoria) married into the family and named her daughter Alexandrina Victoria. Alexandrina never caught on, but Victoria certainly did and many of Victoria’s descendants were named in her honor.
By now I think the Windsors have a touch more freedom and Will and Kate will probably be able to name their own children, though there will be limitations for the heir at least. I know Elizabeth and Diana were in conflict over what her sons were named before they both agreed on William and Harry. But thankfully (like mandating the heir to the throne marry a suitable virgin) the royal family has probably moved on from that. I’d imagine Will and Kate will probably use family names anyhow.
Did Anastasia ever have a cousin or something named Zoya?
Not that I can think of, but I may be wrong here. Royals of that era often had more than one nickname and if you go beyond first cousins Anastasia was related to a lot of people, some of whom (particularly on her dad’s side) I know very little about.
I did a little googling of Zoya with different titles and family names and nothing came up if that means anything.
“This is the fairytale romance of the century: Girl meets Boy. Girl loses Boy. Boy marries Another Girl. Girl becomes Boy’s mistress. Other Girl dies tragically, and they all live happily ever after.”—Stephen Colbert on Charles and Camilla’s love story
Do you know anything about Diana's 20th birthday celebration?
I’m not sure. It was a few weeks before the wedding so they were busy with preparations. According to the Diana biography currently nearest to my computer it was a “low-key” affair. My guess would be she just had dinner with her family or something. Google produces next to nothing; can’t find any pictures and most references are just in regards to how she had just turned twenty when she got married. Weird to think she was so young when she was thrown to the wolves.