Edward VII (aka “dirty Bertie”) apparently had his very own royal sex chair. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel
Edward VII (aka “dirty Bertie”) apparently had his very own royal sex chair. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel

Royal’s bizarre sex toy baffles fans

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When you write a lot about the royal family, there are some words you will find yourself typing pretty frequently. Fascinator. Gin. Dorgi. Primogeniture. However "sex" rarely if ever comes into it.

The last time we had a cracking regal rogering scandal was 25 years ago when the Prince and Princess of Wales were sneaking their respective side pieces into the palace whenever they took a break from their tat-for-tat campaign of media subterfuge.

But not today! Today, we are talking about a royal who just loved to get it on - baw chika wah wah. Not only that, such was his, err, appetite that a special piece of furniture was commissioned to help him get his freak on.

King Edward VII’s love seat has been featured in a doco — leaving people confused. Picture: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images
King Edward VII’s love seat has been featured in a doco — leaving people confused. Picture: Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

But let's start at the beginning shall we. Prince Edward was Queen Victoria's eldest son and the Prince of Wales. He later became King Edward VII and is the current Queen's great grandfather. Old Bertie (as he was known) loved two things in life: Eating and the ladies.

However, given it was the Victorian age, the Brits were (at least publicly) quite prudish so to satiate his lady lust, he would pop across the channel to Paris where he was a very, very regular patron of the most expensive and luxurious brothel, La Chabanais.

(His nicknames were Dirty Bertie and Edward the Caresser. His favourite mistress in London was Alice Keppel - who just happens to be Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's great great grandmother.)

Over time his penchant for pigeon pies, vast puddings and claret by the litre (I'm guessing) meant that in his later years he was something of a more rotund gentleman which made the fine act of lovemaking a wee bit difficult.

Enter the royal sex chair, or the "siege d'amour" (love seat).

Edward VII’s, known as King Bertie's bizarre sex chair was shown in a new documentary called the Private Lives of Monarchs. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel
Edward VII’s, known as King Bertie's bizarre sex chair was shown in a new documentary called the Private Lives of Monarchs. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel

The gilt-edged piece of bespoke furniture was designed to allow the future King (he didn't ascend to the throne until he was 60-years-old) to more comfortably and easily enjoy his French excursions.

So, is it any wonder the internet is currently obsessed with it? See, not only is it very scandalous and titillating detail about an otherwise staid bunch of corgi-lovers, but it is deeply mystifying. But how the hell did this thing work?

Tracy Borman is a curator at Britain's Historic Palaces and just happens to be the host of a new documentary called the Private Lives of Monarchs. To film the show, they were able to borrow a "very faithful replica" of said device, Borman told Jezebel.

However, despite the best efforts of the crew, they could not quite work out how the dang thing would have actually worked.

The host stands where Bertie would have. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel
The host stands where Bertie would have. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel

"What really perturbed me about the chair is that there was room on it for two ladies, one on top and one underneath - but exactly how he got to the one underneath we never managed to work out between the whole crew," she said.

"So what she was doing down there, whether it was like a queuing system, she was just lying down there to wait, I don't know."

And so the internet has thrown up a raft of theories that are absolutely and utterly not safe for publication. Dr Kate Lister, who blogs at Whores of Yore, has some very handy illustrations as do some Twitter users ideas if you are feeling curious and are in private.

But people are baffled by the apparent space beneath for a third person, seemingly another woman. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel
But people are baffled by the apparent space beneath for a third person, seemingly another woman. Picture: The Smithsonian Channel

Other online commenters have been quick to point out that the delicate and pale fabric used would have, um, been less than suitable to stand up to some of the practical vicissitudes of lovemaking.

Either way, the personal collection of one of Queen Elizabeth's relatives included a very fancy gold contraption so he could have more comfortable threesomes. And that is a sentence I never thought I would write.

 

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and freelance writer with 20 years' experience who has written for some of Australia's best print and digital media brands | Continue the conversation @DanielaElser


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