Posted on 21/05/2012
Professor Justin Champion, from the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London is offering his expertise to a news BBC Four series Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls.
Professor Champion will feature in tomorrow night’s episode, Act One: At Court, at 9pm and the third episode, Women at Work & Play.
The series looks at the years after the Civil War and the Restoration of Charles II, which marked the end of the medieval and the beginning of the modern age. These were exciting times for women and some rose to prominence like never before. Some had remarkably modern attitudes and ambitions and achieved wealth, celebrity and power that still seems outstanding even by 21st century standards. But, at the same time, they faced a world that was still predominantly male, misogynistic and positively medieval in its outlook.
The first episode investigates the lives of women at the top - the king's mistresses at the royal court. When Charles and his entourage returned from exile, they came back with a host of continental ideas. Some of the women at court gained unprecedented political influence and independence. Amongst a fascinating cast of female characters, the most astonishing were Charles II's own mistresses - the royalist Barbara Villiers, the French spy Louise de Keroualle and the infamous Cockney actress Nell Gwynn.
Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls will be on BBC Four tomorrow (22 May) at 9pm. For more information visit the BBC Four website.