Charles II has come down in history as a swashbuckling gallant who bedded every pretty lady who caught his fancy. According to this revealing and entertaining biography, by one of Nell Gwyn’s direct descendants, there was a set of back stairs in the Palace of Whitehall used specifically for the king’s assignations with women, ‘both casual and regular’. The Page of the Royal Bedchamber, Keeper of the King’s Private Closet and Keeper of His Majesty’s Backstairs, William Chiffinch, vetted all those who came and went, and kept a register of them, while his wife acted as the king’s procuress.
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