Arts: Nell Gwynn

The mistresses of kings have always come in for their full share of fame. Mistresses per se are an appealing topic. So are kings. The combination is irresistible. Thus the fame of Agnes Sorel, of Du Barry, of Louise de La Valliere, tinkles pleasantly down the paths of history.

Most royal favorites have been the object of romantic interest rather than of affection. A pleasing exception is little Nell Gwynn, capricious blossom of the London gutters, mistress of light-headed Charles II. England has always loved the orange girl and actress of old...

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