A lot has been written about the role of prostitutes to the many different courts of Europe. There is very little evidence that prostitutes were directly contracted by the courts but there is evidence that the courts of Europe may have been influenced by escorts.
The French courts were especially well known for their courtiers but who were these escorts and what were their rolls within the French court. Many French kings were known to have companions but what were the roles of these women? As a matter of fact, there were some famous escorts in the French courts throughout the ages. Perhaps the most famous one was Madame de Pompadour, escort to Louis XV of France.
Roles of escorts at the court of Louis XV
Madame de Pompadour was by no means the only escort residing at the court of Louis XV. There were other companions as well, and the king was offered referred to as “walking or dancing with escorts”.
The ladies appear to have been beautiful companions of even nobel standing who kept the king company at dinners or walks in the park. Many of them also entertained guests to the court.
The king was, however, known to use the favors of the escorts to try to influence many important visitors. How he did this is not exactly well known but many different methods seemed to have been used.
Prostitution a the court
There is no clear evidence that the king directly ordered prostitutes to be brought into the court. It is thought that many of his officials did use prostitutes and a steady stream of pretty young girls were often reported by palace guards.
They appear to have been paid for sex in cash but many of them were also given jewelry and clothing. Some must have been favorites as they appear to have been well looked after by the officials.
Parties which involved both the king’s escorts and the prostitutes invited by palace officials seem to have been common. Louis XV loved to dress up and you wonder if this was one French king who was seriously into role play.
It is interesting to note that sex toys are actually mentioned and the dildo seemed to have been a popular toy. There are even some texts that seem to refer to the practice of bondage. Sex and sexuality was a major influence at the French court, and historians often wonder how this has influenced the course of history.
Bondage was not the only indulgence on offer. Food fetishes appear to have been well catered for as well, and this appear to have been a favorite of the king. Madame de Pompadour talks about the king’s food fetish in one letter to a friend. She describes vividly how the king use to entertain one young lady visitor with strawberries in a what appears to have been a very physical game of “hide and seek the strawberry.”
One thing is for certain, the French king and courtiers were not prudes and seemed to at times enjoyed the most outrageous lifestyles.
It would be great to be able to peak into other the archives of other royal families in Europe to find out what they have got up to during their reigns.